This is Jaguar’s first performance estate car: the XFR-S Sportbrake. Much of the car’s styling and mechanical package is shared with the 542bhp XFR-S saloon, and its performance is right up there too.
It’s the most ballistic family Jag ever, but you’ll need deep pockets to bag one: it’ll cost from £82,495 in the UK when it lands in April 2014.
Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake: the spec
No surprises here: the XFR-S Sportbrake uses Jaguar’s most potent supercharged V8, reserved only for the R-S model line. The 5.0-litre engine develops 542bhp and 502lb ft, delivered to the rear wheels only via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Although the Sportbrake bodyshell is 110kg heavier than an XF saloon’s, the hugely potent engine makes light work of that. The XFR-S will slingshot to 60mph in a claimed 4.6sec (4.8sec to get to the Euro-friendly 62mph/100kph benchmark) and run on to a limited top speed of 186mph.
The Audi RS6 and Mercedes E63 AMG wagons make it to 62mph faster, but they’re both restrained to 155mph as standard, requiring an extra (and expensive) option box to be ticked before they’ll gallop on to more than one-five-five.
Making sense of all that grunt in the XF are 380mm front and 375mm rear ventilated brakes, 20in forged alloys wearing bespoke Pirelli rubber, recalibrated driver assistance nannies to match retuned chassis settings, employing lessons learned from the XFR-S saloon and F-type.
The plethora of updates includes revised steering knuckles for extra camber and castor stiffness, heavy-duty wheel bearings, and stiffer suspension bushes. The XFR-S Sportbrake uses a bespoke set-up across the rear axle, on account of the estate car’s extra rearward weight – and the potential to add more once the 1675-litre load bay is filled.
The XFR-S Sportbrake is (thankfully) shorn of the XFR-S saloon’s trademark rear wing, though it maintains its sister’s more aggressive front bumper with larger air intakes, and its OTT diffuser. A tasteful roof spoiler is added to the XFR-S Sportbrake’s tailgate, which in a more subtle colour than the Ultra Blue you see on this page, might just about qualify for Q-car status.
That is, until you wind up the engine – Jaguar claims the R-S’s retuned exhaust system is almost as loud as a racing straight-pipes set-up, adding a ‘motorsport-style crackle on the overrun’. Look out, AMG!
What’s the damage?
Super-estates, much as we love ’em, are never massive sellers, even in relation to their niche super-saloon brethren. Blame the wagon-phobic American and Asian markets for that – it explains why there’s never been a production BMW M3 Touring, and the M5 Touring has died too.
As such, Jaguar expects the XFR-S Sportbrake to be very low volume model, and it sports a price tag to match. It’s £82,495 – £5510 more than an Audi RS6 Avant and £6610 more than a Mercedes E63 AMG Estate. And the Germans aren’t just cheaper: they’ve both got more power, and bigger boots. But we’re talking about 550bhp wagons here. Since when did common sense matter?
>> What’s your take on Jaguar’s decision to build a 542bhp estate car? Is the XFR-S Sportbrake’s £82,495 price tag fair or madness? Sound off in the comments below