Jaguar XFR Still Has The Power To Please

This review is coming to you earlier than expected because DriveWrite is pinned down in the house with some mediaeval malady. I must have brushed against one of those archeologists digging up the Bedlam pits or something. For this reason, sitting alone outside with lots of lovely petrol in it, is my featured car today, the Jaguar XFR. This is a performance version of the regular XF saloon and it has not had quite the workout I would have liked.

The current XF will soon be replaced (see here) but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the present model still looks good and remains a great choice for high-powered, luxury motoring. With extended R-Style side sills and bonnet louvres with ‘supercharged’ embossed thereon the Jaguar XFR presents a sporting but yet understated profile which marks it out from the regular versions.

The car shown here with all the options fitted costs a cool £70,000 up from a starting price of around £65k. There’s a specification shown at the bottom of the page. If you can afford this then you won’t mind the sound of a petrol tank emptying rapidly thanks to the 5.0L V8 503bhp supercharged engine. The XFR can in fact achieve 24 miles per gallon provided you cruise it in Drive but you won’t will you? You will slip it into Sport mode, select the Dynamic button with the chequered flag logo and open the taps.Fortunately I was at least able to take it around the extended DriveWrite test route. Driving it is a real pleasure. Under firm acceleration you can hear the subtle sounds of the big V8 propelling you rapidly up the road. Acceleration is remarkable – 62mph comes up in a scant 4.7 seconds and suddenly the car is a long way up the road without appearing to do very much. Cornering is handled beautifully thanks to adaptive suspension and the heavy Jaguar XFR feels smaller, lightly and more nimble than its bulk suggests. With mighty power comes the need for care – especially in the wet. It is very easy to lose grip under hard acceleration. Keep it smooth and all will be well.This is a Jaguar, so inside all is stylish, leathery and well made. The XF interior hasn’t dated, the seats are supportive and the ride comfortable whatever driving mode is engaged. There’s the now expected touchscreen navigation / infotainment / Bluetooth system plus mood lighting that gives the cabin a sense of occasion. As usual a circular gear selector rises up from the transmission tunnel when you turn the key and air vents open automatically. As mentioned, the ride is handled by jaguar’s ‘Adaptive Dynamics’ suspension system, which monitors the speed, steering and movement of the car’s body to adjust it for the road conditions and your driving style. It works too.There’s an opening sun roof for fresh air fiends and, with the blind open, the light helps to lift the interior. Trouble is, on this car at least, at speed there was a lot of wind noise from the glass roof even though I checked to ensure it was fully closed and flush on the outside. Closing the blind muffled the noise but I couldn’t make out why it was happening. Maybe it was just this car?As suggested earlier, this is not a cheap motor either to run or maintain. With CO² emissions of 270g/km the happy owner will be subject to the heaviest of VED penalties at £500. The first year is £1090 just to rub it in and for business users BiK is an eye-watering 35%. Servicing is no back-street bargain either.Of course, none of this will matter if you love this car and have deep pockets. Happily, the Jaguar comes with a proper space-saver spare wheel which lives under the boot floor. It doesn’t really compromise the boot which is well shaped and offers some 500L of packing space. As ever, the rear seats fold to help out when necessary. The XFR is spacious and comfortable for passengers but lanky individuals may feel the headroom to be a bit tight in the back thanks to the sloping roofline. This being a rear-wheel drive car the transmission tunnel makes the rear middle seat a bit awkward, for adults at least.The Jaguar XF has always been a favourite here at DriveWrite and the XFR is a satisfying car to drive. It’s got it all. Certainly, some other premium brands in the same sector, mostly from Germany, have it beaten for pace these days but the XFR competes very well on price; plus it has the one thing the opposition lacks – a Jaguar badge.
Geoff Maxted