From the record-setting XK120 of the late forties, to today’s XK Coupe, Jaguar’s unique blend of British luxury and globe-trotting speed has been the core of the leaping cat’s DNA. When Ford sold Jaguar to Indian automaker Tata Motors last June, those whose blood runs British racing green wondered what would become of the brand’s high-performance heritage. Well, we think the new XFR clears things up very well.

While overall we love the fresh design approach of the new XF-Series sedan, we felt the 400-horsepower supercharged V8 we tested earlier this year went a bit soft on Jaguar’s legendary performance. But now, with the “R” treatment being applied to the XF, all looks much righter with the world. The 2010 Jaguar XFR’s supercharged, direct-inject 5.0-liter V8 pumps 510 horsepower, a jump of 110, and 461 pound-feet of torque. And it all comes into play almost instantly when you nail the gas pedal, with full torque from 2500 rpm up.To put it in further perspective, the XFR has a 10-horsepower and 78-pound-foot advantage over the mighty V10 BMW M5. The Cadillac CTS-V, however, makes 46 more horsepower and 90 more units of torque.

And this fearsome feline can really sink its teeth into the drag strip. Low-end grunt gets the XFR off the line in a big hurry, dispatching 60 mph in a quick 4.5 seconds. That’s comparable to the M5. The quarter mile disappeared in a scant 12.9 seconds at 112 miles per hour through the traps.

Shifts are quick and smooth from the six-speed automatic, delivering high-revving, dead-on power. Paddle shifters really keep the driver involved, but they didn’t have any effect on the numbers.

R-exclusive performance features include 30% stiffer continuously-variable shocks, a trick electronic rear differential that ranges from locked to wide open, and a “Dynamic Mode” that stiffens the springs even further.  Add to the equation massive amounts of wide, low-profile rubber encircling the car’s 20-inch alloy wheels.

And you need all of that plus driver skills to discipline the XFR’s enormous torque. Through the cones with just a little too much throttle, and the XFR breaks loose like a fast cat on fine marble. Steering is nicely weighted, but we would have loved more feedback. Turn-ins are almost too quick-so the driver needs to really concentrate to tame this beast. Our first XF had great brakes, and with larger rotors front and rear, the XFR does even better: an excellent 116 foot average from 60 with a short, firm pedal and minimal nose dive.

The XFR shares the regular XF’s graceful roofline, sharp shoulders, and cat-eye headlamps, all which make for a stunning 21st-century Jag saloon. But the XFR is simply a meaner machine than its less-powerful counterpart. There are also red, green, and silver R badges, reworked side sills, and quad tailpipes. 

From inside, the whine of the supercharger is balanced with the gentlemanly growl of the eight direct-injected cylinders. The cabin is a reminder of Jaguar’s commitment to elegance. Stitched leather and blue mood lighting are joined by wide swatches of aluminum and wood trim on the dash and doors. Seats are aggressively bolstered and smothered in leather.

Our tester came equipped with Bluetooth, satellite navigation, a rear-view camera system, and a Bowers & Wilkins 440-watt stereo. The pop-up rotary gear selector is still there. It’s an eclectic touch, but it works fine.

Space-wise, the rear seats are okay for two adults – good on headroom, a little tight for the legs.  They split 60/40 and fold flat to expand the already adequate 17.6 cubic feet of luggage space.

Government fuel economy ratings for the XFR are 15 city, 21 highway on premium gas.  You can expect a thirsty 17 miles per gallon in real world driving. The XFR’s Energy Impact Score is a high 20.1 barrels of oil consumed per year. Its carbon footprint is 10.8 tons of CO2 emitted annually.

On sale now, the XFR has a base sticker of $80,000 even.  It’s certainly no bargain, but the price seems fair for what this cat delivers. So Jaguar die-hards needn’t worry. The 2010 XFR stays true to form-a lot of go and a lot of British style. But this cat doesn’t pussy-foot around. This time, the R-treatment makes it a driver’s car all the way. So, while Jaguar has a new owner, the XFR says its heritage is intact.


  • Engine: Direct-inject 5.0-Liter V8
  • Horsepower: 510
  • Torque: 461 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 4.5 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.9 Seconds @ 112 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 116 Feet
  • EPA: 15 MPG City/ 21 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 17.0 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 20.1 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 10.8 Tons/Yr