One major difference calling buyers to the XFR over E63 and M5 is price. The XFR is starts at $82,000, some 10% cheaper than its rivals. Also, with XFR the price doesn't climb too high after picking up some options; both the Mercedes and Bimmer can jump quite a bit.
So what does the lower price get you? Nearly just as much, if judging purely by the spec sheet. A respectable 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque come from a 5-liter supercharged V8--for now, the most powerful engine available in the XF line. Bringing the car to a halt are performance-spec upgraded brakes and tires--suitable, since 60 mph comes in only 4.7 seconds.
For performance-seekers, the BMW M5 still maintains the clear advantage, with 560 hp and a standard manual gearbox, but the Jag's storied brand heritage and posh interior will certainly appeal to the luxury set.
As with any Jaguar, the XFR's interior is very upscale and comfortable. From the seats to the dash, material selection is of top quality, skewing a bit sportier when compared to the rest of Jaguar's lineup. Some might say that the rising shifter dial and automatic scrolling vents are a bit gimmicky, but we like the "welcome to your car" feel. It is a Jag, after all--not the car for you if you're looking for a no-frills approach.
In our episode, we chose to focus on XFR's adaptive suspension technology. Adaptive suspension is important in the world of luxury performance for many reasons, but the most important is that drivers in this segment often demand a split personality of their vehicles. The Monday through Friday, 9-5er isn't going to want a harsh ride during his weekly commute, but come weekend or open road, and the car must come alive.
Adaptive suspension proffers a 'Jekyll and Hyde' driving experience by varying the dampening strength of the suspension many times per second with different adjustments that can be called up by the driver. The car's standard drive mode provides a remarkably smooth ride, but shift into sport mode and the suspension tightens up so there is less body roll in turns, giving a sportier, float-less ride. Adaptive suspension can also make a vehicle safer by responding to uneven road surfaces that might otherwise cause instability in cornering.
So it has the power and dynamics to compete in the segment, but how about day-to-day driving? As one might imagine, a car with a performance V8 isn't going to get the best fuel economy, and the XFR is no exception at a 15 city / 21 HWY MPG (cringe-worthy by TRANSLOGIC standards). A curb weight of 4,300 lbs. doesn't help matters.
But, at the end of the day, you're driving a 500+ hp beast with an exhaust note that might just make you forget about your last trip to the pump.