Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake
The XFR-S Sportbrake will combine the practicality of an estate car with the performance of a sports coupé when it launches in April. The car, which will make its first official public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show in March uses the same
monstrous 5-liter, supercharged V8 that currently powers the company's flagship sports car, the F-Type. However, it's been tweaked and finessed in order to bring the same levels of driver thrills to a vehicle big enough to carry the whole family and their luggage.
So, output has increased to 542bhp and that translates into a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 300kph (186 mph). But as well as crowbarring a rocket under the car's hood, Jaguar has improved the suspension to keep both the back end and rear passengers' stomachs under control.
For this reason, the car is also fitted with an eight-speed Quickshift automatic gearbox. It makes the car even more responsive when in sports mode to ensure that the driver can eke out as much as possible from the engine across the rev band and with each paddle-shift, but can also leave the vehicle to its own devices as a full automatic when on the school run or driving around the city.
And that is the most important quality for cars like the XFR-S Sportbrake. It has to be a true Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Calm, cool, sophisticated and exquisitely well mannered, but also a crazed 'madman' at the flick of a switch. And how well Jaguar has managed to achieve this won't be known until the car is released for review.
Even if the XFR-S Sportbrake turns out to be too much Hyde and not enough Jekyll, it's still a car that Jaguar needed to build.
Just like SUVs, performance-focused premium estate cars or station wagons are growing in popularity and until now, such a car has been suspicious by its absence from Jaguar's lineup. Audi, BMW and Mercedes' ranges are positively overflowing with them. Let's hope it will be able to hold its own against such august competition.