Test drive: Jaguar XFR

Delivering high performance, excellent refinement and outstanding dynamic ability, the XF is true to Jaguar’s philosophy of creating beautiful, fast cars
Test drive: Jaguar XFR
Jaguar XFR, from $82,000
By Staff writer
Sun 24 Jun 2012 08:58 AM

Contemporary, individual and beautifully crafted, the XF has the soul of a sports car, the style and sophistication of a luxury four-door saloon and the visual excitement of a coupe. Delivering high performance, excellent refinement and outstanding dynamic ability, the XF is true to Jaguar’s philosophy of creating beautiful, fast cars. The attributes that marked out the XF at launch are still very much new in the public eye. The four-door XF has the visual excitement of a coupe, but room inside for five adults to enjoy an interior wholly contemporary in style, yet uniquely Jaguar.

Simplicity and clever use of space are key to the XF’s interior design and this is unchanged in the new generation. For the driver, this is centred on the compact packaging of the JaguarDrive Selector transmission interface. The cast alloy Selector has already gained recognition for its part in the distinctive XF ‘welcoming handshake’; a sequence in which the illuminated stop/start button pulsates like a heartbeat until pressed, when the JaguarDrive Selector rises into the driver’s hand and the rotating facia vents silently open.

The XFR shifts the balance even further towards dynamic performance while still retaining the XF’s core values as a refined and luxurious sports saloon.  In the XFR the power comes from an all-new 5.0-litre direct-injection supercharged V8 engine delivering 510PS and 625Nm of torque.

The XFR also features Active Differential Control and Adaptive Dynamics — technologies being introduced for the first time on this and the XKR sports car. The electronically controlled differential and suspension system work together to optimise traction under acceleration and cornering —  highly appropriate for a car that offers an electronically limited top speed of 155mph and reaches 60mph from standstill in just 4.7 seconds.

Compared to its 4.2-litre V8 predecessor, power has increased by 23 percent and torque has increased by twelve percent. The XFR also adds a faster steering ratio and uses the XF’s largest ventilated disc brakes. Performance at first was a little disappointing with even Sport mode failing to offer a hair-raising moment, but once you discover and depress the chequered flag button you find yourself strapped into a whole new car... and it’s a beast. It’s not quite as terrifying as the BMW M5, but the XFR has its own character that’s very easy to hustle. You get more indication that the car is going to start to oversteer, in most cases revelling in the fact that it seems to release into mild slides at corner apex without biting your head off.

It can be a hooligan, but you have to poke it a bit to get it angry - after that, it’s sublime!

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