This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, some say that this is hell in a can. But what you’re looking at here is the new Jaguar XFR. It doesn’t have huge scoops protruding out from its bonnet, neither does it have a hideous spoiler on the back. There are only tiny hints of it being a sports saloon unlike the BMW M5 with all its M badge trinketry and carbon fibre panels. The XFR is elegant, sophisticated and most importantly, incredibly fast.
When you get into the car, the plush red leather seats with “R” embossed on them fit your body like a glove fits your hand. The version I was in had a suede ceiling and a sunroof, all costly options, but when you spend S$400,000 or so on a car like that, what’s a few more zeros at the back of that astronomical line of 6 digit figures. The whole ignition process has been revolutionized with a pulsating ’start-stop’ ignition button which seems like the XFR has a heart of its own. And it does. Step on the brakes and push the button, the air-con vents unfold upwards as if the Jag has been woken up from its deep slumber, rearing to go. Cool bluish-green lights bathe the instrument panel while the rotory gear shift rises up from the center console and the roar of the Supercharged, 5.0 litre V8 welcomes you into this blistering monster of a car. I think I’m finally ready to take this ferocious feline for a ride.
The XFR is savagely quick. A slight tap of your right foot will send you hurtling towards the speed limit, so if you ever drive one of these things, remember to put the Electronic Speed Limiter on to prevent your license from being taken away and you appearing in court. It is that easy to exceed the speed limit. What do you expect from a 510bhp Supercharged, 5.0 litre V8 monster? Grannies will probably get heart attacks if this thing drives past. The roar of the engine is just so addictive that your right foot tingles each time you depress the pedal. And the car, boy does it respond. Power is instantaneous, yet the cabin feels as comfortable and as tranquil as a recording studio, aside from the soundtrack of the engine, which is what you really want to hear. Despite the car having a 14 speaker Bowers & Wilkins 440W system I could not help myself but to switch that off so that I could hear that distinctive growl. The suspension was firm whenever you needed it to be firm, and comfortable when you drive at normal speeds. Its almost telepathic! When you drive like a maniac the car seems to know what an imbecile you are and firms it up so you don’t end up behind a tree when you go round a bend, yet you can drive a man with a broken back at normal speeds and he would have no complaints. The traction control is spot on in this car, especially when I tested it. The road was soaking wet and I got a little too trigger happy with my right toes and floored it a little too hard. Inevitably there was wheelspin but I could actually feel the traction control working to keep the power off the rear wheels to enable the car to regain grip. Without it, this car could spin the Earth round with no sweat at all. The paddle shifters aren’t all show and no go as well. The gear changes are smooth and quick; a tip though if you ever drive one of these things, is to downshift from 4th to 3rd at around 80km/h and you will hear the over-run from the exhausts and that is sheer ecstasy…The Supercharged 5.0 litre V8 accelerates this 2 ton beast from 0-100km/h in 4.5s (on Sport mode) and on to a top speed of 250km/h. This car introduces you to the world of effortless power.
The innards of this Jaguar is a place to behold. It is a fusion of classic old school luxury and new age simplicity. The transmission is controlled by the new all-aluminium rotor, turn it clockwise into D for normal driving, or S (Sport) if you feel like you want to burn more fuel. The cabin is such a comfortable place to be. The seats are supportive and they don’t make you feel like you’re going to fall out of them any moment even if you go round a corner at many kilometers per hour, the LCD touch screen display is user friendly and it even has Blue-teeth to connect to your Iphone or Blackberry. What’s more, the rear occupants won’t be complaining from a lack of space as the rear legroom is enormous, so you can still drive fast with Yao Ming at the back. The sound system which I neglected earlier on is crisp and will not disappoint hardcore audiophiles. One of the more interesting and useful features include the rearview camera which actually helps you align your car to the one behind you. The blokes in Conventry have been thinking…This car does fast and comfortable exceptionally well.
Yes, some might ask what is the point of this car? Its incredibly expensive, doesn’t look like a real sports saloon even though it goes and sounds like one, and you’ll never get to use all that power in 90km/h Singapore. And its true. In Singapore, this car is hopelessly impractical thanks to its hefty price tag. It may be a sensational 4 door sports saloon with drop dead gorgeous looks and an engine to die for, but ultimately, it comes down to how deep your pockets are. But if money is not an issue and if you’re looking for a car that is more unique, more exclusive and better looking than a BMW M5, the Jaguar XFR will definitely float your boat.