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by Tim Beissmann

The Jaguar XFR-S has been unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles motor show, signalling the British luxury sports car maker’s intent to take on the Germans in the super sedan power battle.

Long rumoured to supersede the XFR at the pinnacle of the brand’s executive model line, Jaguar says the new XFR-S is its fastest, most powerful and most agile sports sedan in its history.

Sharing its 404kW/680Nm 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine with the sizzling XKR-S coupe, the Jaguar XFR-S almost mirrors the 412kW/680Nm output of the BMW M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 and outmuscles the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG’s 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 by 18kW and 50Nm.

While it matches the XKR-S with an electronically limited top speed of 300km/h, the eight-speed auto rear-wheel-drive four-door lags two-tenths behind its coupe sibling in the dash from 0-100km/h (4.6 seconds versus 4.4), and is a further tenth short of the benchmark laid down by the M5 and E63 AMG, which both stop the clock at 4.3 seconds.

At this stage, Jaguar says it is still assessing the suitability of the XFR-S for our market, although the British super sedan looks a safe bet to join the local line-up during 2013.

Jaguar Australia has confirmed it will initially bring one example here for public relations use, with the big cat set to strut its stuff before fans and potential customers.

The unique bodywork of the Jaguar XFR-S is designed to improve airflow to the engine and brakes and reduce drag. The front-end sports a deeper front bumper with larger lower intakes, vertical vanes and a carbonfibre splitter. Broader skirts and distinctive ‘aero blades’ ensure air runs smoothly from the side of the car to the rear, where it meets a deeper bumper, carbonfibre diffuser and a boot lid spoiler (don’t be alarmed, Jaguar says two different designs are available).

The 20-inch lightweight ‘Varuna’ alloy wheels are wider than those on the XFR and are wrapped in specially developed Pirelli tyres.

Jaguar says extensive revisions to the suspension have increased lateral stiffness by 30 per cent and aided steering precision and responsiveness. The spring rates, adaptive damper tune, active electronic differential and stability control systems have all been recalibrated to enhance the car’s high-speed, on-track ability.

Along with the French Racing Blue hero colour (pictured), the Jaguar XFR-S is available in Ultimate Black, Stratus Grey, Polaris White and Italian Racing Red.

The cabin is upholstered with Warm Charcoal leather and features exclusive carbonfibre-effect leather across the seat bolsters and armrests. The seats are embossed with ‘R-S’ logos and – along with the Dark Aluminium dashboard – can be optioned with contrasting red, blue or ivory piping and stitching.

Jaguar’s new audio partner Meridian is responsible for the standard 380-watt, 12-speaker surround sound system, and also offers a high-grade 825-watt, 18-speaker unit as an option.

Jaguar is yet to announce pricing for the XFR-S, but if it is introduced to Australia it’s expected to be cost around $225,000-$250,000, slotting between the $189,900 XFR and the $299,000 XKR-S.

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