So, who on Earth stepped into the 5.0-litre petrol Jaguar XF and thought to themselves ‘this needs supercharging’?
Obviously someone at Jaguar did, because the performance-orientated XFR comes with 500bhp and over 460lb-ft of twist, good for a sprint time of well under five seconds, courtesy of a massive supercharger attached to the already-massive V8 engine.
It makes acceleration and performance quite astonishing to experience, and the XFR feels like it would keep smoothly accelerating far beyond the 155mph speed limiter.
Dynamic Mode and the transmission’s S mode sharpen up the XF even more and turn the V8 into an eager, rasping beast. Through the smooth and fast autobox, the XFR turns into an absolute rocket, moving through gears rapidly and using all of the torque available to propel the XFR to a sprint time of 4.6 seconds.
That Dynamic mode transmits a lot more data back to the driver, and into corners it all feels wonderfully balanced and able. We don’t recommend that you try, but it feels like you’d have to push this car a very long way before you found its limits.
By rights, the interior of the XFR should be all bare metal and red buttons marked ‘Do Not Press’. But it’s all rather understated and elegant, like the XF. Indeed, the interior is cut from the same cloth, with little to suggest at the dual nature of this car.
Because outside too, the XFR is fairly understated for such a powerful sports saloon. There are power bulges on the bonnet, the XFR badging, twin tailpipes and different alloy wheels, but there’s not much that’s different from the standard XF. In swerving any vulgarity, the XFR is a much more attractive machine than other performance saloons.
To get behind the controls of the XFR does not necessarily give the driver any clue as to the ocean of power and torque under the bonnet either. For the XFR can be driven in exactly the same stately manner as the XF. That is to say it’s beautifully composed, settled and smooth, a ride quality that’s complemented by the pleasant and spacious interior.
Take the XFR onto the motorway and it’s the same story, it’s as quiet and relaxed as it is around the city, only the low growl of the V8 to hint and what it’s capable of. A small dab of the foot gives some idea of what’s to come, though, and a firm plant will see the throttle blipped on a downshift and all of a sudden you’re intimately familiar with the seat’s headrest.
It’s this duality that makes the XFR make so much sense. If you don’t want the thrills and spills that the car is capable of, you can simply tootle down to the shops or drive to work in perfect comfort.
But if you do want to have fun, the XFR is always ready to play. Heck, you could even take it onto a track.
The Jaguar name never seemed so appropriate. Like a silky, snoozing big cat the XFR can be relaxed and languorous. But it can also be speedy, powerful and graceful. At rest or at play, at its heart, it’s a Jaguar sports car, and that’s always a good thing.