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  • Brilliant engine; dynamic handling; wicked personality
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Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
by Nadine Armstrong

Plenty of reasons to get excited

Model Tested:

  • 2009 Jaguar XF-R; 5.0-litre, supercharged V8, petrol; six-speed automatic; sedan- $208,450*

CarAdvice Rating:

The Jaguar XF-R is a shameless exhibitionist. Behind the wheel you will be entertained, intrigued and find it near impossible not to warm to its wicked demeanor.

With a 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine at its core, heart palpitations will be visible through the cable-knit cardigans of the Jag-driving stereotypes of yesteryear.

Those more popular German rivals are put on notice, this hero of the XF series packs quite a punch.

The XF range offers four engine variants – a 3.0-litre V6 petrol, 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged diesel S, 5.0-litre V8 petrol normally aspirated and the engine on show in the XF-R, a 5.0-litre V8 petrol supercharged engine – all of which have a six-speed automatic transmission featuring paddle-shifts for manual gear selection.

Remind me who said size doesn’t matter? The XF-R will make you blush with excitement. Capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds, the XF-R plays in a league occupied by the likes of BMW’s V10 M5 which runs 0-100km/h in just 4.4 seconds.

Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test

The power and pace of the XF-R are truly exhilarating thanks in part to 375kW at 6,000-6,500 rpm and with torque peak of 625Nm at 2500-5500 rpm. This engine is overly attentive and ready and waiting to be fully exploited. It would be rude not to do so.

While the engine note and sheer size of the XF-R makes you feel like king of the road, it’s all too easy to look more like the town fool if you’re not careful. Sudden acceleration, coupled with a change in direction makes for a messy tail end – may the traction control become your friend. On several occasions I was surprised as the rear end stepped out. A soft approach to acceleration however delivers a smooth motoring experience.

From stand still, the straight line speed of the XF-R is impressive – strong and fast – as the 0-100km statistic would suggest. This car’s 1891kg is beautifully balanced and is light work for its engine. On freeway cruising and tight cornering the vehicle remains composed and the cabin well insulated from outside noise. The fast ratio steering rack delivers what could almost be described as nimble handling – it’s surprisingly precise, considering the mass at hand; the XF-R is just under five metres long.

In ‘S’ mode, tap through the gears on the paddle shifts to experience a more involved drive experience. Gear changes are very fast to act when using the paddles.

Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test

JaguarDrive Control offers two drive modes – Dynamic and Winter. Dynamic mode is just that, adjusting throttle and suspension set up to suit increased drive demands. Winter mode literally dampens the attitude, as it softens the engine responsiveness to ensure optimum traction in wet conditions.

Suspension is incredibly rigid and well dampened to provide a continuously smooth ride. And the cabin is very well insulated – almost too well insulated in my opinion, I’d prefer to hear more of that engine note fill the cabin.

The XF-R builds a sense of excitement from the very first glance. Its muscular body sits proud upon 20 inch wheels and the large chrome-look grille up front, bonnet air intakes and four exhaust pipes set the tone for the drive experience delivered by the XF-R – it’s over the top. And the interior keeps up the theme.

Once inside the leather clad interior, your eyes are drawn to the red pulsating Stop/Start button – which cries out to be touched. Your first touch engages the electronics, and with your foot on the brake, another touch ignites the engine – and then you smile.

With the engine humming, a cast alloy instrument rises from the centre console – it’s your drive selector and you quickly become familiar with its twist dial operation.

The dash and console are a mix of dark mesh with dark oak veneer – it’s a little bit James Bond meets Miss Daisy, but it works, and a seriously sporty edge is maintained throughout. Buttons and dials aplenty, the XF-R is gadgetry heaven. The interior lights and glove box release are touch sensitive and the Bluetooth simple to activate and air vents automatically rotate to be concealed beneath the dash when not in use.

Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test

The sports seats fitted in the XF-R are some of the best I’ve ever experienced – in terms of both comfort and adjustability. All your usual adjustments, plus adjustable side bolsters makes the seat memory is invaluable.

The Bowers & Wilkins 440W sound system pumps out a beautiful sound. In the centre console you can discretely plug in your favourite audio device, iPod, USB or auxiliary.

If you’re impressed by small details, you will love the ‘Jaguar Suedecloth Premium Headlining’ – it’s super soft to touch and adds to the cabin opulence.

Second row passengers are comfortable and privy to the overall luxury on show up front, although a sloping roofline encroaches on headroom.

The parking camera and audible warnings assist when parking this brut, but the blind spots remain a trap. Large pillars create significant obstructions to driver vision.

While the boot space is large, at 540 litres, and the hinges are nicely dampened, the boot opening is a little small and makes it awkward to load large items.

If you can afford the XF-R, you’re probably less likely to be worried about fuel prices. And if you buy the XF-R, you’re also unlikely to be too worried about your carbon footprint, at least when it comes to your car – I’m sure you recycle.

On an urban drive route of 260km, the onboard computer suggested that average fuel consumption ranged from 21 to 23L/100km travelled, which is in line with my own calculations which revealed an average consumption of 22.0L/100km travelled. The manufacturer claims consumption of 18.7L/100km for urban driving and 12.5 for a combined cycle. Even at that rate, with a 69.5-litre tank capacity, you’re going to be quite the regular at the bowser.

CO2 emissions are at odds with the thirst of the XF-R, releasing just 292g/km.

On paper, the XF-R spec seems a good fit for its price tag. In the flesh, there are a few small details that taint an otherwise glowing report. The controls and buttons on the centre console are plastic to touch and the screen display – albeit very easy to operate – is of poor resolution. The key fob is also plastic and unimpressive. Minor points really, but worth noting on any vehicle that costs as much as a studio apartment.

Six airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, parking sensors and a reversing camera complete a reasonable safety package. The absence of rear-side airbags is disappointing.

While the Jaguar XF-R is up against some tough competition, in the form of the Audi S6, BMW M5 and Mercedes E63, this package offers a design, level of performance and quirky charm that is quite different to that of its rivals. With a price tag of $208,450 plus on-road and dealer costs, it’s also considerably cheaper than both the M5 and E63 – and just a touch more expensive than the S6.

Would I buy this shameless, thirsty and expensive beast? Yes, in a heartbeat. I’m drawn to this car.


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Jaguar XF-R Review & Road Test
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  • Blue Blood

    i love that car

  • Deco

    If only it didn’t way as much as a mack truck…

    It has the same power and more torque then the already heavy W427 and yet is 0.2 seconds slower. That has to tell Jaguar to cut back the fat.

  • http://BMW Buck

    Very interesting what you had to say about the fuel consumption, that’s very thirsty indeed, 22 litres per 100km’s using 98 Octane and with a modest sized fuel tank the range around town with a reasonable reserve is about the distance travelled by the review, only 260Km’s.

    I reckon if you can afford the XFR you won’t care but as a FPV Typhoon driver 0-100 in about 5.0 seconds, i’ve never seen worse than 14.2 litres per 100km’s and with similar performance I only paid one third of the price of this Jaguar.

    Is an XFR really worth nearly three times the price of a HSV or FPV ?

    • Jon Leong

      I think it is…

      You get the whole package in the XFR, Both luxury and Performance.

      HSV and FPV, you only get Performance… the F6E and the Senator is slightly better in terms of offering luxury, but its not there yet… not even close.

      • blah

        Big call

        • The Realist

          Not really – e.g. the lack of xenons or LEDs in $80K rep mobiles from FPV when whitegoods have them is pretty poor.

          Luxury isn’t power windows and 6 speaker sounds systems anymore – it’s the likes of Bang & Olufsen, HUD, etc…

          • Clueless

            Another Cretin here. Fact the Ford has the best high beam headlights of any car on the Aussie market. When the halogen lights are that good, bi xenon as not needed. Check various reviews.
            Talk about morons. Bi Xenon headlamps. In this country with our speed limits the Falcon headlight win hands down.
            If you want Bang &Olufsen, rip out the FPV unit and put one in.
            Realist you are such a petty tosser.

            Go and get a life simpleton

    • Camski

      C63 (note, not all the M156 engines are this bad) tips on 20 in stop start stuff.

      I love how the fuel warning message comes up when you’ve still got 1/8th of a tank left =P It does go to show that they do drink a bit (excessively).

  • Jimmy

    That fuel consumption is ridiculous!

  • http://carz.com/ Carz

    Jag XFR looks amazing. I’d love to have one…though I have to agree if I can buy a car like this, I’m pretty sure I won’t mind spending more on gas…I’ll just appreciate more what this Jag can offer than thinking about gas.

  • Peter

    Supposedly the performance figure is understated, and it is coming in closer to 4.7. From 80 – 110kph it takes 1.9 seconds, so you are still getting it where you really need it. I have the XF V8, and while it would be a lot quicker if it was lighter, the weight makes the ride a dream, which is what you want at 40 and some. I’ll leave hard rides to the purists, but then I wont be trying to drag off too many HSVs or FPV’s from the lights. The V8 gets around 15mpg driven hard in sport mode around town (16l/100km), probably 19mpg normally. Is the XFR worth 3 times as much as an FPV? Probably not, but if I had enormous loot, I’d buy one. I spent $150K on the XF, against $100K on my previous car that was faster, and I would do it again in a flash, though I couldnt live with another $30K for the supercharged version (0 – 100 in 5.1) and the R is just too exey for me (sob!).

    • http://BMW Buck

      Interesting what you had to say about the XF V8. Its a vehicle I have been thinking about myself and I am also late fourties. I evaluated the XF S Diesel last weekend and agree, the ride was very good and mid-range torque @ 600nm great, but it lacked top end firepower that i’ve come to expect in the Typhoon 270 KW is 270KW, and 202KW for the Jag diesel is what it is, so yes the 283KW from the naturally aspirated V8 is necessary to have decent performance, in my opinion.

      The other point about the diesel I didn’t like is the lack of sound, the Cat must have a decent snarl / growl, was that your thinking too Peter ?

      Are you really happy with the naturally aspirated V8 or if you could turn the clock back would you have outlaid the extra money for the 375KW XFR, you get the trick active diff, and adaptive shocks as well in the XFR which are missing from your one right ?

      The FPV F6E I suppose is the alternative for an update of my three year old BF2 Typhoon and at around $80K its hard to resist with similar performance to the $210K XFR. Love the look, style and panache of the Jag though, its a great world class car, there’s no question whatsoever about that, I just can’t quite get my head around the price, especially as they’re on 59,990 pounds in the U.K.

      • Peter

        Hmmm, well I was coming out of a car about as quick as the SV8, and found that big acceleration at 100kph plus is too tempting for me, so I’d had a few heart starters where I’d thought I’d been snapped being a little enthusiastic. I decided to go with the V8 in a period where each day I was waiting for a notice to come through the mail, and I had decided I needed to settle down. $30K extra is a lot to pay to go from 6.2 in the V8 to 5.1 in the SV8, coz the interior was specced the same. The XFR is probably out of my budget, but if it was $180K I’s seriously think about it (I have a thing for bonnet vents and painted calipers). Active diff and shocks wouldnt help me – I tend to only punch it in a straight line and with clear vision, and I wouldnt take a $200K car onto the track. It’s too dangerous around here to drive fast on the windy roads, bikers tend to cut corners and you’ll collect one coming the other way. So, yes, happy with the V8, and I can actually get my family to get into the car without having to drag them from under the bed or drug them (which was the case with the previous car), so they are happy too. I agree with you on the engine noise – the V8 sounds gorgeous, especially at over 4,500rpm (which is why I use too much juice). They’ve stopped the supercharger whine in the XFR, which sucks IMO.
        Not knocking the ford, but why not try a 12 month old SV8?

        • http://BMW Buck

          Peter, its almost like you read my mind, that’s exactly what I have been thinking. With a year old SV8 you get nearly all the trick gear of an XFR, all the performance you can realistically use, the world class B & W stereo system, all at a knock down price because its not the absolute latest and greatest, besaides as you astutuely noted, the SV8 still carries the supercharger “whine” and I reckon I’d just love to hear the big cat “complain” over and over and over again, if you catch my drift.

          I’ve got my eye on one and for about $110-120,000 I reckon that its something of a comparitive bargain compared to an XFR.

          It sounds like you really love making your Cat growl and it keeps the kids entertained, as well as the “big kid”, so it can’t be wrong. Good on ya mate.

    • Andrew

      Peter, it sounds like you might be just as happy with the N/A V8. Better traction, better fuel consumption and definately worth the shot unless you really want the S/C edition so you can be near the cutting edge of subtle performance. I think I’d be the same actually, I’d like the performance but without the fact that the wheels want the break ground at the first possible oppourtunity on my conscience, as well as the huge fuel consumption. Not ideal for long trips where frequent stops to fuel stations is undesirable.

      • Peter

        The kid in me would like to smoke it up, but I am just too much of a d#head to safely drive an XFR. I dont drive enough to make poor fuel consumption a big factor – the V8 ranges from 12 litres for a highway/city mix to 16ish driven hard around town, but doing less than 15000km per annum it doesnt trouble me (and gives me more opportunity to buy Krispy Kreams at the petrol station). Intellectually, the V8 is right for me and the family, but I cant help but be jealous of the SV8/XFR owners.

  • Andrew Juma

    Awesome car. Jaguar has really turned themselves around. If the new XJ Coupe comes out, they will have a complete model range to truly rival the German marques.

  • Tom R

    That consumption is barely better than that horrid 4.2S engine they had. (Nice engine, fuel consumption, HORRENDOUS).
    I imagine he was leadfooting it though…

    P.S. The only reason it’s heavy is because they couldn’t afford to re-engineer it in aluminium. I bet the next generation will be aluminium, with all the sales generated by this one.

  • The Realist

    “On paper, the XF-R spec seems a good fit for its price tag. In the flesh, there are a few small details that taint an otherwise glowing report. The controls and buttons on the centre console are plastic to touch and the screen display – albeit very easy to operate – is of poor resolution. The key fob is also plastic and unimpressive. Minor points really, but worth noting on any vehicle that costs as much as a studio apartment.”

    Seems like I’m not the only one who considers the interior controls below par ay Alex?

    Sorry Jaguar – five year old M5 is still better than this.

    • http://caradvide figo

      are u serious…? besides the fuel economy i dont think there’z anything the ugly M5 is better at.

      • The Realist

        Yes I am serious – it’s a poor effort when the screen on a 320i Executive with Pro Nav I-drive blows away the touch screen on this car costing $150K more.

        You’ll find many who love the BMW M5 – take a look at the review from a few months back. Speed, handling, features, badge and model cred… all from a 5 year old car… need I say more?

        Next M5 will blow this away.

        • http://caradvide figo

          but man that M5 thing is butt uglyyyyyyyyy……………..

      • Camski

        The M5 is still better as a performance car (fact).

        HOWEVER – The Jag has a substantially better compromise between handling (ride wise) and comfort. Of course there’s also price.

        Jag should nick the system from Toyota/Lexus (which I personally love the way they work, with the exception of being locked out, however this point is moot when you consider even Benz’ COMAND locks you out overseas [not here though]). Simple and works damn well, with a decent screen too =)

        • blah

          Suggest anyone comparing the opposition check out this month’s Top Gear mag

  • Tony

    The M5 is probably a better car all round but seriously… the current M5 doesn’t have the draw for me like the e39 m5

    If I won the lotto I’d get the Jag over the E63/M5… the car just draws me in.

    The M5… is sterile. The E63 is ugly.

    I just don’t find the German saloons sexy at all.

    • The Realist

      E39 M5 is a classic.

  • John

    If money was no object I would buy an XFR over any other saloon in the world. Everyone concentrates on the 0 – 100 time for the big jag when comparing it too it’s competition etc and that is its weakest stat (if 4.9 can be called weak). The mid range punch of the jag is amazing. For comparison an auto F6 is currently one of the fastest accelerating sedans in the world in the 80 – 120 increment with a time of 2.7 seconds (an M5 is 3.0 seconds) . A manual 997 turbo is 2.6 seconds only a tenth faster than the Aussie F6. The XFR does 80 – 110 in under 2 so another 10km/h should only add a couple tenths. This car is in GT2 territory in the midrange. It packs a huge whallop once up and rolling. Seeing I am not Rockerfeller, I have been evaluating a HSV S1 Senator (the S2 has not won me over YET) and an F6E. Both offer world beating performance, handling and luxury in the price range. Are they a match for cars at the XFR level? No way in hell but they do offer a great drive for the money IMO!

    • http://BMW Buck

      Hi John,

      Most of what you’ve said I agree with. You are quite right regarding the XFR’s 0-100 of 4.9 which is its weakest statistic, (as you point out this anything but).

      Seeing as your a man of taste I thought you might be interested in the stat’s achieved by well respected Autocar N.Z. on their F6 evaluation in October 2008 and the Jaguar XFR current issue November 2009.
      F6 0-100 4.82 seconds 80-120 2.64 seconds
      XFR 0-100 4.90 seconds 80-120 2.60 seconds

      As you pointed out, these cars have absolutly devastating in gear acceleration. Where the Jag wins out is when it gets a chance to really wind out and deliver the full 375KW on the quarter mile with a time of 12.6 seconds which is at least 3/10ths quicker than any stock F6 I am aware of.

      Having said that an F6 or F6E is still an absolutly amazing performance experience at a fraction of the XFR’s price, albeit with just a fraction of the Jag’s style, panache and refinement. Very few people will have the luxury of cross shopping an XFR and a F6E, but I reckon they make an interesting comparison. I can tell you from driving a XFS Diesel the other day they’re a great car but with grossly insufficient top end punch compared to my current ride BF2 Typhoon.

      The Jag is also considerably smaller inside, its a true mid sizer so if your a big bloke like me and maybe considering one of the XF Jag’s, nows a good time to start the diet !! On the other hand if you comfortably fit in an existing large Aussie muscle car, then you can keep drinking beer to your hearts content, (I suspect this and the price difference will be the telling factor
      for many blokes, myself included !!)

  • Tony

    agree with John. I know it’s not the best sporting sedan in the world. Who cares?

    I would prefer an XFR over a Quattroporte or Rapide and most definitely over the abominable Porsche Panamera. It’s probably boxing over its class there but there’s something about the Jag… it’s just got that zing other sporting sedans don’t have.

    People don’t seem to realise that cars in this class aren’t all numbers and ‘ring times and that crap. It’s a fairly irrational purchase in the first place and cars that have that spark are above mere 1/4 mile times.

  • Peter

    Funny you say that. Case on point, I was recently very much taken by the passat cc. Looks great on paper – 0 – 100 in 5.5, paddles, DSG, looks brilliant outside, reviews were great, so I was all to buy it to replace my wife’s 5 year old s40T5. Until I drove it. Seats horrible, dash acres and acres of cheap plastic, couldnt see the screen when there was any sun, blinded by aluminium trim, interior just tacky really, didnt feel comfortable at speed. What a let down! The s40T5 was $15K cheaper but a far better car (for us), so we have bought a new one instead. And I’d been ready to buy the cc just based on reviews and specs, but it was just uninvolving and boring. If its just numbers, then the jag loses, but it is a lovely car to live with (except for the cheap plastic pretend brake vents, which really crap me off!)

    • http://BMW Buck

      I do like an honest punter. If I was picky I’d also comment on the cheap looking plastic switchgear, but that’s really a bit of nit picking.

      What really counts apart from the obvious, handling performance e.t.c. is the style, look and feel of the car and how it makes you feel when your driving it. Interesting what you had to say about the Passat CC, I too find that a most attactive car. I guess its a clasic case of beauty is only skin deep.

      Better sign off, I’m off to join Jenny Craig and start my diet to feel more comfortable in that SV8. Have I mentioned how much I want to hear the big cat’s whine ??

      • Peter

        rub it in, big fella. I have a severe case of supercharger envy. My inner Mad Max is very jealous.

Jaguar XF Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$37,730 - $42,880
Dealer Retail
$37,280 - $44,330
Dealer Trade
$29,000 - $34,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
435Nm @  1900rpm
Max. Power
152kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1850  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
245/45 R18
Rear Tyres
245/45 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System
Cruise Control, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 8 Speakers
Power Mirrors
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels
Cruise Control Intelligent/Active, Reversing Camera, Voice Recognition System
Premium Sound System, Television
Metallic Paint, Xenon Headlights
Service Interval
12 months /  16,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side on Rear Door Sill
Country of Origin
United Kingdom