GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Jaguar - XF - XFR sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Performance, throttle response, steering feel, ride and handling balance, smoothness, styling, price advantage over rivals
Room for improvement
Low-profile tyre harshness, cheap and rattley cup-holders, clunky glovebox, hard sides on centre console

Jaguar logo17 Jun 2009

IT would be easy to flippantly summarise the new high-performance Jaguar XFR as the Cat sharpening its claws, but – while there is unquestionably a big performance boost as Jag gets serious about its R brand – the new car is really about refinement rather than rawness.

The car’s all-new supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine is a potent and superbly smooth weapon, churning out a mighty 375kW of power and 625Nm of torque, and on paper it eclipses the super-saloon performance leader, Mercedes-Benz’s mighty E63 AMG.

XF chief engineer Kevin Stride proudly points out how the supercharged V8 develops considerably more torque than the AMG’s normally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 up to 4000rpm and then holds its own against the Benz.

However, the German car still accelerates to 100km/h much faster – 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds versus 4.9s for the Jaguar – and does so with a bit more theatre.

The AMG bursts into life with an awesome cackle and always sounds fast whereas the Jaguar is intentionally more refined. Supercharger whine, which was already quite subtle in the superseded SV8, cannot be heard at all and only a select amount of engine note is transmitted to the occupants.

Where the XFR most impresses is with the instant response when burst of speed is needed, leaping from 80km/h to 110km/h in less than two seconds, which should see off the Benz.

That mid-range performance is aided by improvements to the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, which has more lock-up for the torque converter but is still no match for the Mercedes seven-speeder let alone BMW’s twin-clutch unit in the M5.

Like both the E63 and the M5 – which are $20,000 more expensive – the $208,450 Jaguar has gone for subtlety with the styling of its executive express, opting only for the required larger air intakes at the front and relatively minor bodywork refinements including a small built-in rear spoiler and bonnet vents to distinguish the fastest four-door saloon the company has ever built.

It is hardly an ostentatious ‘look-at-me’ kind of car, but make no mistake – you will be noticed driving the XFR, especially if painted black, which really shows up the chrome highlights around the nose, the 20-inch alloys and the car’s purposeful stance.

As a sporty saloon, there is no doubt in my mind that Ian Callum’s beautiful XF is a much better-looking car than its German mid-size rivals, let alone the ungainly Lexus GS, and the R version simply stands out in the performance stakes. In my book, the man deserves a statue next to Sir William Lyons at Jag HQ.

Inside, our launch car was all black trim and purposeful, with seats that were comfortable rather than hugging in an interior that oozes quality rather than the stuffiness of old.

However, while the R trim provides extra sportiness without being gaudy, the interior is still let down by sub-standard fit and finish of fittings such as the cup-holders and glovebox, which spoil an otherwise classy interior and need to be improved in the future.

And long-distance comfort was still spoiled by the lack of padding on the centre console, which caused us some discomfort with a numb knee while the lack of a digital speed read-out and small spacings for the speedo itself made it difficult to stay safe from speed cameras.

But we still like the start-up ‘handshake’ function, which rotates the air-vents into position and pops up the unique gearshift controller when you turn on the ignition, as well as the soft-feel dash, the chrome and rubber steering wheel controls, the size and shape of the wheel itself and even the attention to detail with the Jaguar name embossed into the chrome air-vent direction sliders.

The sloping roofline barely compromises ease of entry to the rear seat and there is no problem with headroom, legroom, visibility or comfort once inside.

Jaguar makes much of its in-house active differential development and its wide-ranging ‘Adaptive Dynamics’ suspension system – which apparently monitors the body position 100 times a second and the wheels 500 times a second to predictively improve damper control – but unfortunately the launch drive was anything but challenging.

Busy country highways are not the place to test such a car, let alone analyse complex systems and explore the limits of its capabilities, so we remain in anticipation of a more thorough examination over an extended time on local roads.

In the meantime, we can tell you that the XFR is suitably grippy and rides well for such a car, but suffers from sharp road irregularities, as you would expect from low-profile performance tyres, which also generate too much road noise.

The fast electro-hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering (electronic control, not electric power) is hard to fault, being fast and direct, with a lightness of touch at low speeds combined with good feel, responsiveness and on-centre feel on the highway.

Jaguar is certainly serious about its R brand and has dedicated significant engineering resources to revive the brand’s sporting heritage. AMG and the M people may not yet be quaking in their boots, but the XFR is undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Enquire on or Test Drive a New XF

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

XF pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.