Earlier in the year, I was happy to read that Jaguar made some improvements to its infotainment interface for 2012. According to Jaguar's web site, one of the changes was the addition of dedicated buttons on the console to make it quicker and easier to access a few functions that previously required several screen selections or were totally buried in the system. It shortens the distraction time for some but unfortunately, it's still a bit wonky. For example, if you choose to use the touch-screen to navigate to adjust the seat heaters, you will also be able to turn on the heated steering wheel from the same screen. If you push the new button on the dash instead, an entirely different screen comes up that only allows you to adjust the heated seats. Very frustrating. The changes definitely are a step in the right direction but they also create problems of their own.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
Every time I drive a Jaguar XF, I like it a little bit more. I actually started out loving this car -- and I still do. My only reservations stem from witnessing our tortured Four Seasons test. That was a low point, but now, every time I drive a Jaguar without experiencing a check engine light, a frozen touch screen, or a grenaded differential, I like the car a little bit more. Having just spent a faultless night with a 510-hp Jaguar XFR, my opinion of this car is favorable.
Beyond the big power, the brilliant chassis, and the excellent steering, I like that Jaguar doesn't burden the driver with three different suspension settings or selectable steering effort or a switchable exhaust. Instead, a single dynamic mode button stiffens the dampers and tightens up the active rear differential -- not that you need it. This is an unapologetic sport sedan that is always poised to tackle a set of curves or leap off the line. The only serious shortcoming these days is the touch-screen infotainment system that is slow to respond to taps and touches.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
For 2012, the XF saw some exterior design changes, which is most obvious when you look at the front of the car, where the old sheetmetal bulge over the headlights is gone in favor of a more streamlined headlight design. You can also tell from the outside (without looking at the "R" badge) that this is an XFR by its black mesh grille and lower air intakes plus its quad exhausts. I particularly like the wheels on this car, which are part of the $1500 Black Pack options package that also includes gloss black window and grille surrounds, a trunk spoiler, and red brake calipers. It all makes for a very attractive vehicle that signals its performance bona fides but still manages to look elegant and sophisticated.
Jaguar interiors are hard to beat, and the interior in this XFR is no exception. I love the combination of the mesh aluminum, leather, and piano black accents, which is unmistakably modern. The suede headliner feels great and makes you feel like you're cocooned in luxury. The round gear selector knob that rises from the center console and the air vents that pop open when the ignition button is touched are nice Jaguar touches that let you know you're not in a cookie-cutter car.
My commute didn't really give me the chance to explore the capabilities of the excellent 510-hp supercharged V-8 under the hood of the XFR, which is a shame but still doesn't diminish the fact that driving this car is a pure delight. It is fast and agile, and the braking, steering, and chassis feel like they're all working together to do exactly what you want.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
The Jaguar XFR has been on the market for a while, but you don't have to look back much into automotive history to see how far Jaguar's sportiest sedan has come. The XF's predecessor, the S-type, was offered in a version called the S-type R that distinctly lagged its sporty competitors from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi in styling, capability, and desirability. Not so for the XFR, which can hold its head high against today's BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. This is a world-class sport sedan that bristles with performance while remaining a true luxury car. And as Amy points out, it looks sensational, especially with these optional twenty-inch wheels. Hands down, Jaguar does the best wheels, consistently, of any luxury carmaker.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor