Mercedes S63 AMG vs Jaguar XJR: super-saloon battle
Mercedes S63 AMG and Jaguar XJR bring performance and luxury together beautifully. But which is our dream car?
If you had the money to indulge in the car of your dreams, would you go for the opulence, comfort and relaxation of a luxury saloon or the performance and looks of a sports car? Well, with models such as the new Mercedes S63 AMG and Jaguar XJR on the market, you no longer have to choose at all.
Both provide a deliciously tempting mix of limousine grandeur and supercar acceleration, with power from mighty V8 engines producing more than 500bhp. Yet they retain the luxuries and luggage space that make big saloons so easy to live with. We’ve already been blown away by the refinement, desirability and quality of the latest S-Class in S350 CDI trim, so has the AMG treatment made it even better?
With 577bhp and a huge 900Nm of torque, the twin-turbo Mercedes has the edge over the 542bhp supercharged XJR. But the Jaguar is lighter, and the standard version has always been a fine-handling four-door – so is the hot R model the sharper choice here?
And can these cars really be as much at home on a run to the Ritz as they are along a twisting back road? Find out as we put them through their paces.
It’s irrelevant most of the time, but AMGs traditionally have an alter ego that sees them switch from composed saloon to smile-a-minute entertainer when given the freedom of a track and turned-off traction control.
We tested the civilised Merc against a very unrefined drift car in an exclusive video to see how the saloon would perform. But the S-Class had superb grip and was almost too composed – so the lighter Jaguar was more entertaining.
The S-Class boasts a bespoke AMG MCT seven-speed twin-clutch auto, while the Jaguar features an eight-speed ZF self-shifter. Both are seamless in auto mode and offer manual control via paddles, but the Jaguar has a crisper shift in the sportier settings.
While they share V8 layouts, the Mercedes and Jaguar engines take different approaches. The AMG twin-turbo trumps the Jaguar’s engine for torque and outright power, although thanks to its sharper throttle response, the supercharged XJR feels just as quick and covers 0-60mph three-tenths faster.
Even with its turbos spinning hard, the Merc can’t outrun the Jag for in-gear response, although the £2,760 AMG Driver’s Pack gives a higher 186mph top speed. Still, in the real world both models have performance to spare.
1st place: Mercedes S63 AMG
AMG has seamlessly matched the latest S-Class’s market-leading refinement, comfort and quality to effortless performance. It’s not as thrilling as the Jag, but the S63’s composure and class are second to none. If you desire luxury, power and practicality in one package, this will be all the car you’ll ever need.
2nd place: Jaguar XJR
Lively handling and brutal performance mark out the XJR. It’s cheaper and faster than the S63, too, but ultimately it trails with its interior class, space and quality, as well as its refinement. However, for those looking for something that’s a bit different, the XJR’s characterand style are hard to ignore.
|Mercedes S63 AMG L||Jaguar XJR|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£119,565/£139,735||£92,370/£98,065|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£54,283/45.4%||£37,779/40.9%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£8,307/£16,614||£6,388/£12,775|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£4,062/£6,771||£5,025/£8,374|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||50/£2,219/L/£475||50/£1,920/M/£490|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£48 per month (3yrs)||£299/£399/£299|
|Peak power/revs||577/5,500 bhp/rpm||542/6,500 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||900/2,250 Nm/rpm||680/2,500 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||7-spd auto/rwd||8-spd auto/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||80 litres/sealant||82 litres/space-saver|
|Boot capacity||510 litres||520 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||12.5 metres/0.24Cd||11.9 metres/0.29Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unlimited)/4yrs||3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/136||15,000 (1yr)/97|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||5th/5th||3rd/12th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||N/A||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||4.4/3.4 secs||4.1/3.5 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.7/3.8 secs||2.3/3.1 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th||4.4/5.9/N/A secs||3.9/5.5/7.2/N/A secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||186mph*/1,500rpm||174mph/1,500rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||44/63/54/64dB||42/63/54/71dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||18.8/4.1/331 miles||15.2/3.3/274 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||347/237g/km/35%||429/270g/km/35%|
|Adaptive dampers/adaptive cruise ctrl||Yes/yes||Yes/£1,275|
|Met paint/privacy glass/soft-close doors||Yes/£400/£610||Yes/£255/yes|