This is one special kitty. The moment you take a seat behind the wheel, it is obvious that the old-world charm and attention to detail of classic Jaguars is still alive and well in 2011. The starter button glows red, pulsating like a heartbeat, and the interior comes to life in tandem with the growl of the 5.0-liter V-8 — vents rotating, gauge needles sweeping, and rotary shift knob rising in a perfectly choreographed ballet. Twist the knob to “D” and pull away reveling in the delicious burble that the four-pipe exhaust emits. Hit the turn signal, and the blinker sounds similar to a finely-crafted English clock, ticking the time until you can make the turn and listen again to the sonorous V-8. All of the lighting coordinates together: the crisp blue-white of the xenon headlamps complements the ice-blue interior LEDs, the same blue used as an accent color on the multifunction touch screen. The XFR bathes its passengers in luxury and in the finesse found only in something very special; it is a precious item you never want to let go.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
As soon as you walk up to the Jaguar XFR you know this isn’t a run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) XF. The air intake scoops in the hood and the red brake calipers, along with the twenty-inch wheels and various “R” badges, all signify that this is a car with serious performance potential.
The inside is absolutely sumptuous, with two-tone brown and black leather seats with French stitching, a dark mesh aluminum dash with dark wood veneer, a lovely soft-touch suede headliner, and a roomy rear seat. As with all modern Jaguars, the round gear selector dial pops up when you hit the start button, and the air vents open automatically. Suffice it to say that the interior of this car caters to the sybarites among us.
The real story with the XFR, though, is its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. I’ll take Jaguar’s word for it that it’ll reach 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph, because I didn’t have the chance to explore its limits. However, the XFR is also a great car to drive on the highway or even around town. The engine responds immediately to the driver’s right foot, with peak torque available from 2500 rpm. This car has what Jaguar calls an “adaptive dynamic system,” which continually adjusts the suspension to respond to the roads you’re traveling on and the way that you drive, and I must say it appears to work beautifully as the ride never feels too harsh or too floaty.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Compliant and docile, yet spirited and nimble, the Jaguar XFR is the best of both worlds. It is comfortable luxury and capable performance and it’s the perfect work-week commuter for the perpetual ladder-climber. I love the quick, light, and connected steering. I love the unrelenting 510-hp V-8. I love the svelte, stately looks. But what really makes the XFR so unique is the chassis tuning. Equally at home on the highway and the racetrack, this XFR plays both sides of the luxury sport-sedan game better than anything else on the market. As fabulous as the 2011 XFR is, things get even better for 2012 when the entire XF lineup receives a facelift. Along with simpler, sleeker headlights, there’s a cleaner fascia, but really that’s just icing on the cake for a car that’s already this good.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
Damn, this is one hot car. The XF is a two-time Automobile Magazine All-Star award winner (2009 and 2010), and I never bore of driving one of these lovely mid-size Jags. And when we’re discussing the 510-hp XFR? Please. Get the heck out of my way, I have a gas pedal to stomp on.
I don’t actually like the XFR very much in this white paint; the super-dark wheels and two-tone leather interior nicely ease the impact of the white exterior, though. Love the sounds. Love the feel. Love the presence.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The XFR’s appearance understates what the car is actually capable of. It’s a beautifully refined car with all the details and tailoring you would expect from Jag. The wheels, brakes, and “R” badges give you a hint, but you would never know the performance that this car has the capacity to deliver until you drive the car yourself.
This is the second Jag I’ve driven since being at Automobile, the first a sporty XK. The XFR being a sport sedan, though, you have room for four. Thus I picked up three friends, headed out to dinner at the Gandy Dancer, then dessert at the Dairy Queen, and finally to the movies to see the Green Lantern. We should have skipped dinner and just done DQ. The valet was more interested that I was from New Jersey than in the car itself. Parked at the DQ, we had quite a different experience as the car drew plenty of attention from onlookers slurping creamy treats.
Funny thing when you try to enter the freeway heading eastbound from Jackson Road in Ann Arbor. The entrance ramp is more or less a very tight 90-degree turn, causing you to slow to a snail’s pace. MDOT has added a merge lane here due to the slow-moving cars entering from this corner. This is where the XFR pounced like its icon. Exiting the corner the car achieved excessive speed so effortlessly and smoothly I’d not realized exactly how fast I was going and had to pull it back within the legal limits. The 510 hp comes at you seamlessly.
My takeaways are the following: This car outclasses and outperforms any version of the BMW 5-Series that I’ve been in. It hurts to write those words, as I love me a good BMW. The sounds it makes is music to the ears. It is expensive as hell at the dealer and at the gas pump. It’s one thirsty cat. The trim materials were carefully chosen for visual and tactile pleasure. Loved the seats. Be warned: if the gear shifter sits in the hot sun with car off for any length of time — it can be searingly hot to the touch.
Kelly Murphy, Creative Director
Of the few complaints I had about our Four Seasons Jaguar XF Supercharged, I’m fairly certain a lack of power wasn’t one. Still, someone in Coventry apparently felt the need to pack a few more ponies under the hood. The revised XF Supercharged with the direct-injected, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 now cranks out a virile 470 hp, the same engine in R guise is rated at a whopping 510 hp.
Jaguar says that’s enough to rocket this cat from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. I didn’t time it, but I believe it just from my commute home. Someone had left the car in dynamic mode, which quickens the throttle response, turning the accelerator pedal into a hair trigger. I thought I was applying light pressure to the go pedal, yet I looked down to find myself running about 10 mph over the speed limit. Honest, officer, I didn’t mean to — it’s just that the power comes on so quickly, so smoothly, and so naturally.
The power, impeccable chassis tuning, and artful interior win me over, but I’m still not sold on the XFR itself, especially when Jaguar still sells an equally fun and equally fast (if slightly less powerful) XF Supercharged in our market. Are you really trying to tell me that 470 hp isn’t enough in a car that tips the scales at 4300 pounds, and that shaving a tenth of a second or so off a 0-60 or quarter-mile time is really worth an extra $12,000? I sure don’t think so.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
2011 Jaguar XFR
Base price (with destination): $80,475
Price as tested: $81,975
510-hp 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles
Adaptive dynamics and dynamic stability control
Active differential control
JaguarDrive winter & dynamic modes
XFR aero performance design
20-in. Nevis wheels
Active head restraints
Anti-theft engine immobilizer
Driver and passenger front and side airbags
Tire pressure monitoring system
Latch restraint anchor points
Remote security system
Side curtain airbags
Smartkey keyless entry and start
18×14 Heated and cooled front sport seats
Unique R softgrain leather interior
Xenon Headlamps & blind spot monitor
B&W 440watt, 6CD, HD radio, SIRIUS satellite radio
Portable audio connectivity
Options on this vehicle:
Black pack — $1500
20-in. Draco dark grey wheels
Gloss black window surrounds
Red brake calipers
Key options not on vehicle:
Adaptive cruise control — $2300
R performance red brake calipers — $450
Heated windshield w/timer — $375
15 / 21 / 17 mpg
Horsepower: 510 hp @ 6000-6500 rpm
Torque: 461 lb-ft @ 2500-5500 rpm
Curb weight: 4306 lb
Wheels/tires: 20-in. aluminum wheels
255/35R20 front, 285/30R20 rear