If you always thought the Jaguar XJ was a bit of a pussycat, Jaguar has well and truly fixed that issue.
Jaguar's engineering team has taken the XJR's wick, wound it up, and shot the car out of a cannon into a tin of blue paint. And, the end result is this tyre destroying limousine, aptly called the 2018 Jaguar XJR575, which replaces the outgoing XJR.
When the XJ was launched in 2009 it was something of an engineering masterpiece, with the entire body finished in aluminium (like its predecessor), the XJ strutted around with a kerb weight of just 1765kg in entry-level form.
That's despite the fact it measures in at 5130mm long in short wheelbase and 5255mm in long wheelbase form.
So, when Jaguar crams a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine under the bonnet, you can imagine how dynamic and impressive the XJ becomes.
Producing 575PS — that's 423kW of power — and 700Nm of torque, the entire package sends torque through the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's irrelevant to anybody who buys this thing, but the official fuel consumption comes in at 11.1L/100km, with an added 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4.4 seconds — not bad for a rear-wheel drive sedan.
The striking Velocity Blue colour (an SVO optional hue) makes the XJR575 absolutely stand out in traffic. In fact, it wasn't uncommon to be lynched by crowds of onlookers as we passed through small villages in Portugal at the vehicle's international launch.
Sitting on gloss black 20-inch alloy wheels, the stance is one of surety and confidence.
Open the driver's door and you're met with lashings of carbon-fibre and a wraparound leather dashboard that reeks of style and substance. Certainly fitting for the $306,475 (plus on-road costs).
The supportive leather seats are finished with a diamond stitching pattern with 18 levels of adjustment, plus heating and cooling. XJR575 buyers also get 575 stitching on the head rests – unique to this model.
Jaguar's recent XJ update has now bumped the specification level up with the inclusion of a big 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system that includes a dual-view screen, which allows your passenger to watch television while the driver's side of the screen displays navigation.
It's a great infotainment unit that switches quickly between functions and houses everything from climate through to navigation. Despite the size of the screen, it still has enough processing power to zoom in and out of maps, while flicking through audio menus with no lag.
Also standard is a 12.3-inch driver control display that can be configured to include a number of screens and settings, including a full-screen map layout.
Safety has been stepped up with XJ, now including autonomous emergency braking, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control with traffic queue assistance and semi-automatic parking.
Leg- and headroom in the first row is great, but can be a bit compromised for taller passengers due to the sunroof. It's a similar story in the second row. Despite its length, it can be a bit tighter than you'd expect with the first row of seats moved backwards.
Cargo capacity remains unchanged at 520 litres with a decent opening aperture to get larger things through – although you're unlikely to be carting around building supplies in this thing.
Dimensions really are irrelevant when there's a fire-breathing V8 engine nestled under the bonnet. So, we lined up some awesome Portuguese roads to see whether the XJR575 has dropped its pussycat status.
At idle there's a meaty sound that disturbs the peace with every snap of the throttle. It has a menacing snarl that only a Jaguar can manage.
While the sound at idle is great, the thing that's going to blow you away the most is how responsive the throttle is. Literally just kick the throttle down a third of its travel and the car leaps into action.
Move the pedal all the way through to the floor and you are pinned back in the seat as the car rows through gears – the way it piles on speed is just insane.
The way it hooks up is equally insane with giant 295mm wide rubber at the rear to contain the layers of fury.
At full throttle there's a hint of supercharger whine and despite the interior being fairly insulated from the engine lurking beneath, the quad exhaust pipes emit a dirty bellow as the revs rise and the gearbox shifts gears.
We were hoping to hear an F-Type SVR-esque exhaust note on offer here and while it's not anywhere near as loud or aggressive, it should be enough for most punters after a quick luxury sedan.
While it moves from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds, it's the dynamic range of the engine that had us most impressed. A dynamic mode offers a firmer ride, heavier steering and sharper gear changes, which teams with a gearbox Sport mode to further enhance the experience.
It feels light on its feet through corners with plenty of communication through the wheel. It doesn't take much effort to prompt a squirm from the rear and that's partly thanks to the kerb weight of the all aluminium body.
On the highway the ride is still surprisingly good despite the big 20-inch alloy wheels. It rides over road joines and cobblestones with a great deal of comfort. It's certainly firmer than a standard XJ, but nothing that will shake your teeth out.
New safety features and inclusion of things like LED headlights and a huge 10.2-inch infotainment system make the revised XJ a strikingly good proposition in a segment filling quickly with option.
The XJR575 looks incredibly menacing and takes the proposition of a crazy fast executive sedan to the next level, while keeping the expected level of luxury and style on offer in the 'regular' XJ. We can't wait to get our hands on it in Australia and see how well it fares against this new crop of super saloons.