BMW have owned the Ring Taxi business at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for generations, most notably when ‘First-lady of Grüne Hölle’, Sabine Schmitz, is giving flying lessons to the visiting adrenaline junkies.
But there’s a new cab in the paddock, based on the latest all-aluminium long wheelbase XJ Supersport with Sport and Speed Pack options.
Jaguar’s ‘Nürburgring taxi’ boasts 503bhp from its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine and a top speed of 174mph, but unlike a normal taxi, passengers pay in advance (with sick bags provided).
Finished in non-standard matt grey paint with exterior Sport Pack, the Jaguar Nürburgring taxi is specified with the Speed Pack – which raises its electronically limited top speed from 155mph to 174mph – but the engine is otherwise mechanically standard.
Inside, the XJ’s standard leather seats are replaced with four racing buckets, each equipped with a four-point harness. A full roll cage completes the transformation from luxury car to racer, although Jaguar were kind enough to leave ‘a few’ creature comforts in place such as air conditioning and the all important Sat Nav..
“We’ve been running a successful Nürburgring driving programme from our Nordschleife engineering test centre now for some time, as it’s the very best place to demonstrate the dynamic abilities of the current Jaguar XF, XJ and XK models,” said Frank Klaas, Global Head of Communications for Jaguar Land Rover.
“Of these models, we found it’s the XJ Supersport that most often surprises journalists with its speed simply because they perceive it to be a large luxury car. The XJ is both those things, of course, but its aluminium architecture means it’s rigid and lightweight too, which make it a very good car on track. To underline that fact, our engineering team created this special Nürburgring taxi version in which our trained drivers can safely take passengers on very hot laps!”
I can certainly vouch for that, the XJ hides its size surprisingly well when travelling at speed around a track. Now all we need to know is how well it compares for pace with the more established ‘Ring Taxi’, BMW’s 552bhp M5.