by: Mike Ginsca
Jaguar is an automotive company with a rich history spanning almost 100 years. In that time they’ve created iconic cars such as the Jaguar E-Type and Jaguar XJ220 but that history is also riddled with embarrassing moments such as the unsuccessful Formula 1 team in the early 2000s. But some would argue that the most embarrassing time for this prestigious company was when Ford owned Jaguar from 1999 to 2008 and produced “old fashioned” vehicles such as the S-Type and X-Type. Now under the ownership of Tata Motors, Jaguar has redesigned its cars to look and feel like they belong in the 21st century.
Performance – One of the first of the new vehicles was the XF. A base XF gets a 5.0L V8 that puts out 385hp which is more than enough for most people. But this is the top of the line XFR model which is supercharged and it puts out 510hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. Never before has Jaguar put such a powerful engine into a sedan. The only car that comes close to this kind of power is the iconic XJ220 and that supercar only had 30 horsepower more than this XFR. With the Jaguar XFR, it shows the world that jaguar is no longer making “old fashioned” vehicles but rather cars that can compete and beat its rivals from Germany, Japan, and the United States. With this engine in an 1850kg body, the Jaguar XFR can go from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds and is theoretically capable of exceeding 300km/h if the speed limiter was removed. The engine feels more like an American V8 due to the abundance of torque at low rpms. It takes very little effort on the throttle pedal to get the car up to speed. Most of the time you won’t even hear the V8 rumble until the tachometer needle goes past 2500rpms. Once it does though, the noises coming from the big V8 are intoxicating to the ears as is the speed that is associated with the noise. You find it almost difficult to believe how quickly the speedometer needle moves towards triple digit numbers.
To keep all that power in check, the Jaguar XFR comes equipped with an electronic locking differential and suspension that can adjust hundreds of times per second to make sure that the engine’s power doesn’t get wasted. The result of these modern technologies is apparent when you drive the XFR on a winding road. The steering feel is precise and well weighted. The suspension irons out most road imperfections but it’s not so soft that it allows for excessive body roll. And the rear differential allows you to apply the throttle near the apex of a corner for faster acceleration out of the corner. It’s almost as though the engineers gave this car two different personalities. It is a very capable and fast 4-door sedan but when things calm down, it is also one of the best luxury vehicles on the market.
Comfort – You instantly get a feeling of luxury and theatrics once you take a seat behind the steering wheel of the XFR. The front seats are massive but sitting in them feels like you’re in a lounge chair at a 5 star hotel. The next thing you notice is the soft leather that the seats, steering wheel, door panels, arm rest, and dashboard are covered in. Almost everything you touch in the Jaguar XFR is covered by leather but the few areas that are not are instead made out of aluminum or carbon fiber. As you turn the key to start the engine, the center console mounted push button start pulsates red as though it were the beating heart of a fierce animal. Pressing it brings the engine to life and the gear selector rises from the center console. One thing that you’ll also notice quite quickly when moving is the lack of noise from the outside environment. When the XFR is not being driven like its pants are on fire, the cabin is so quiet that it feels like you’re in a church.
Odds and Ends – The XFR is a step in a new direction for Jaguar. It has the power of a supercar, the luxury of a private jet, and styling that is subtle but everyone can appreciate it. The XFR doesn’t have swollen arches like you’d find on an Audi RS model or vents sprouting out the side of the bumper like on a Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicle. It has a few “R“ badges on the exterior and interior to let people know it’s a special car but apart from that, it looks elegant and, for a lack of a better metaphor, like a big feline that which it is named after.
In the past if you wanted a rear wheel drive sedan with a powerful V8, you only had to flip a coin between the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E-class AMG. But since the Jaguar XFR’s introduction, the choice has become much more complicated. Not only because there’s a third option but for the fact that the third option is a very, very good option.
Thank you to Autoform Performance Inc. for providing the car.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.