Jaguar XF/XFR | This cat has claws.
By Eric Tingwall
As a brand-new car, the 2009 Jaguar XF earned an All-Star award for its balance of power, athleticism, and refinement. So when the XF received significant improvements for 2010, we naturally had to reward Jaguar for making a good thing even better. Within fifteen months of launching the car, Jaguar had three new V-8 engines for the XF lineup, all displacing 5.0 liters and injecting fuel directly into the cylinders. In the XF, the new engines make 385 and 470 hp, while the most significant addition is a 510-hp, supercharged version for the new XFR performance model.
Although no one ever complained about a lack of power in our 420-hp Four Seasons 2009 XF Supercharged, the blazing fast XFR is easily our favorite cat. Stiffer springs and active dampers conspire to firm up the handling without damaging the ride quality. With stability control disabled, the XFR is happy to slide its rear end around corners in response to calculated throttle inputs. Even better, no matter how juvenile the driver, the Jag always transitions to oversteer with a predictable, controlled grace. At the track, the XFR's compliant chassis and quick, positive-feel steering mask the car's heft and inspire you to drive the 4306-pound sedan like a small sport coupe.
Inside, Jaguar brings a wholly modern style to the cabin yet doesn't abandon elegance. The aluminum and dark wood accents in the XFR are softened by rich two-tone leather seats and contrasting stitching along the doors and the dash. Although the seats could use a bit more bolstering for hard driving, the cockpit is otherwise perfectly matched to the XFR's bipolar proficiency of being both a sports car and a luxury touring sedan. It's that uncompromising practicality and refreshed performance that establish the Jaguar XF, in all its permutations, as an All-Star.
Base price range: $52,000-$80,000
Engines: 4.2L V-8, 300 hp, 303 lb-ft; 5.0L V-8, 385 hp, 380 lb-ft; 5.0L supercharged V-8, 470/510 hp, 424/461 lb-ft