2012 Jaguar XFR

Where old-school luxury and new-school power collide.

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Story: Alex Bernstein

Model Tested: XFR

Rating: 6 out of 6

The list of saloons capable of catapulting you to triple-digit speeds in a blisteringly short amount of time is ever expanding; however, not all of these cars are created equal. Jaguar’s 2012 XFR is one that does it all and might even be top dog. Powered by a 5.0-liter direct-injection V8—boosted from an Eaton twin-vortex supercharger—this beast summons a healthy 510hp and 461 lb.-ft. of torque. The XFR finds harmony between sinister and docile.

Slide into the plush leather driver’s seat, flick the gear selector into Sport mode, hold the DSC button for a few seconds and tap the checkered flag to enable Dynamic Mode. Yes, there’s a bit of a process involved in getting this whip sideshow ready, but not only are the few moments to complete the task worth it, they enable raw, unleashed power.

Responsibility isn’t exactly something a high-horsepower car will teach you, though, which is why Jaguar includes the R Performance Academy driving school in the XFR’s price tag, and that’s a good thing, because the car has enough grunt to send you spinning into a ditch. The technology embedded in this thing is pretty trick, whether it’s saving your ass or helping you hit a turn right on.

All the aspects of the XFR blend into an incredibly fast, stable, family-carrying monster. The Active Dynamics System monitors the XFR’s body movement 100 times per second and its wheel position 500 times per second. After calculating the data, the stiffness of the suspension increases as it comes near its limit of travel on a hard turn. If you can’t grasp that, don’t worry, that’s the point: The XFR does everything it needs to at just the right time.

In previous years, Jaguar interiors have left something to be desired. There’s always been a cheapness clouding the cabin, but in the XFR the instruments are laid out nicely with a crisp gauge cluster and leather-stitched dash. Whether you want to hear the angry growl from under the hood, cruise on the highway in silence or blast tunes from the class-leading Bowers & Wilkins setup, the Jag will do it. Spending hours on end behind the wheel of this saloon is like kicking back in the boss’s chair; you feel like you own the road, and that feeling is priceless.

Specs:

Damage: $79,600

Power: 510hp, 461 lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.7 secs.

Gas Cash: 15 city, 21 hwy

Miles Driven: 150

Interior: Comfortable and luxurious, sporty and spacious—it’s a great place to be. The suede headliner is a nice touch, too.

Exterior: The XFR stands out well from the more basic XF models below it. The huge ducts in the front bumper and slits in the hood create an angry catfish effect, and it works.

Floss Factor: This car just screams ballin’. It’s gorgeous from every angle, spits backfires from the quad-tip exhaust and can lay a burnout that’ll leave your muscle-car friends coughing in jealousy.

Flaw Factor: The touchscreen navigation unit nestled neatly in the console looks great, but using it is a tough task for those with patience issues. A traditional shift knob and lever would be nicer than the small retracting selector disc, too.