Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Once you get your head around the fact that this car is less about sedate luxury travel and more about high-speed mile-munching, Jaguar XJR performance is impressive.

Powering the Jag is an extremely muscular 5.0-litre V8 with a supercharger that responds incredibly quickly to the slightest press of the accelerator.

Overtaking slower moving cars is never a problem – as soon as an opportunity presents itself a quick stab of the accelerator has the engine note deepening before bellowing harder. Before you know it you are flying past, pulling back in and watching the traffic rapidly diminish in the rear view mirror.

Eight-speed automatic

What aids this effortless overtaking is the smooth and seamless shifts from the eight-speed automatic gearbox that helps make the most of the car’s compelling pulling power. You just have to concentrate on making sure the car is pointing in the right direction and enjoy the rush of acceleration.

The automatic transmission also adapts to your driving style providing a quick response if the driver is accelerating harder providing quicker shifts and holding on to the gears for longer.

If the driver wants more involvement then there are racecar-style gear shifters mounted behind the steering wheel allowing you to slip the gears home at your own deciding.

Impressive performance

The stats give it to you in black and white – the XJR dusts the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.6 seconds. That’s close to supercar performance and matches the Porsche 911 Carrera’s acceleration. And remember this is a four-door saloon.

The downside is on wet, icy or slimy tarmac the Jag struggles to get the power down even with its huge tyres. There’s just so much pulling power (knocking on the door of an astonishing 700Nm of torque) that putting it down is a bit of a wrestling match between grip and power, and often requires the traction control system to step in; especially in wet conditions.

The obvious downside to this mega performance is the large numbers you’ll rack up at the pump. Claimed average mpg is 24.4 but stamp the loud pedal often and you’ll be looking at low teens. That means a range of about 250 miles from a full tank of petrol.

While the big cat is more than capable of humbling lithe supercars in a straight-line it’s a different matter when it comes to corners.

Clearly this limo is no race track refugee but given its size and mass the handling certainly does impress.

Jaguar has spent a lot of time endowing the XJR with some serious kit to enhance its handling capabilities. The Adaptive Dynamics work to control the car and keep it planted on the road by adjusting the car’s suspension up to 500 times a second. This enables the suspension to adjust to the road conditions and the driver’s inputs almost continuously.

There’s also an active electronic differential which helps ensure the rear wheel with the most grip gets the most power and if a rear wheel starts to slip power is reduced.

Standard kit also includes ‘Corner Recognition’ that senses when the car is negotiating a bend so the gearbox holds the correct gear to help aid smart acceleration.

The upshot of this smart tech is a saloon car that has an impressive cornering ability. It feels agile when first turning in and holds an accurate line through it, though on bumpy roads things can get a bit lively.

For more skilled drivers the traction control system has a setting that allows them to push the car more to the handling limits before the stability control kicks in.