First Look: 2014 Jaguar XFR-S

Jaguar already produces the bonkers XKR-S Coupe and Convertible, and we love them for it. However, not all Anglophile enthusiasts want to give up the utility of a sedan, and the XFR just isn't ludicrous enough. Enter the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S - the 550-hp XKR-S wrapped in a sultry and sensible sedan body.

More Power, More Performance

What mainly sets the R-S apart from the lesser R sedan is power. The two cars use the same 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine, but adding that extra "S" nets an additional 40 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque for a total of 550 hp and 502 lb-ft. The additional thrust comes from changes in the ECU and revised intake and exhaust flow. The new exhaust system includes an X-piece muffler and straight-through pipes, which channel induction noise directly into the cabin. To help aid the increased performance, the Roots-type twin-vortex supercharger is fed by two intercoolers, each with its own water-cooling unit.

To handle the uprated horsepower and torque numbers, Jaguar has also upgraded the suspension. Front suspension knuckles have been swapped out for those from the XKR-S for increased camber and castor stiffness and there are also new wheel bearings. Around back is a new sub-frame with new rear knuckles and revised suspension geometry. Overall stiffness has been upped by 30 percent.

Also new is a revised eight-speed automatic transmission. Not only will the eight-speed automatically blip the throttle on downshifts, it will also hold a gear if the engine computer detects when the car is in a corner or doing a series of passing maneuvers. Jaguar also says that transmission is adaptive - if it detects more enthusiastic driving, it will hold onto gears longer and automatically snap off shifts more aggressively. For those worried about the environment as well as their enjoyment, the XFR-S comes standard with auto start/stop, and is estimated to have an EPA rating of 15/23 mpg city/highway, the same as the XFR.

Of course, the added output means better performance numbers, too. The XFR-S shaves 0.3 seconds off the XFR's 0 to 60 mph time (4.4 versus 4.7) and raises the sedan's top speed to 186 mph from 155. To help the rear wheels find traction are a set of 20-inch Pirelli tires measuring 265/35R20 in the front and 295/30R20 in back, which have been developed specifically for the XFR-S. The high-performance rubber is wrapped around new six-spoke light-weight, forged alloys that are wider but not heavier than the XFR's wheels.

When the explosive forward motion needs to come to an end, there are new brakes which have been enlarged to 14.96 and 14.80 inches front and rear, respectively. For better track-day stopping power, the brakes are internally vented. If the driving experience of the XFR-S is anything like that of the XKR-S, owners will be in for a combination of rocket-launcher-like acceleration, well-tuned neutral handling, and an addictive exhaust that will leave both the driver and the exhaust pipes cackling.

Aesthetic Upgrades

The designers in Coventry have also added numerous cosmetic and functional aesthetic changes. There is a new front bumper with larger air intakes, extended side sills, aero blade moldings, an extended rear bumper with a larger diffuser, and a duo of new trunk spoilers. The larger of the two spoilers (pictured here) has a carbon fiber center; carbon fiber is also used for the rear diffuser and front intake surround. Jaguar has replaced all of the chrome trim normally found on the XF with gloss black on the R-S. Just five exterior colors will be available: French Racing Blue (pictured), Ultimate Black, Stratus Gray, Polaris White, and Racing Red.

Inside, the cabin has seen a raft of upgrades as well. Carbon leather has been added to the seat bolsters, backrests, and arm bolsters and the entire Warm Charcoal interior is accented with color-contrast stitching and micro piping matching the exterior color. Standard is an 825-watt, 18-speaker Meridian sound system.

British Flavor in a German Segment

The XFR-S' main competition comes in the form of the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. For the most part, the Jag falls between the two Germans: it has more horsepower than the Mercedes, but less than the BMW; more torque than the BMW, but less than the Mercedes; and better gas mileage than the BMW, but worse than the Mercedes. It is, however, slower than either of the Germans - while the XFR-S makes the run from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, the M5 and E63 do it in 4.3 and 4.2 seconds, respectively.

Then there's the question of price - the Jaguar has a higher starting price than either the BMW or the Mercedes-Benz at $99,875, including destination. (The M5 starts at $92,905 and the E63 at $90,705.) But there are two catches: one is that Jaguar will offer few options on the XFR-S, while the Germans can be priced up well into the six-figure realm. The other catch is that, unlike the special-order BMW and Mercedes, Jaguar provide just 100 XFR-S sedans for U.S. consumption. If you want one, you better act quickly then; the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S goes on sale at the start of next summer.

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