From the very first road test, to a chapter in my book, to anyone next to the braai who have cared to listen, and most recently in a comparative test with the far newer Mercedes E63 AMG and BMW M5, I’ve always sung the Jaguar XFR’s praises. I can’t help it and will be the first to admit that I’m smitten with this car.
But unfortunately, the result of my infatuation is that every time I’m faced with driving it once more, I get a bit nervous… anxious that my hero-like perception will be shattered because I’ve build up such high expectations. It’s a bit like having a crush on someone very, very unattainable and then being faced with meeting that person.
But what if, by some miracle, those affections seem to be mutual and you end up in a permanent relationship, like marriage, with someone who has been your idol? Would the fantasy survive?
Well, I’m about to find out, because I recently took delivery of a Jaguar XFR for long-term testing. The affair we’ve had for the past few years is about to become rather permanent. I wonder if this is a good thing…
“My” Jaguar arrived with only 1 350 km on the clock and since then I’ve only added another 1 000 km. I say “only” because I wish it could have been more. We’ve had a month of hilariously powerful and fun cars at CAR, but this was a source of great annoyance to me because they’ve all kept me out of the XFR. It’s just sat there in the corner, patiently awaiting my attention.
It’s hard to explain why this car in particular casts such a powerful spell on me. Yes, I think it looks fantastic, even more so after the facelift. Yes, the interior appeals to my preference of minimalist/cool design. I love the sound it makes. And most of all, I adore how it feels perfectly plugged into my driving style – see this blog. But if anything the XFR manages to be more than the sum of its parts. It’s a car with real character, something that is not prevalent on many modern cars.
Take Jaguar’s approach to handling entertainment, for example. BMW and Mercedes pound the Nurburgring to set up their cars to go around corners as quickly as possible, and the results are astonishing. The M5 and E63 handle phenomenally and will leave an XFR for dead around a racing circuit. In contrast I suspect Jaguar’s engineers pound the same circuits, but to make sure their cars are as much fun as possible… This suits me, because I prefer to enjoy my driving experience, rather than set lap times. I get great satisfaction from the XFR’s lower grip levels, because the entertainment is on offer at far more sensible speeds. Plus, as a result of its great control harmonisation, it makes you feel like a superhero.
I’ll update you on the state of our “marriage” as the months go by, but thus far I’ve only found two slight annoyances. Firstly, the boot is nice and big but the aperture is quite narrow, so fitting the baby’s “urban explorer” pram into the boot occasionally results in me jumping on said pram, trying to flatten it a bit more.
Finally, she likes her drink. I’m averaging around 17 L/100 km, but on the one highway run we’ve shared I saw the consumption figure go down to as low as 12,2 L/100 km. So she just needs to get out a bit more.
Mileage on arrival: 1 364 km
Mileage now: 2 405 km
Fuel consumption: 16,8 litres/100 km