By contributing editor David Colman
- Prodigious acceleration
- Effectiveness of Dynamic Mode system
- Low 57.5 inch roof height
- Non-adjustable rear seats
The XFR is the antidote to a line of Jaguar XJ6 and 12 sedans that were designed in the Sixties, vibrant in the Seventies, and calcified by the Eighties. If you’re looking for veddy British chops and ale appeal, you’ll have to look elsewhere, to Bentley or Rolls Royce, for rainforest decimation interior paneling. This R type Jag is all business inside, aluminum-trimmed, driver grade business that is, with nothing woodsy to distract the operator from the art of driving rapidly. After all, when you’re trying to concentrate on harnessing 510 horsepower to do your bidding, you need to make instant decisions about steering wheel position, throttle angle, and gear choice. This 6-speed, paddle-shifted Jaguar will ably assist you in that pursuit. You can select “S” on the shift knob to make upshifts at redline and rev-match downshifts.
If you depress the handily accessible checkered flag button on the center console, you’ll trigger “Dynamic Mode” for your driving experience. This simple step optimizes steering acumen, throttle response and traction control to meld harmoniously into a state of red alert that maximizes driver involvement. Specifically, the Dynamic Mode automatically selects a special traction setting called TracDSC for optimum traction in difficult conditions. When you’re spinning the big cat’s 9.5 x 20 inch Nevis alloys, and igniting its beefy Dunlop 285/30ZR20 SP Sport Maxx tires, you’ll definitely need as much TracDSC assist as you can get.
The beauty of this R package lies in its subtlety. Inside, all 4 seating positions bear headrest “R” logos, but they’re so discrete as to be barely noticeable, thanks to tone on tone graphics. There’s a small “supercharged” moniker on the face of the 180mph speedometer, and a couple of supercharged embossments in the hood mounted air vents. Even the wheels testify inconspicuously to this machine’s special status, with “Supercharged Jaguar” lettering sunken into the circumference of the Nevis alloy hubs. But the “R” pageantry is so muted and skillfully incorporated into the XF’s overall design that no one will shy away from ownership due to brazen braggadocio.
In keeping with its stealth appearance, the XFR is perfectly capable of passing itself off as just another luxury sedan when bidden to do so. You don’t have to drive at full tilt to derive pleasure and benefit from this vehicle. There’s 17 cubic feet of space available in the trunk, so a long trip for 4 is definitely on. It can even be a ski trip, because the rear, foldable center arm rest converts into a ski sack if needed.
On the open highway, the XFR returns over 20 MPG, so a full run on the 18.4 gallon tank will net you close to 350 miles before refill time. The Jag’s low fuel warning light illuminates when you’ve still got 1.5 gallons left to burn. Bowers & Wilkins, the company which sponsored the pole sitting car at Indy this year, makes the XFR’s 14 crystalline speakers. The entertainment system puts out 440 watts, provides Sirius and HD radio, and reads through a 7 inch dash screen that also controls the DVD-based, voice-activated, navigation system. One of the niftiest features of the cross-hatched aluminum dash console is its set of 4 AC/heat vent covers which slide open whenever you activate the HVAC system. After all, you can’t sell an $80,000 car without at least one good parlor trick.
2011 JAGUAR XFR
- ENGINE: 5.0 liter, 32 valve DOHC V8, supercharged
- HORSEPOWER: 510 @ 6,000rpm
- TORQUE: 461 lb.-ft. @ 2,500rpm
- TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
- 0 – 60 TIME: 4.7 seconds
- FUEL CONSUMPTION: 15 City MPG/21 Highway MPG
- PRICE AS TESTED: $80.475