When: June 2011
Where: Faro, Portugal
What: 2012 Jaguar XFR
Occasion: International test drive
Overall rating: 5/5
Thankfully, Jaguar realised that there was little wrong with the XFR. Hence the updates that make up the 2012 version are mostly cosmetic. The facelifted XF adopts the contemporary appearance of the XJ, while the XFR takes it a step further.
Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol
Transmission: six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door saloon
Rivals: Audi RS 6, BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG
CO2 emissions: 292g/km (Band G, €2,100 per annum)
Combined economy: 12.5 litres/100km (22.5mpg)
Top speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 4.9 seconds
Power: 510hp at 6,000 - 6,500rpm
Torque: 625Nm at 2,500 - 5,500rpm
In the metal 4/5
While the swooping profile of the XF is retained for the 2012 model, both ends have been revisited by Jaguar's stylists. The XFR model looks particularly good, thanks to a deep front bumper, dark grille mesh and a bonnet featuring a power bulge and vents. The 20-inch alloys are new too, offset by sportier side sills. At the back, refreshed lights are complemented by the redesigned bumper incorporating a diffuser.
Inside, the sports seats provide more support, while the steering wheel, ventilation controls and infotainment system have all received attention.
Driving it 5/5
As before, the Jaguar XFR excels at covering ground rapidly. It can do that with minimal input from the driver, but if you so wish it's possible to get more involved in the experience. Turn the rotary gear selector to S for Sport, change gears for yourself via the steering wheel mounted paddles and press the button for Dynamic mode and the XFR really comes alive. Less power assistance is added to the steering and the throttle response and gearshifts sharpen up. The quick-witted traction control system maintains a tight fist on the car's slip angles unless you hold the DSC button down for what seems an age...
Even in its most extreme settings the XFR rides with composure. That's thanks to the sophisticated adaptive damping system. You'll be glad of that if you're using all of the engine's performance. A supercharger helps the 5.0-litre V8 produce an impressive 510hp at the top end, with 625Nm of torque on tap between 2,500- and 5,500rpm. It never feels flat-footed basically, which adds to the effortless demeanour.
On top of all that, the chassis is supremely composed, whether you're braking from high speed or attacking a sweeping road. It's an accomplished car.
What you get for your money 4/5
Jaguar has a welcome habit of loading kit into its cars, especially the range-toppers. Included in the price of the XFR is touch-screen satnav and hard-drive based infotainment; dual-zone climate control; a full leather interior including electrically adjusted and heated sports seats; and cruise control.
One of Jaguar's areas of focus on the new XF was noise suppression. While you'll want to hear the V8 engine, wind roar is less welcome. Hence the 2012 model features new sound deadening material and redesigned wing mirrors in a bid to up refinement.
We liked the Jaguar XFR saloon just how it was. Yet the updates that make the new car a 2012 model somehow add desirability. The new face is particularly successful, while detail enhancements elsewhere only add to the car's appeal. Any chance of an XFR-S Jaguar?