2014 Jaguar XFR-S – First Drive


With six new sports models in its line-up, Jaguar is set on making a big dent inside the high-performance niche for 2014. So just a few months after experiencing and enjoying the F-Type V8 S (EC 9/13), we’re back testing the XFR-S super-sedan within the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps less exotic than the F-Type, the XFR-S is all business, clawing at the heels of your BMW M5 and AMG E63, looking to attract younger, more enthusiastic buyers to the British brand.

Everbody knows, we’re fans of the “regular” XFR model and you can look at the third installment in our on-going XFR project build elsewhere in this issue. We got our 2012 XFR just as the XFR-S was announced, so were anxious to see how the factory approached a similar task of makingSeems like as if no stones were left unturned, with the Jaguar engineers attacking every aspect from engine power to chassis, cosmetics and interior trim, creating a desirable package that can start at $99000 when sales begin later this summer, with numbers limited by just 100 in its first year.

The familiar 5.0L V8 gets an additional 40hp and 41 lb-ft over the XFR, making the 550hp XFR-S one of the more powerful sedans money can buy.

The excess urge comes from new exhaust, software and intake, but we also suspect it has a smaller supercharger pulley to increase boost. The exhaust replaces the central muffler by having an X-pipe and straight-through rear pipes that create a wonderful engine note at full throttle, providing some pop and crackle if you lift off. This is matched to more induction sound when you get in the throttle on account of theAs a result, the supercharged 5.0L V8 doesn’t contain the flat torque curve synonymous with Root-type blowers. In our experience, it was a lot more like a medium-sized turbo, giving massive mid-range torque along with a peakier delivery than Jaguar’s numbers would suggest.

Press the throttle and the Jag lunges forward, climbing rapidly to its 502 lb-ft peak torque figure at 4000rpm, squeezing the air out of your lungs like an affectionate Boa Constrictor, even at our 5000ft altitude.

The ferocious engine was mated to the ZF eight-speed automatic with Quickshift technology to exploit the revised throttle mapping which enables the car so responsive. The transmission will discover your habits and keep the automobile in-gear whether it senses you’re mid-corner as a result of Jaguar’s Corner Intelligent and Recognition Torque Management.

The ZF probably isn’t as capable as BMW’s M-DCT transmission, but purists can make gears together with the large paddle shifters once they choose, enjoying throttle blips on downshifts, as a full auto.

The drivetrain gets uprated half shafts along with a new torque converter in addition tois defined to the ground through 295/30 R20 Pirelli rear tires, which offer copious numbers of grip, allowing the XFR-S to sprint to 60mph in a claimed 4.4sec. In fact, the 20 Varuna wheels are wider by .5 front and 1 rear in comparison to the regular XFR to increase mechanical track and grip width. Having said that, we struggled to get the power down in first gear, yet wouldn’t be surprised to view over 120mph trap speed in the quarter-mile at sea level once it hooks up.

Our drive included a five-hour trek around Mount Rainier. During that time it became apparent that the XFR-S makes a few compromises to reach its stellar performance. The first was that although the steering feels precise and alive, the XFR-sized brakes were somewhat touchy out and about.

The car also exhibited a chassis stiffness we weren’t prepared for within a Jag. Though it has 13 separate inputs to ensure the reprogrammed adaptive dampers can be adjusted up to 500 times per second for optimal ride handling and quality, it may still be best known asabout the Nürburgring (among other places), it’s very composed on smooth surfaces but on the firm side everywhere else. It’s a trade-off we’d be ready to take, considering its performance ability, but traditional Jaguar owners could need time to acclimate.

Jaguar claims the suspension is 30% stiffer in comparison to the XFR, and over 100 percent stiffer than a base-model XF 3.. And sitting on its low profile 20 Pirellis, the XFR-S definitely feels more purposeful and communicative.

Should a smooth road make you forget what you’re driving, the big rear wing in the rearview mirror will quickly remind you. The deeper front bumper looked tremendous, especially trimmed in carbon fiber around its central intake, though fortunately, it’s optional equipment then one we might forego.

The rear wing is similarly carbon in its center, together with the material finding its way onto the rear diffuser, engine cover and there’s carbon-effect leather trim inside. All remaining brightwork is finished in gloss black.

2014 jaguar XFR S front bumper

2014 jaguar XFR S rear fascia

2014 jaguar XFR S front fascia

The car also gets new side skirts and a deeper rear bumper, with everything contributing to a reduction in aerodynamic lift of 68% – a tremendous improvement.

We’d personally select the smaller rear wing and steer clear of the French Racing Blue in support of either Stratus Gray or Polaris White. The car is additionally available in Ultimate Black and Italian Racing Red, while the wheels might be ordered with grey detailing rather than black.

In addition to the leather trim, the seats get contrast stitching and piping that can be specified to match the paint. The seats are embossed with all the R-S logo, while the dash receives Dark Mesh aluminum trim.

Using its popping exhaust, extrovert exterior and dynamic performance, the XFR-S is without a doubt designed to appeal to a different owner than the normal XF. It is a sedan with balls and it’s fun to drive. On the racetrack, by way of example, the extra stability, firmer suspension, sharp brakes and wide 265/35 front tires allowed great turn-in, good cornering grip and impressive braking. In short, the XFR-S is a bit of a hooligan and, while it would be an enjoyable commuter, it will also make a great weekend toy.

We’d happily take into account the Jaguar XFR-S as a daily driver in the event it goes on sale this summer, before we’d have the final decision, we’d want to first check out the new XJR. Excuse us while we switch cars… (Turn the pages to find our XJR review.)