Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jaguar XFR Review: AutoExpress

Storming supecharged V8 sports saloon is a peach to drive, but costs a lot to run


  • For : Searing acceleration from supercharged V8, stylish looks, comfortable ride
  • Against : Enormous running costs, traction can be limited in the wet, steep depreciation
The XFR is the pinnacle of the Jaguar XF range, packing a 510bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine that gives it crushing performance. Thanks to adaptive dampers this extra pace and amazing handling doesn’t come at the expense of comfort. Beware though, traction can be limited in the wet, while bills for tyres, servicing, fuel and tax are all very hefty indeed.


Jaguar designers have gone for a less-is-more approach with the XFR. They have resisted adding big wings and spoilers, seeking to beef-up the flagship sporting saloon with bonnet vents, a subtle bodykit and 19-inch alloy wheels. Latest models – from September 2011 onwards – look the best thanks to redesigned headlights and taillights and a new bumper arrangement. Apart from some sports seats and some XFR badging, it’s business as usual inside. The cabin, like the exterior, is very modern with cool blue lighting and a touchscreen central display. There are lots of neat touches including a circular gear selector that rises up when the ignition is turned on, and air vents that automatically open. However, while there’s lots of wood, leather and metal surfaces, some materials feel a bit cheap and it’s sometimes hard to access the correct buttons on the touchscreen. Rear visibility isn’t great either. Equipment is lavish with leather, climate control, Xenon headlights, cruise control, a high-spec stereo, satnav and Bluetooth.

Driving and Performance 

There’s no doubt about it: the XFR is a riot on the road. That 510bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 has enormous perfomance, rocketing the car from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. Overtaking potential is devasting thanks to deep reserves of torque, while the off-beat V8 soundtrack will have you racing to redline as often as you can. The six-speed auto could be a bit smoother and quicker, but with paddle shifters it’s easy to tap into the performance. The handling is sublime, with sharp turn-in and agile dynamics. It feels a much smaller car than it actually is. Traction is limited in the wet though – certainly compared to Audi quattro models.

MPG and running costs 

You’d better have some deep pockets if you want to buy and run an XFR. Jaguar quotes 22.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 292g/km, which means you’ll often be seeing the forecourt of your local garage while road tax will cost a whopping £1,000 in the first year of registration and £460 thereafter. With all that power going through the rear wheels, expect significant tyre wear while servicing at a Jaguar dealer will not come cheaply.


Like the standard XF, jump in the back and if you’re over six-foot tall you’ll notice you don’t have a lot of headroom. That’s down to the sloping coupe-style roofline which robs some space from passengers. However, most people will be fine, even though the wide transmission tunnel means there’s only really space for two in the back. As for the boot it’s deep and, at 540-litres, large enough for several suitcases. You can also fold the rear seats down for longer items, extending this to over 900-litres.

Safety and reliability 

While the XF only achieved a four-star EuroNCAP crash rating, it is very safe, with plenty of airbags, gizmos like automatic cruise control, standard traction and stability control and a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision. Owners reported poor reliability in the 2010 Driver Power survey though – more than likely teething problems with early cars, which should have been solved by now.

Source: Auto Express

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