This feline bites
Jaguar’s XFR has the might and power to match and better its rivals
Audi S7 when it arrives Down Under later this year.
As you’d imagine, the interior is swathed in beautiful leather, there’s soft blue puddle lighting in the footwells, and you merely have to brush your finger past the glovebox button and it opens as if by magic.
In terms of nut and bolts value, you get Bluetooth and iPod connectivity with audio streaming, sat-nav, dual zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, power windows, front parking sensors and reversing camera, Bowers and Wilkins 1200-watt sound system, grippy, but not too grippy, sports seats for driver and front-seat passenger, and much more.
Nestled beneath the shapely bonnet is a whopping big 5.0-litre supercharged V8 which sledgehammers out 375kW and 625Nm from 2500rpm, which is enough to get you to 100km/h in an eyewatering 4.9 seconds. All of this oomph is twisted through a sensational, and conventional six-speed automatic (albeit with up-rated torque converter and additional clutch plates).
Fuel consumption is 12.5L/100km.
Other aces are the XFR’s Active Differential Control, which can vary its locking torque and thus how much drive each of the rear wheels gets, based on the road surface and the grip, and Adaptive Dynamics, which automatically adapts suspension damper settings to suit the road surface and driving style. And it works brilliantly, offering up a beautifully compliant, yet, at the same time sporting, ride that not a single one of this car’s rivals can match.
While a lot of performance strains of garden variety vehicles have bits and pieces added to them for looks, the XFR’s design is more about function than form.
The big 20-inch alloys, for instance, allow for bigger brakes and better rubber, improving braking and grip. The rear lip at the back might be pretty small, but it’s functional, increasing downforce at high speed. And so on, and so on. All of this stuff, luckily, gives the XFR a look of purpose (think Matt Damon as Jason Bourne). Slip in behind the steering wheel, and the XFR, like the rest of the XF and XJ range, is an event rather than an interior. The dash wraps around the front of the car, the materials are sumptuous to look at and beautiful to touch; and the gear selector rising up from the transmission tunnel, and the air vents rolling open give this thing an interior experience that no competitors can match.
The Jaguar XFR, like the rest of the XF range, gets a four-star ANCAP crash safety rating.
It’s literally loaded down with active and passive safety aids. For instance, it gets, as standard, eight airbags, traction and stability controls, adaptive dynamics, and active differential control, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, adaptive cruise control with emergency brake options, and much more.
The superstructure is also incredibly light and strong, made from new-generation metals. The XFR also features the Pedestrian Contact Sensing System, which instantaneously raises the bonnet a short distance to avoid a pedestrian making contact with the hard surfaces beneath it.
Plenty of these highperformance sedans are otherworldly when blasting along an autobahn, or around a race track, but they invariably end up feeling dull and lifeless at around-town speeds.
Not so, the XFR. It truly, feels special at just about any speed, and how the engineers have managed to make a car that sticks to the road as if it’s been stuck down with Gorilla Glue, yet ride across broken surfaces as if it’s driving over pillows, is staggering. The adaptive dynamics, which in most cars either feel too hard or too spongy, are spot-on. There’s good steering feel, although a little more weight wouldn’t hurt, and the allsurface quality of the ride is easily the best in class.
Throw it into a corner and the balance and body control are breathtaking; it really does make an M5 feel clumsy and lifeless. And, all the while, you can hear that 5.0-litre supercharged V8 barking out through the quad tailpipes.
While many of these premium performance cars only really reveal themselves when going well over 200km/h, this Jaguar reveals itself the moment you thumb the starter button and revel in the growl of the supercharged V8.
This is a performance car that’s comfortable in its skin, if you catch my drift . . . a truly epic drive at any speed, and that puts it absolutely into a league of its own.
Great going: Thenew Jaguar XFR looks terrific inside and out