The latest addition to Jaguar's fleet at its Nürburgring engineering test centre is… a taxi.
OK, it's not a 16-seater minibus; it's based on the latest all-aluminium long wheelbase XJ Supersport with Sport and Speed Pack options, giving it a quoted 375kW from its five-litre supercharged V8 engine and a top speed of 280km/h - but no fare meter.
Jaguar Land Rover global communications boss Frank Klaas explained: “We've been running a successful Nürburgring driving programme from our Nordschleife engineering test centre now for some time, because it's the best place to demonstrate the dynamic abilities of our XF, XJ and XK.
“THE XJ SURPRISES PEOPLE.”
“Of these models, we found it's the XJ Supersport that most often surprises people because they think of it as big luxury sedan - which it is, of course, but its aluminium architecture means it's rigid and lightweight too, and that makes it a very good car for the track.
“So our engineering team built this special Nürburgring taxi version in which our trained drivers can safely take passengers on very hot laps!”
The Jaguar XJ 'Ring taxi is finished in a very non-standard matt grey, with a Sport Pack body kit and the optional Speed Pack, which raises top speed from 250 to 280km/h - but is otherwise mechanically dead stock.
Inside, however, a few of the XJ's usual luxury features have been replaced in order to keep its occupants securely in place during the very quick laps of which it is capable. Gone are the standard leather-trimmed heated and cooled seats, and in their place are four race seats, each with a four-point harness, together with a specially made roll cage.