With the XE now out in the open, Jaguar can begin to focus on what comes next. That means a new crossover, but also replacements for some of its aging current models – chief among them, the XF. Introduced back in 2007, Jaguar's mid-range sedan is growing a little long in the tooth. But from these latest spy shots, we can see that the British automaker is hard at work developing its successor.
With most recalls seemingly affecting mass-market vehicles, it'd be all too easy to assume, consciously or otherwise, that higher-end automobiles never face such issues. But the main reason we don't see the NHTSA recalling more luxury automobiles isn't because of their quality, we'd postulate: it's because of their relative scarcity.
If you're looking for all the style of a sports sedan but without the added expense of springing for a full-on performance model (and keeping it fed with fuel and fresh tires), most European automakers will gladly hook you up with an all-show, no-go package. BMW has its M-Sport aero kits, Audi its S-Line, and Mercedes its AMG Sport packs. And now Jaguar is getting in on the action with the launch of the new R-Sport line.
In the market for an amped-up Jaguar? Look for the letter R, adorning such performance models as the XFR and XJR sedans, the XKR coupe and convertible and the new F-Type R. But if it's bonkers performance you're after, you'll want to add the letter S into the mix as well. Jaguar uses the letters to connote its most hard-core performance variants like the two-door XKR-S and four-door XFR-S. And now it's applied them to the XF wagon as well, skipping the R treatment and going straight for the new
From our best guess, the Jaguar test mule shown in these spy shots could very well be our first glimpse at the next-generation Jaguar XF, due out around the 2016 model year. The current XF has been around for five years already (launched in 2008), and this mule is likely testing powertrain or chassis components for a new version of the midsize Jaguar sedan.
It was Steve Sutcliffe at Autocar who got the tough job of comparing the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to the limited edition Jaguar XFR-S on the track and sheep-strewn British B-roads. In UK spec both Mephistophelean sedans wrangle the same 542 horsepower, but step out of the corral and things look to weigh heavily in the Mercedes' favor: it has more torque, it's lighter, it's quicker from 0-to-60 and it's less expensive.
This is the Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake, which is too cool for North American sale (the Sportbrake, not the XFR-S sedan, which we're getting soon). Like the XFR-S four-door, it has a 5.0-liter, supercharged V8 pumping out around 550 horsepower.
Generally speaking, I don't get too upset about the growing need to replace displacement in modern cars. Sure, there are exceptions (don't you touch my 6.2-liter AMG V8), but honestly, the industry's new forced induction powertrains are all lovely, and their gains in fuel economy – when they actually make good on them – can make up for the ever-so-slight losses in performance or driving character.
Jaguar is moving to modernize its XF engine lineup – once the exclusive territory of V8 mills – with a range including a turbo four, a supercharged six and supercharged V8s of various potencies. Personally, I'll miss the combination of this smooth looking and driving XF sedan, and the lazy power of the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter engine, even if the super six has earned some praise in other applications.
Rumors of an entry-level, BMW 3 Series-fighting Jaguar sedan have been floating around for quite some time, but thanks to our intrepid spy photographers, we now have visible proof that such a model is, in fact, in the works.
Editor's Note: Our reporter was anxious to get some time behind the wheel of the XF Sportbrake, even though Jaguar only had a very small window available for us to drive it. As a result, we weren't able to capture our usual original images to go with the Quick Spin story. Please accept our regrets, and Jag's lovely stock photography, instead.