After a month behind the wheel of our new long term Jaguar XF R-Sport, our man wonders whether he made the right decision…
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|V6, supercharged, 2995cc||335bhp @ 6500rpm||450Nm (332lb ft) @ 4500rpm||5.4secs||250kph||1710(196bhp/ton)||TBC|
|Kilometres this month:||807|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||7.8|
I’m going to backtrack five or six weeks to a conversation I had about the Jaguar XF with the brand’s regional team:
“Why don’t you try the R-Sport? I think you’ll genuinely like it?”
“Well, yes, I’m sure I will, but don’t you have an S?”
“We do, but you’ll probably find the R-Sport package is actually quite underrated”
“…hmm…more power is tempting…”
You get the gist. It was some time before I was convinced that the R-Sport was actually the way to go for our Management Fleet model, given that – on very, very few occasions – I can be a bit pig-headed (“What? Nooooooo”, says every member of the crankandpiston.com Team with enough sarcasm to punch a hole through time itself).
And I’m pleased to say I was wrong. Turns out the XF R-Sport is really quite good.
That supercharged V6 engine is an underrated little gem, given that it can fall into the shadows alongside the AMG and BMW M-bating supercharged V8 on Jaguar Land Rover’s roster, and that the 335bhp it delivers can deliver a surprisingly aggressive punch. Select Dynamic through the four-way drive mode selector and you’re met with aggressive yet simultaneously linear acceleration, 332lb ft of torque offering sizable reserves in the lower revs. Combine that with hefty steering, solid grip at the front end and stiffened suspension that all but erodes body roll, and the XF R-Sport proves impressively agile through the turns. A slightly rear-biased balance means that even the back axle can get a little playful.
An agile minx with some impressive engagement then, but it’s not just the manner in which Jaguar’s 5 Series-rival drives that’s caught my attention this month. The cabin for instance, as well as proving both comfortable and practical, looks the canine’s nether regions. Okay, the red interior may be going a bit too far – this is still a premium, elegant saloon after all – but it’s an elegant design thanks largely to its minimalist use of switches, the easy to navigate touchscreen infotainment system proving more than sufficient. And in much the same way the inside has proven a knockout, it’s equally the same on the outside. Hats off to you Ian Callum.
Only a couple of quibbles to note this month. The raising rotary drive shifter is still one of our favourite commodities of Jaguar Land Rover design, but quick changes from Drive to Reverse can be troublesome: you’ll either overshoot and place the Jag in Park whilst furious motorists serenade you with car horns, or you’ll select Drive whilst still rolling backwards, eliciting a ‘what the hell are you doing?” bunny hop as the momentum changes. I also realise I’m re-bashing a particularly overused drum, but if the rest of the cabin is this refined, why do we still have plastic paddles for the gearbox?
All told though, so far so rather top-notch for the Jaguar XF R-Sport. Does make me wonder how the S would have done though.