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LA show: Jaguar XFR-S set to pick a blue with Germans

British beef: Jaguar’s XFR-S borrows go-fast bits from both the XKR-S and upcoming F-Type to take on the likes of the BMW M5.

Jaguar’s hottest XF comes out in LA with blown 404kW V8 and murderous intent


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29 Nov 2012

JAGUAR has formally pulled the wraps from its 300km/h XFR-S at the Los Angeles motor show, confirming that the fastest sedan to emerge from the British company will get the same stonking 404kW supercharged V8 as the potent XKR-S sports flagship.

The hottest XF also gets a suspension makeover that Jaguar says improves lateral suspension stiffness by 30 per cent, along with carbon-fibre body bits – such as a front splitter and rear diffuser – that are said to reduce aerodynamic lift by 68 per cent while adding some pizzazz.

The XFR-S has been designed and engineered to take on German hot-shoes such as the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, although acceleration figures released in LA reveal it cannot quite match those benchmark sedans in the 0-100km/h sprint.

While the big cat hits 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, the latest M5 does it in 4.5 seconds and the E-Class in 4.3 seconds.

Teased in pictures released by Jaguar ahead of the show, the XFR-S will go into production in limited numbers next year, although JLR Australia is still to decide whether it will offer it to customers here.

As the importer’s marketing and public affairs specialist Narine Salmasi told GoAuto recently, one car at least will be imported for publicity purposes, while any others would most likely be built to customer order.

Unveiling the French racing blue – shock, horror – XFR-S in LA, Jaguar described the second model in its top-end ‘R-S’ performance range after the XKR-S as a “vivid expression of Jaguar’s longstanding and legendary sports saloon lineage”.

Body changes include a deeper front bumper with larger air openings and the carbon-fibre splitter.

The car is also given extra stability at high speed by deeper side sills, raised rear spoiler and carbon-fibre rear diffuser.

Bigger 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli tyres – 10mm wider than those on the XFR – designed especially for the car help keep the car glued to the tarmac.

Jaguar says it not only revised the spring and damper rates – stiffer by 30 per cent than those in current range-topping XFS – but also recalibrated the active electronic differential and ESC.

“At the rear, a new subframe has enabled revisions to suspension geometry which, allied to stiffer bushes – new rear knuckles and working in tandem with the stiffer springs – increase stability and response,” Jaguar said in its accompanying media release.

The steering gets the same valving as the new Jaguar F-Type that was revealed recently at the Paris motor show.

The engine is the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 as in the 375kW/625NM XFR, but tweaked to deliver 404kW and 680Nm – the same as in the XKR-S sports coupe.

Jaguar says this was mainly achieved by new air inlet and exhaust systems, while key engine and driveline components, including the main bearing caps, torque converter and propshaft central bearing, have been upgraded to cope with the extra grunt and generally stiffen the powertrain to the rear wheels.

The exhaust note is said to have been given a throaty lift with “near straight-through rear pipes”, providing what Jaguar describes as a “motorsport-style crackle on the overrun”.

An eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the six-speeder on the XFR. It gains “quickshift” technology developed for the upcoming F-Type that also received its North American show debut at the LA show.

Jaguar claims this system provides “crispest shifts” in manual mode when using the steering-wheel paddles.

“Corner Recognition senses when the car is negotiating a bend, the transmission holding the correct gear for the exit,” said Jaguar.

“The transmission will also recognise when the car is performing a series of overtaking manoeuvres requiring rapid changes in throttle position and, rather than change up, remain in a lower gear ready for the next demand for acceleration.”

Inside, a “technical palette” of materials includes “carbon leather” on the seat bolsters and armrests, and dark aluminium garnish on the dash.

The seats have contrast stitching and piping in the same colour as the paintwork.

Five exterior colours will be offered: French Racing Blue, Ultimate Black, Stratus Grey, Polaris White and Italian Racing Red.

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