A sideways review: The brilliant Jaguar XF-R

Jaguar are doing some amazing things at the moment. Not only have they completley turned around the old man and pipe and slippers image but the cars are brutal, fast and extremely drift friendly too. Locking differentials, awesome ZF gearboxes and all the torques and powers you could want off the shelf…

So that’s me in the Red one there, against Ben Barry, CAR Magazine journalist. Greg Pajo on the cameras.

We’re at Anglesey Circuit in north Wales again, and it’s raining – but that’s not going to spoil a days drifting in a £60,000 super saloon that makes an M5 and an RS6 look boring and tame. Straight out on track, with my air conditioned seats cooling my back I put the car straight into Dynamic mode with DSC fully off which tells the car all hell is about to break loose. You get a sharper throttle, more awesome noises, and the electronically controlled Bilstein developed suspension switches to a hardcore track setting limiting body roll, whilst working with the cars electronically controlled clutch differential and lightning fast gearbox.

Mike Cross is the head chassis guru at Jaguar, and he’s made one hell of a machine. For a guy who is (sorry Mike) old enough to be my father, he’s grown up on a diet of proper old school RWD machinery like Chevettes and the like – and he’s obviously keen to take advantage of his position – and the results are great.

The way you can pull gears in the XF-R is hilarious – get the car chucked in a bit, throttle, counter steer, wind down window, wave at the crowd whist using the paddles to go from 2nd to 3rd to 4th in a blink of an eye whilst the exhaust roars out over the sound of the crashing sea.

I’ve done this in the dry too, and the car was even better. Just brilliant. It’s not got the all out traction of say an M5, or the ridiculous engine in C63 AMG, but it’s just right. Balanced is probably the word I’m looking for. Balanced, comfortable, and insane at the same time.

Mike Cross arrived in his personal XJ (Jaguars take on the bigger 7 series / S class) around lunch time – and surprise surprise….

The British car industry has a hope yet. 🙂

6 thoughts on “A sideways review: The brilliant Jaguar XF-R

  1. Please don’t ever put your hand out of the window, ever! I’m quite interested to see how these cars end up, because to be honest, the flappy paddles are never going to be where it’s a for drifting (not the price tag suitable for us bums either) or serious track use.

    Why don’t manufacturers fit electronic clutches to these cars? So you can ponce about in auto, and beast it like a sequencial box when the mood takes, having the option of blasting almighty ikicks on the iclutch. Seems obvious to me…

    1. LOL, I was actually saying ‘one more lap’, but that didn’t sound as cool in my head.

      The paddles are interesting – they do actually work really really well on track because the car rev matches more or less perfectly, and the speed it changes gear is as fast as any SMG ever was – plus it removes the human element of being a retard and missing gears and ruining engines. The more variables a car knows, the better it can deal with them.

      Loving iKick though. 😀

  2. i <3 driftworks more now.

    the new breed of jaguar is a fucking amazing car in my eyes there is nothing better ive experienced the xkr's but not the new xf and xj but the xkr was enough for me to fall in love with jaguar!

  3. Amazing car. How’s the handling in the dry track? Planning to put a Bilstein in my car too. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews in it, like what you mentioned: “hardcore track setting limiting body roll, whilst working with the cars electronically controlled clutch differential and lightning fast gearbox.”

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