2014 Jaguar XFR-S / XJR, the British are coming: Motoramic Drives
“It’s our time to shine,” said Jaguar at the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum in Seattle. Indeed, Jag has been gleaming of late, brighter than the glow reflecting off the Frank Gehry-designed museum building. And having just driven the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S and XJR, the most powerful Jaguar sports sedans ever, my verdict is this: Germans, beware. The British are coming.
Jaguar’s R brand has been around for 25 years. It exemplifies the automaker’s performance potential, and sits as a hub for the R-S line and, most recently, the (XKR-S) GT. The latest offerings on hand in the city famous for rain, coffee and Sir Mix-a-Lot, were the XFR-S and XJR. Interestingly, during my stay in Seattle, it didn’t rain, I never drank a sip of coffee, and Sir Mix-a-lot didn’t play on the radio once. (Is Sir Mix-a-Lot still even a thing?)
The plan was a long drive, circumnavigating Mount Rainier, to a racetrack I’ve never heard of. We’d start out in the Jaguar XJR, a rival to the Mercedes S63 AMG, before slipping into the E63 AMG / BMW M5 fighter, the XFR-S.
As is always the case when driving an XJ, luxury encompasses you. Every nook is lined with the softest of leather, the seats cushion you like being swaddled in a Pottery Barn blanket, and the steering wheel forms to your hands like a Tempur-Pedic mattress. While the XJR certainly evokes sportier thoughts, it still possesses the same XJ qualities.
With meaner aesthetics, the XJR takes a leap forward. While the XJ appears elegant and sophisticated, the XJR adds bite, featuring hood vents, a rear spoiler and front splitter. It feels like the right evolution for the executive sedan, whereas the almighty XFR-S undergoes a transformation akin to Christina Aguilera in "Dirrty." Its rear wing looks like it’s taken from a WRX rally car, and its chiseled features look stolen from Johnny Deep. It appears on the surface to be as tough as nails, like a cross between Al Pacino in Scarface and James Bond.
Both the XFR-S and XJR sport the same 5.0-liter supercharged V-8, boasting 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. The power at low revs is magic, meshed with short ratios in the lower gears, delivering a tire-shredding punch on acceleration. 0-60 mph, for both the XFR-S and XJR, takes place in 4.4 seconds (slightly slower than their competitors--but honestly, it still feels as fast as hell). In the XJR, 50-75 mph occurs in just 2.46 seconds, proving that the initial launch doesn’t stop.
It goes. And goes. And then it goes some more.