What is it?
A machine that blows away preconceptions of dusty old Jaguars decked out in more faux wood trim than your average gentleman’s club. This new XF model wears the ‘R’ moniker reserved only for the most hardcore vehicles to emerge from Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant near Birmingham.
A ferocious, supercharged 5-litre V8 developing 503bhp drives the rear wheels, making 0-60mph achievable in just 4.7 seconds. This is a rapid luxury saloon that takes the fight straight to the likes of Mercedes’ S63 AMG and Audi’s RS5.
Even though this is Jaguar’s flagship sports model, the XFR possesses the same chassis composure, smooth ride and sharp handling of the standard, critically acclaimed XF on which it is based. Potholes and cracked road surfaces vanish when the car’s ride is set to standard mode.
The steering is light yet brilliantly weighted while shift changes are smoothly executed by a new, eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. But slot the XFR into ‘dynamic mode’, click the gear selector into the ‘sport’ position and Dr Henry Jekyll becomes Edward Hyde. The steering sharpens, the suspension stiffens and the rev needle races across the odometer at an alarming pace.
Lower side skirts, bonnet scoops, a small rear spoiler and ‘supercharged’-emblazoned alloys signal the XF-R’s hairy-chested intent. Power is delivered to the rear tyres by the bucketload; the car squirms and wriggles under heavy acceleration. The traction control allows you to have enough fun without being overly intrusive. Enter a corner on the quick side and the car’s weighty rear end will step out of line with little encouragement.
Driving the XF-R on the limit is quite a challenge, especially when the road surface becomes greasy, but the brilliant chassis and suspension set-up encourage confidence. When playtime is over, the car easily settles back into its role of luxury limousine.
New leather front seats offer fantastic support for passengers. Rear occupants are treated to plenty of legroom, even though the raked saloon design does limit headroom for taller folk. A brand-new touch-screen infotainment system freshens up the Jaguar’s interior but the absence of steering wheel-mounted controls means the driver has to reach across and jab at buttons on the centre screen to navigate menus; distracting and frustrating.
The big Jaguar fails to match its German rivals for intuitively laid-out interior technology but it more than makes up for it with a cabin that lives and breathes luxury. A hand-stitched leather centre console, piano black trim on door panels and subtle mood lighting make the XFR a fantastic place to be.
Jaguar hasn’t gone overboard with the sporty finish, either. It’s the perfect mix of luxury cruiser and all-out muscle, with only a few gentle reminders of the car’s real performance potential.
The One to Buy
Jaguar XF 5-litre V8 R
- 5000cc V8
- 503bhp @ 6000rpm
- 461 lb ft @ 2500rpm
- 8-speed automatic
- 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds
- Top Speed:
- 22.5 mpg
- 292 g/km
- Road Tax Band:
- L 4961mm W 1877mm H 1460mm
Jaguar XFR rivals
Aston Martin Rapide (check Aston Martin Rapide used car prices on driving.co.uk)
BMW M5 (check BMW M5 used car prices on driving.co.uk)
Maserati Quattroporte (check Maserati Quattroporte used car prices on driving.co.uk)