Jaguar design director Ian Callum described the new 542bhp XFR-S as “as sporty as a Jaguar saloon can get”, and a “formidable machine”. It’s hard to disagree. The XFR-S is the fastest and most powerful Jaguar saloon ever created. Not alone does the look the part with its muscular bodykit (including a mighty fixed rear wing) and bright blue paint, but it should also ‘go’ well too with chassis guru Mike Cross having lead the on-road development. It’s cars like the XFR-S and the F-type that starred alongside it in LA that make you see why Jaguar has got its confidence back.
A Volvo in BMW M5 territory was one of the more unusual performance stars from the LA motor show. The S60 Polestar uses a 3.0-litre straight-six engine tuned to 508bhp by Volvo’s performance partner. Other highlights include a 3.9sec 0-62mph time and a top speed of more than 186mph. The one major drawback? Volvo’s hesitancy about putting it into production. Build it and they will come.
At the other end of the performance scale was Ford’s latest small hot hatch, which is being offered to US buyers from early next year. Sales of the standard Fiesta haven’t exactly set the world alight, so Ford will be hoping the ST can inject some kudos into the rest of the supermini range. The major difference to the Fiesta ST offered in Europe is it being a five-door hatchback rather than a three-door, but there’s no news on a saloon version of the Fiesta ST.
The Cayman was the undoubted star of the LA motor show. It was the major world debut, and attracted the biggest crowd and was met with the most enthusiasm by the assembled press pack. Unlike its predecessor, it has the visual drama (it certainly made a statement in its vibrant yellow) to match what are likely to be the sharpest dynamics in the segment. Might Porsche have made a car that outshines the 911?
The SLS Black Series is how supercars should look. You know it means business when the boss of AMG, Ola Kallenius, describes it as "the ultimate expression of what our engineers can do when they're allowed to go crazy". The Black Series is a rare example of race car technology transferring so explicitly to the road. Kallenius’s brief was to turn the successful SLS AMG GT3 race car into a road car, and a look at the spec sheet reveals they have succeeded. Looks pretty special too, right?