• Jun 9, 2010
2010 Jaguar XFR – click above for high-res image gallery

When our man Lieberman drove the 2010 Jaguar XF Supercharged earlier this year, he came to the conclusion that of all the models in the XF range, the mid-grade Supercharged with its 470-horsepower V8 was the one to have, if you're buying. After all, at a relatively modest $68,000, it's a sexy sleeper with enough high-powered thrills to keep you happy while still being everyday-drivable and easily tamed. We wholeheartedly agree with our dear Jonny in this conclusion, and if we had never experienced this top-rung XFR, we'd be perfectly thrilled with our purchase.

But we have driven the XFR – once in France and now again in America – and asking us to overlook either experience when considering the XF range simply isn't going to happen. The R makes too much of an impression.

Yes, the Supercharged may be the "just right" Goldilocks model in the XF lineup, but the XFR is Papa Bear. That 'R' badge will cost you an extra $12,000, which is undoubtedly a hefty sum to pay when you consider that it only produces 40 more horsepower than the Supercharged. Thus, it's easy to write off the XFR as unnecessary or overzealous, but its sharper set of chops are able to handle so much more than lukewarm porridge. This car is a real honey, finances be damned! Follow the jump to find out why.



Photos by Steven J. Ewing / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Before you even begin to think about the 510 raging stallions under the hood, the XFR will impress with its top-notch styling. Jaguar has really come into its own again over the past few years, and its full range is one of the most attractive on the market. The XF design, introduced in 2008, is aging quite nicely, and the subtle tweaks given to the R further enhance the strong emphasis on sex appeal.

Sure, the XF Supercharged is more of a sleeper, but the XFR has a more powerful stance and looks the part of a high-caliber sport sedan. We're very fond of the large air intakes that flank either side of the front fascia, and who can resist drooling over the XFR-only air intakes on the hood lined with "supercharged" text. The other visual upgrades like handsome 20-inch wheels, bespoke side skirts and a sharp lip spoiler blend well with the XF's design, and if you had never seen the base car before, you'd think that all XFs looked this way. It's that natural, and not nearly as brash as a BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, both of which simply scream, "No, officer, I don't know how fast I was going."



A similar theme of elegance has graced the cabin, which is quite stunning, especially in our test car's London Tan and Graphite two-tone attire. The sport buckets up front are incredibly comfortable, and because they can be adjusted 18 different ways, they can be contoured to mold just about any driver's shape. Overall fit and finish is good, if predictable for an $80,000 chariot, and the simplistic, understated appearance of the dash and controls goes a long way in not over-complicating the cockpit. The XF's funny turnstyle gear selector and air vents that open and close when the car is turned on and off are a neat parlor trick and never fail to impress passengers, but we still can't help but wonder what sort of problems could arise down the road. Motors do malfunction, after all.

All XFRs come standard with dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled seats, a premium Bowers & Wilkins audio system with HD radio, satellite navigation and an in-dash six-disc CD changer, among other luxurious staples. The touch-screen interface is relatively intuitive to use, but the response time for changing between screens and functions takes longer than we'd like. The same goes for the CD mechanism and shuttling between satellite radio stations. It might seem like a nitpicky quaff, but we just can't help but feel annoyed when it takes a few minutes just to empty the changer. (We're journalists – we had to find something to complain about.)



One area where we have no complaint, however, is the powertrain. Jaguar's latest 5.0-liter V8 with direct injection and supercharged boost is, in a word, brilliant, especially when it's free to crank out all 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque in XFR guise. The overall acceleration feels more urgent than in the high-revving BMW M5, and the fat torque curve complimented by the faint whine of the supercharger makes you eager to stomp on the go-pedal. But while some cars with 500-plus horsepower can often be tedious to drive around town, this kitty can be easily tamed when slumming through heavy traffic. This isn't to say that the throttle is lazy at initial tip-in, though. The accelerator is easy to modulate, and if we're honest, we really enjoy the feeling of putting more weight down on our right foot when the tap really starts to open up.

Even in standard Drive mode, the six-speed automatic transmission swaps cogs quickly and is willing to immediately downshift when asked, but moving the shift knob over to Sport heightens the experience. In its more enthusiastic drive setting, the transmission is more willing to hold gears all the way up to redline, and if you opt to use the steering wheel-mounted paddles (and you most certainly should), you'll be pleasantly surprised with how quick the response time is from paddle tap to gear change. In most instances, it's dual-clutch quick, and that's deeply impressive.



Out on the open road, the XFR is extremely sure-footed and nimble for tight cornering. JaguarDrive Control, which monitors the steering, brake and throttle inputs, adjusts the dampening 100 times per second, allowing the R to remain composed at all times. Turn off the traction control, and the rear wheels can bite you back when pushed cavalierly, but it's all in good fun. You can really work the XFR harder than you'd think, and it doesn't whine or feel sloppy as you inch closer to its limits. The steering inspires even more driver confidence – it's neither numb nor heavy, but provides enough feedback to ensure that sudden inputs are properly managed without issue.

Serious track day enthusiasts will still probably prefer an M5, but there's no doubt that the Jaguar can most certainly keep pace. Our only want is for a more audible exhaust note, though the uncanny cabin quietness is mostly attributed to the design of lesser, naturally aspirated XF models that need to serve the purpose of a luxury car first and a driver's machine second.




In all, the XFR's dynamics are seriously competitive against its German rivals. Comparisons to America's Cadillac CTS-V are warranted, especially if you consider that the Caddy is both cheaper and quicker, and will more than likely pull off better lap times around a track. But when it comes time to drive home at the end of the day, the Jaguar gets our pick each and every time. It's more refined than the offerings from Benz and BMW, and feels substantially more luxurious and higher-quality than the CTS-V.

In all of this praise, though, the one fact we can't forget about is the price. $80,000 honestly isn't that big of a purse for a car like this, considering that it houses one of the best V8s in the world and will do the same work as your Bimmer or Merc in a more chic package. But then there's that XF Supercharged again, with nearly the same amount of refinement and high-power thrills that will keep you happy all day long, all for $12K less. Don't get us wrong, we absolutely adore the XFR, and have no doubt that Papa Bear could have easily ripped Goldilocks to shreds if she had been caught during her breaking and entering escapade; but the safer XF Supercharged isn't too hot, isn't too cold, and is indeed, "just right." Ah, hell. Who cares if we burn our tongues?



Photos by Steven J. Ewing / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really love this car, it's totally understated while still looking pretty badass from the front. But I think it could do without the silly air intakes on the hood with the "supercharged" text. Even though they are functional, it seems a little garish on an otherwise inconspicuous super-sedan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Iv'e been car looking lately, but just looking, that's what I keep telling myself....the local Jag dealer was one I stopped at just to look, along with the BMW guys.. Jag had several on the lot... a 2009 premium luxury at $59,950 and a 2010 supercharged at $68,000. Both had a 2 page options list and with $30k down the monthly on the supercharged was only $681 a month...but for 5 years. I never kept any car that long or would.

      Iv'e been waiting to see what Mazda does on the rotary, and the last thing I read is that an RX7 Asia only is where they are going in 2012/2013.

      It's hard to be patient when the itch hits. I just did a 5961 mile trip in the RX8 and got a lot of favorable comments on it in the hinterlands, it's kind of rare there I guess. The car ran flawlessly, 26/28 mpg, it used about a cup of oil which I wondered about. My granddaughter wants it but I don't think she would take the time or have the money to keep it up.

      This review mentioned the Caddy CTS-V, the CTS alone is a damn nice car...so many cars so little time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      DAD!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gotta say, the XF line is my favorite on the market. Truly gorgeous. Every time I see one, I just can't help staring. I have to say that once you hit this level of car, the differences between the competition is purely subjective. To hear people deriding one over the other because of a difference in handling or lap time capability is ludicrous.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Best looking car in Jag's lineup. I can't believe they screwed up the XJ's looks (entire back end) so badly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Still have my XKE...'68... (not for-sale)...my first... and will buy this beauty... this one is a very different " look " I like it alot and it is also a great feeling car, ...I sold my 2008 ... already ... no problem... I have always taken care of my cars and have had all types of them from every 2 to 3 years, never did the trade-in thing. People mostly look at the car & the milage. Book always comes with it and the dealer who originally sold it to me. They always are happy. Some even ask when I will be selling my next one. But, this Jag
      looks like a real WINNER....
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you can afford a S/C XF, $12K is drop in the bucket.

      It more of if you want a comfy ride or a performance ride.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sure when you option out the S/C version with all the equipment that is standard on the R, that number is a lot smaller.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd buy it over an M5 (looking old) or an S6 (boring, snoooze) in a heartbeat. Not sure about the E63 though, that'd be a tough choice.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem with those comparisons are (as this review fails to mention), that the M5 and expecially the S6 have a LOT more interior space. The XF is smaller in every dimension than an Audi A4
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is such a gorgeous car and I love the look of the newer Jaguars. If I was rich this would be my high-end luxury choice. This car is actually a bargain, it looks like a $100,000+ car but it even fully loaded you still can come in under 100 grand (I've already been playing around on the Jag site).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awesome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gorgeous looking.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Absolutely gorgeous interior! Can you option out of the nav screen though? Just asking. I truly do love the interior and little touches like the pulsating light begging you to push start. The leather looks great as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think SimpleFood, SimpleMovie, and SimpleFamily all make very good points....see how annoying it is?

        This car was designed for a demographic of people where the vast majority will find great value in that Nav screen and all that comes with it.

        It's 2010; not 1910. The world has changed and life isn't so 'simple' any more.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes it's ok for us but not ok for you because we don't go to every car with a navigation screen and say the same complaint about it. They're not changing it for one person you know so stfu already and also nobody on this website cares what you say on every post.
        • 4 Years Ago
        SimpleCar: give it up. Please. We heard the first time. We heard you the 10,000th time. You don't have to repeat yourself in each and every car review. It's more than tiresome.

        Do you know the definition of a bore?
        • 4 Years Ago
        So let me get this straight. Its ok for you to say what you like about the car and say what you don't like, but not ok for me.

        And I guess when your paying this much for a car you can't customize it from the factory. That sux. I guess that's why people pay for things like bentley so they can customize everything from the nav screen to the wood. If they don't want it in the car they have it removed or vice versa.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He's talking about the fact that you want to decontent EVERY car that's reviewed on the site. You don't want things in your car...we get it. Stop commenting on it. You're worse that Luis and Matt (that hates Ford).
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Happy Father's Day from your firstborn son, Dad! You're the best daddy in the whole world! Just one thing though....maybe we can do away with my little sister...."
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Jared

        Wtf are you talking about?
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