2012 Jaguar XFR Review (Video)

Swift and suave

By Shahzad Sheikh

Late last year the XF range got a facelift that actually brought it closer to the C-XF concept car from the 2007 Detroit Motor Show which heralded the replacement of the Jaguar S-Type.

What’s new for 2012

For 2012 all XF models get completely restyled headlights with a larger grill, a new bonnet and a restyle to the front bumper. The previous XF is very handsome car already, even with the awkward bump on its headlights, but this tweak has made it the car an absolute knock-out when it comes to stylish executive rides.

For the XFR there are now larger chrome-ringed air intakes, along with deeper side-sill. There’s larger LED taillights for the range but the XFR gets a deeper rear bumper, sensational quad exhausts pipes and a diffuser.

Mechanically the XFR remains pretty much unchanged, it doesn’t even get the new eight-speed box that European versions get on the diesel editions.

But then there wasn’t anything much lacking from the previous XFR, which has only been around for three years. And you certainly won’t find yourself complaining about a 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 putting out 510bhp and 461lb ft of torque. Particularly when you can get to 100kph from rest in 4.9 seconds and hit a restricted 250kph. There are rumours of them doing an ‘S’ version like the XJR-S which would derestrict the top speed!

How’s it in the flesh?

It is actually a beautiful saloon – butch, beefy, yet suave and elegant at the same time. The reprofiled front gives it a visage that says this car is not to be messed with, and the sophisticated profile and its tight backside makes this a better looking car than the XJ in my book.

Inside, it’s still got one of the most exquisitely inviting cabins there is, with nice surprise and delight features – the rising gearknob and the whirring back vent covers remain. It’s brilliantly equipped, has a great in-car entertainment system, nice touch-screen monitor and frankly everything you need.

Not only do you feel very content and satisfied inside this XF – but despite the latent potency of this car, it doesn’t evoke aggression or even provoke your competitive side. It’s an interior that puts you at ease, makes you feel at peace with the world, and gives you a hint of the potency that lies beneath.
What gives you more than a hint though is when you press the starter button and that growly V8 barks into life and purrs menacingly away in the background.

What’s it like on the go

Well you can obviously leave everything as it is and cruise around effortlessly, stylishly and comfortably all day long.

But if you’re feeling a little naughty press the Dynamic Mode button (it’s the one with the chequered flag) and this fiddles with the throttle response, stability control, sharpens the already excellent ZF six-speed paddle-shift transmission, and accesses the R’s clever adaptive dynamics.

Then hit the DSC button to attain ‘Trac DSC’. This is how most keen driver-owners will motor most of the time. It allows the torque a little freedom to get at the rear wheels, makes the whole driving experience a little friskier but keeps everything pointing in the right direction.

If you’re feeling really very, very naughty indeed, press and hold the DSC for over ten seconds to turn the traction control off completely. In which case it turns into a hooligan muscle car that’ll keep you laughing right up to the moment you crash.

Leave it on though and whilst you get a bit of slippage, the traction’s interference does come in rather abruptly to shut the slide. Otherwise performance feels strong and the delivery is great. It feels punchy.

It rides very well too for full-on sports saloon – as befits a Jag. You can drive it fast and hard and it rewards with agile responses, sticky roadholding, neutral direction changes and frankly remarkable coolness for a big saloon. However you do feel the weight moving around but that’s true of any big sports saloon.


Well I know what you’re thinking. As cool as this is, how does it stack up against the new BMW M5? Well I’ve drive that too, but I’ve not had the chance to compare these two back to back. I can tell you that M5 is awesome and has moved the game on once again. It’s got 50 more horsepower than the XFR and gets to 100kph six-tenths quicker. It’s got way more modes (if you’re into setting up your car) and more generous electronic aids when it comes to keeping things a little loose.

The M5 has improved greatly looks-wise too (though it’s still not quite as handsome as a XFR) – still you’d think there’d be no need to do a comparison as the Beemer would easily take it. Err… well it might be better, but is it AED200,000 better?

Hey? Oh yeah: XFR price – AED409,000; BMW M5 price – 615,000. Hmm…

Jaguar XFR
Price: AED409,000 ($111,150)
Engine: 5000cc Supercharged V8, 510bhp @ 6000-6500rpm, 461lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm
Performance: 4.9secs 0-100kph, 250kph, 12.6L/100
Transmission: six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1891kg

Shahzad’s verdict: Charming, potent and lethal all at once

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