From £63,7808
The 542bhp Jaguar XFR-S is a logical progression from the XFR, despite the garish paint job

Our Verdict

Jaguar XFR
Not only is the XFR the class leader, it is also exceptional value compared to rivals

The Jaguar XFR is a crushingly effective super saloon. Its 503bhp supercharged V8 has relentless pace, and it's the prettiest car in its class

What is it?

With the new £79,995, 542bhp XFR-S, the excuses Jaguar has had up until now not to be compared with rivals from the likes of BMW’s M-division, Audi’s RS department and Mercedes’ AMG powerhouse come screeching to a halt.

That’s because this time, Jaguar can, and indeed must, compete squarely with the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Audi’s new RS6. And if it can’t, well, the mission will have failed.

The bottom line is that the XFR-S boasts no more power or performance than any of its key opponents from Germany, yet it costs a fair bit more than they do. Jaguar’s justification, of course, is that the XFR-S is a whole lot more than just a breathed-on XFR. 

Not only does its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 generate more power and torque – up from 503bhp and 461lb ft to 542bhp and 502lb ft – but the whole car has also been preened to deliver a quantifiably more vivid driving experience than that of the regular XFR.

What's it like?

In a nutshell? It feels sharp and ready to perform, with more grip and sharper responses than the XFR

Fundamentally, the cabin is just as it was before. The basic dashboard architecture and the instruments are unchanged, as is the driving position, the round dial gear selector and the centre console. Look at the ceiling and seats, though, and XFR-S is quite different. There are swathes of Alcantara everywhere, while the seats feature R-S logos and offer a fair bit more support in all the right places. 

As a result, the car feels more focused inside, even though it stops some way short of being a stripped-out hot rod. It strikes a lovely compromise, in fact, between the two, yet it seems more expensive inside because of this.

On the move, the first thing you notice is the steering. It’s heavier than in the XFR, quite a lot heavier, in a way that, to begin with, feels a little bit un-Jaguar-like. The rack is the same, so the change in effect is largely because of the new valving (although the bigger front tyres and different uprights also make a slight difference). But the result is that, instantly, the XFR-S feels… more alert, yes, but also more brutal and perhaps a touch heavier on its feet.

Either way, it immediately feels keener than the car on which it’s based. Put your foot down and the eruption of V8 sound that you expect to happen fails, initially, to materialise. So you introduce the pedal to the carpet properly and, wham, the XFR-S fires itself at the horizon with even more vim than you remember, although not that much more. It feels a little bit more energetic, especially towards the upper reaches of the rev range, but not by perhaps as much as you were expecting.

Jaguar claims 0-60mph in 4.4sec, with 0-100mph in “under nine” and a top speed limited to 186mph. Which is easily enough to level with a BMW M5. In the mid-range, it now has that rare strain of performance that is, for most of the time, more than enough for most people.

Not often do you open the taps wide in this car for more than a few seconds, but it’s nice to know it’s there all the same. And the effect is aided in this instance by the new eight-speed gearbox, which has a ratio for every occasion and then some. Between 2000rpm and 5000rpm, it makes the XFR-S feel notably more potent than the XFR.

The ride is stiffer than before, too, and if you press the Dynamic button – which also quickens the gearchange responses and alters the steering weight fractionally – it becomes stiffer still. But fundamentally, it’s still a perfectly comfortable car to travel in, especially beside the harsher M5. And the handling, although sharper than before, is still every bit as lovely as it was.

Should I buy one?

Make no mistake: this is a very good fast saloon car, in other words, that has been made even more exciting to drive. Mostly. Whether that’s sufficient to justify it costing ten per cent more than its nearest opposition is another matter entirely. 

In the meantime, be in no doubt: the excuses are no longer required.

Jaguar XFR-S

Price
 £79,995; 0-60mph
 4.4sec; Top speed
 186mph; Economy
 24.4mpg (combined); Co2 270g/km; Kerb weight
 1987kg; Engine V8, 5000cc, supercharged, petrol; Power
 542bhp at 6500rpm; Torque
 502lb ft at 2500-5500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
24

9 August 2013

Sort of yes, but no, but yes, etc.  Also no mention of ride or handling on imperfect surfaces.

Wonder how the price compares with same spec.  Only asking because I am a little tired of reading about German cars with an as-tested price 30+% higher than list.  There was a test in an American rag of the expensive F-type V6S ($80K) vs the bargain Boxster S ($60K).  Trouble is, as tested the Porsche cost $101K (ouch!) vs. the Jag's $90K.

The XF will always suffer having the same weight as the XJ.  I'd wait for the next platform.

9 August 2013

Can't believe how bias the British car mags are - no matter if it's a Jag, Land/Range Rover or Aston, it's always "magnificent" in these reviews despite numerous flaws - if you read any other (unbias) car mags from anywhere else in the world you can see completely different results. This is embarrassing - the rest of the world is laughing at us and our drive reviews..... Come on, who really thinks that the Jag XFR or XFR-S can beat the Germans, especially the superb E-class AMG? The Jag is not even pretty but rather looks like a bad copy of an old Lexus... And, having driven it and the German rivals, the cabin is nowhere near as well made. Please Autocar, could you just tell us the truth because, let's face it, taking the criticism in is actually the best way to improve on sth and be better the next time - Jag might have a great future ahead but it's not there yet!

9 August 2013

James. I recommend you read the German magazines Autobilde and Auto Motor und Sport and come back and tells us whether they are biased towards German manufacturers. If you don't speak German, you can use google translate.

Welcome to the real world.

9 August 2013

Did you bother to read the review or did you just see a british car featured and decide to unleash your vitriol? in general I would agree with you about british car reviews In the uk press but you picked the wrong review

11 August 2013

I have to agree JamesX, I test drove this car in Spain and it is NOT quicker or more comfortable than the old 2012 M5 never mind the new LCI 2014 model M5 which I collect on the 1st September here in the UK.

The jaguar is not a comfortable 4 seater it's very cramped in the rear and good for shorties or kids.

It sounds great when pushed, but the economy is frightening, it showed 9 MPG when I drove it.

The worst thing is it's looks, it has HOLDEN written all over it, BOY RACER.

21 August 2013

JamesX wrote:

Can't believe how bias the British car mags are - no matter if it's a Jag, Land/Range Rover or Aston, it's always "magnificent" in these reviews despite numerous flaws - if you read any other (unbias) car mags from anywhere else in the world you can see completely different results. This is embarrassing - the rest of the world is laughing at us and our drive reviews..... Come on, who really thinks that the Jag XFR or XFR-S can beat the Germans, especially the superb E-class AMG? The Jag is not even pretty but rather looks like a bad copy of an old Lexus... And, having driven it and the German rivals, the cabin is nowhere near as well made. Please Autocar, could you just tell us the truth because, let's face it, taking the criticism in is actually the best way to improve on sth and be better the next time - Jag might have a great future ahead but it's not there yet!

Hmm - work for a Mercedes dealership do we by any chance? Anyone who thinks a modern Mercedes quality is anywhere near as good as Jaguar's is having a laugh...!

Check out the review at US reviewer MotorAuthority.com and you'll see that the international press is actually even more positive about the XFR-S too - so that kind of goes against what you're saying...

 

9 August 2013

As much as I like this Jag, and I really do, there are a few things which I am not so keen on.  For starters, that rear spolier has to be binned (leave that to the Holdens of this word) the alloys and those black inserts, just leave them the normal colour or a gun metal grey and the colour is a bit naff.  The XF has always been a classy car in my opinion but there is just a whiff of Max Power with this version.  Gone are the days when Jags would undercut the opposition by several thousand pounds, they just seem to getting a tad expensive as of late.  The F-Type being a good example.  On the whole though, I think JLR are doing a fantastic job and long may it continue

9 August 2013

It maybe better to drive, but those looks! It reminds me of something MG Rover would have done circa 2003 in a desperate attempt to inject some interest into their ageing line up! The fact is the XF's Ford DEW platform is now over 13 years old (hence the 4 star NCAP) - I think time to look at more modern machinery!

9 August 2013

Looks good visually till you see it's rear,did Jaguar run out of ideas and just stick the rear of a VXR Monaro on it, they could have done better.

Peter Cavellini.

jer

9 August 2013

like value, personally I dont think they really need to compete in the 550ps segment nor do Jaguar do this bling style thing that well ; charge a bit less and settle for 510ps. But I suppose the target market wants the most and has the money so not to wince at the extra cash. I wonder if the supercharger has the same scope for development as turbo chargers dual/electric etc. Also perhaps 4wd would be prudent for 550ps ? Whats all this jibberish about bias - there is a bias to UK roads and conditions and the feel of driving over the stats and you are reading a UK site. You ever read/transalated a US or German publication? naive...

 

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