Jaguar XFR-S

Game is on!

"Premium as a Jag" - that explains the story inside the car.

"I like the way the car greets you. Turn on the engine and you'll see the gear knob rising up," said Ershad

"XFR-S feels stiffer than the XFR"

"We exercised the electronic active differential throughout our weekend trip to Al Ain"

The Jaguar XFR-S just may be another sports sedan with an R or S badge, or perhaps it needs a better introduction. The XFR-S is Jaguar's most powerful sports sedan ever! 

There was a time when things were uncertain about the future of Jaguar, to the extent that some thought that Jaguar was over. Yet look where we are today. The Brits are busy launching new models and have even seen beyond the R models with the R-S lineup. They realized that it's not easy territory when Germans are leading the race. Seriously, with the BMW M5, Audi RS6 and Mercedes Benz E63 AMG in the souk, you need something special to compete. 

The start was good; to pick the best seller XF as a platform to put up. Yet there's more room for better designs in a Jaguar, especially when you compare it with the M5. The attention has been, of course, given to the engine, suspension and the exhaust system. Let's see what we have. 

XF was carried over from the old "S-Type" and finally derived to its current shape with new lines and curves around the body. It looks sporty and aerodynamic. Our test car was colored white; technically, Polaris white. We can see the R-S brooch stamped on the steering wheel, carpet mats and door sill tread plates. Best part was the front bumper with carbon fiber lower intake surround in the front and performance sport exhaust with carbon fiber rear diffuser in the rear. We've also got optional 20 inch Varuna design alloy wheels. With extended R-S side sills and bespoke carbon fiber touch ups all over, the XFR-S is a fitting competitor in the league. 

"Premium as a Jag" - that explains the story inside the car. We see the same rotary-dial gear selector (JaguarDrive Selector) on the flat center console. As for the seats and dash material, Jag's got warm charcoal seats with warm charcoal upper facia in carbon soft grain leather. There's a contrast stitch with red duo tone, micro piping and jet suede cloth headlining. Carbon fiber veneer was applied on the front windsreen. Moving down to the floor, we notice a set of bright aluminium pedals. For a nice feel inside, we've got auto air recirculation and dual zone automatic climate control  system. There's a multimedia system with a 7 inch color touchscreen in the center console for audio, climate control and navigation. The screen looks too small, though, and needs to react quicker. Bluetooth connection enables phone calls and you can enjoy music though Bluetooth audio streaming. There's a Meridian surround sound system inside, so no compromise to the audio experience.

XFR-S has a revised 5.0L V8 supercharged engine. Work has been done on the exhaust system and engine management. All this to gain the extra power to reach 542hp and a torque of 680Nm. Power is passed on to rear wheels through the 8 speed auto transmission system.

Safety features include blind spot monitor, adaptive front lightning with cornering lamps, reverse park camera, adaptive cruise control and emergency brake assist.

I like the way the car greets you. Turn on the engine and you'll see the gear knob rising up, A/C air vents roll open together and then you notice the blue lighting inside. You can settle down nice with the 18/18 way electric adjustment and memory for driver and passenger seating. The highlight, however, was the thunderous roar. It had a peculiar note - as if metal objects were inside of a drum and sealed to explode. In this case, finely tuned!

XFR-S feels stiffer than the XFR. Suspension is uprated with stiffer springs and bushings; further assisted by adaptive dynamics system to behave well as per the road conditions. There's an instant kick, but wait till you tick 2,500rpm. Zero-100kph in just 4.6 seconds is a two seconds better figure than XFR. As we leap forward, the transmission feels smooth and quick with barely a miss.

Now, this is what we liked about XFR-S - the handling part which was very lively. Thanks to Jag's servotronic steering system, handling such a powerful car is a pleasure. Well balanced and almost precise and direct feedback gives driver the confidence to play around during the twists and turns at high speed. The car feels very stable with carbon fiber rear diffusers that increase the aerodynamics of XFR-S by reducing drag. Brakes are up to mark and the car stands tight to the road. Jag's got something called electronic active differential for better traction and cornering which we exercised all throughout our weekend trip to Al Ain.

Verdict
I won't say that the Jaguar XFR-S is faster than a BMW M5, but it certainly has an edge on the overall design. Mercedes Benz E63 AMG is a good match along with the Audi RS6 in terms of pricing, but they both have better performance figures. For a sports sedan buyer, he'll be looking for a car that is fast, comfy and stable. Jaguar XFR-S easily gets on the shortlist for sure. To better the chances, I'd say next year, cut down some weight and improve the infotainment system. Rest of it all looks as on-track as one would like. If you've been observing Jaguar over the years, you'll have noticed that they've been aggressively expanding the lineup recently. I can see them right up there in the Bavarian territoty - game on!

Pros: cool design, handling, premium interior material, fast
Cons: little more power required to catch up with rivals, small and slow touchscreen
Rivals: BMW M5 , Audi RS6, Mercedes Benz E63 AMG
Engine: 5.0L, V8 supercharged, 542 hp, 680 Nm
Transmission: 8 Speed Auto, RWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 4.6 sec, 12 L /100 km, top speed: 300 kph (limited)
Weight: 1987 kg
3.5 STARS
One word: competitor

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