The Jaguar XFR is still the rorty old-school super-sedan that it always was, but the model has benefitted from some important specification enhancements in recent months.
Powertrain and performance: 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8, 375kW, 8-speed automatic, rear-drive, Combined economy 11.6 litres per 100km, 0-100km/h 4.6 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4961mm long, 1460mm high, kerb weight 1875kg, luggage capacity 500 litres, fuel tank 70 litres, 20-inch wheels.
We like: Character, old-school supercharged grunt, agile chassis.
We don’t like: Interstellar gearing in eighth, clumsy touch-screen in cabin.
How it rates: 9/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The Jaguar XFR is still the rorty old-school super-sedan that it always was, but the model has benefitted from some important specification enhancements in recent months. The most significant is an eight-speed automatic gearbox, bringing the big V8 in line with the four and six-cylinder XF variants.
The XFR is also now fitted with stop-start technology, as well as some minor changes to the touch-screen multimedia system. The price is unchanged at $160,000, making the XFR even more of a bargain compared with $200k-plus rivals like the BMW M5 and forthcoming Mercedes E 63 AMG S.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Outrageous performance is a given with the XFR. The whirring soundtrack of the supercharger also gives this car a unique aural character, even if ‘blower’ technology is much less efficient than the turbocharging now being employed by the likes of BMW.
The new eight-speed gearbox is superb: not just smooth, but capable of 200 millisecond cog-changes and able to skip gears during downchanges as it sees fit. The new gearbox is no heavier than the old six-speeder thanks to lightweight construction – all of which means the XFR is both faster and more economical than the car it replaces.
The ratios are closely stacked of course – there are eight of them, after all – but top is still too tall for New Zealand driving. The car spends much of its time in seventh, so in a country with relatively low speed limits and minimal motorway network like ours, it would benefit from shorter overall gearing.
Not for Jaguar the complexity of a BMW M5: this is more a car that has been set up the way the company thinks it should, so you simply get in and drive. There are one-touch sport and dynamic modes that alter the behavior of the powertrain and stability control, but that’s about as intricate as you get.
That will appeal to many and there’s no doubt that the XFR is beautifully sorted for New Zealand roads. It rides amazingly well for a super-sedan on hard-core suspension and big wheels, yet it’s totally up to the task of high-performance driving.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
The XFR cabin is a combination of outstanding quality/design with a few unwelcome gimmicks. Overall fit and finish is superb and just as you’d expect in a Jaguar: there’s enough bling to create a premium impression but it doesn’t cross the line into bad taste. The leather is beautiful. You’d expect nothing less.
Gimmicks? The way the rotary gearlever (now also used on Land Rover/Range Rover models) rises up to meet you when you turn the car on is a bit tedious. Ditto the dashboard vents that spin around at the same time.
The XFR is fully kitted-up with a multimedia system and sat-nav, but the graphics look a bit tired and the screen is slow to respond to the touch. The operation seems clumsy compared with the delicate MyLink system on a $43k Holden Malibu, despite the impressive range of features.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
You’d be mad not to consider the XFR if you’re shopping in this segment – not just for the fact that it’s tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than the competition, but because it’s every bit as exciting and agile.
Ultimately the XFR may not have the outward sophistication of an M5, or the broad range of talents. Nor is the supercharged engine capable of the same kind of fuel economy in cruising mode (remember, a supercharger is being run by the engine all the time).
But the XFR is also arguably more suited to real-world driving –at least the kind we do in this country. It’s as adept at playing luxury car as it is in track-attack mode.
Air conditioning: Dual climate
Audio: CD, iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
Blind spot warning: No
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Gas discharge headlights: Bi-xenon
Head-up display: No
Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
Lane guidance: No
Leather upholstery: Yes
Parking radar: Yes with camera
Power boot or tailgate: No
Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
Remote audio controls: Yes
Satellite navigation: Yes
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Self-parking technology: No
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Trip computer: Yes
Find a Jaguar XFR HERE