What is it?
Quite brilliant from Jaguar. The XF-R is everything that you could want it to be, except possibly for the exhaust note.
Quite soft on first impressions, with slightly numb steering for such a fast car. Start prodding a few buttons and go a bit quicker though, and the XFR opens up a whole range of previously veiled ability. It's not the scalpel that is the BMW M5, but the XFR has its own character that's very easy to hustle. You get more indication that the car is going to start to oversteer, in most cases revelling in the fact that it seems to release into mild slides at corner apex without biting your head off or forcing your overly puckered sphincter to eat the seats. It can be a hooligan, but you have to poke it a bit to get it angry - after that, it's sublime.
The XFR is determinedly a decent road car first and a headbanger second, so the ride is firm but not intrusive, the autobox almost totally unfelt and the ambience one of determined pressing-on rather than blood and fire. There's a lot of waft here, a nice surprise for something with 500bhp.
Not lacking. A 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with 510bhp and a 0-62mph time under five seconds (4.9 to be exact). A more impressive figure is a 50-70mph time of just 1.9 seconds - that's what you'll use to overtake the average truck - enough to make your eyes widen. There's a limiter at 155mph, though Jaguar ‘leaked' the fact that an unrestricted Jag would hit around 198mph. That's quite a lot.
On the inside
There's not a great deal that sets the XFR apart from the standard XF on the inside, so the quality seems as per the normal version. There are a few extra badges, some nice bolstered seats, a speedo that is forced to read much higher, but otherwise this is XF. That means no really bad problems have arisen quite yet and that Jag seems to have a handle on what makes a car feel just a little bit special.
All the practicality of the XF - so while possibly not the best in class, certainly nothing that you'll be stamping your feet about. Big boot, seats four comfortably and five at a push, easy to drive, easy enough to park and thread through traffic - the XFR is very easy to like.
You'll be struggling if you want really decent mpg from a supercharged 5.0 - and on test TG returned just 14.8mpg with ‘enthusiastic' driving style. A 292g/km C02 figure doesn't seem very good, but this is over 500bp remember. Insurance is group 20. And when you drive it £65k doesn't actually seem that much. Seriously.