Call it a wagon, an estate, a sporting brake or whatever other euphemism you might come up with, the term that is most likely to apply to the new Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake is likely to be “fast.”
The British maker has long bounced back and forth about whether to add a wagon-like model to its line-up and only recently added one with the base XF Sportbrake. While we’ve not had the good fortune to get that model added to the U.S. line-up it’s been gaining ground in the much more wagon-friendly European market.
Now, Jaguar is giving the Sportbrake the full performance treatment seen in the rest of XF line-up and we’ll get our first look at it in the sheet metal next week when the annual Geneva Motor Show stages its two-day media preview.
But Jaguar is already giving us a good hint of what’s in store.
The third model to wear the R-S badge – along with the XFR-S sedan and XKR-S coupe – the Jaguar XXF-S Sportbrake shares a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 pumping out a hefty 542 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. The added mass of the wagon does slow it down a wee two-tenths of a second compared to the sedan model, but it’ll still get you from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 186 mph – the same as the “saloon,” as the British prefer to call the 4-door model.
The XFR-S Sportbrake undergoes a modest but notable design tweaks that both enhances performance and says, “stay out of my way.”
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Outside, that include a roof spoiler, deeper front bumper and a downforce-enhancing front splitter. There are larger, more sculpted side sills, a unique bumper, big 20-inch wheels and another splitter in the rear. Carbon fiber is used, Jaguar explains “on the exotic elements of aerodynamic elements.
Passengers will be greeted by carbon effect leather sport seats embossed with the R-S logo. Dark Aluminum accents the dashboard which also gets the R-S logo. But one detail doesn’t get touched: the huge increase in interior offered by the Sportbrake, its cargo space growing as large as 1,675 liters with the rear seats folded down.
“Combining real-world versatility with electrifying performance, the XFR-S Sportbrake brings Jaguar’s sporting character to life in a truly engaging car that will satisfy the most demanding of drivers while fitting into the most active of lifestyles,” says Dean Murden, the vehicle design manager.
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Of course, raw horsepower isn’t enough to make a truly modern sports machine, whatever its body style, and Jaguar has taken pains to improve the XFR-S Sportbrake’s dynamics. It shares many of the basics with the sedan R-S, though here stiffened to cope with the wagon’s heftier mass and shift in weight balance. Among other things, there are firmer springs and dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars. There are also wider tires on the 20-inch Varuna wheels, and more powerful brakes. And the Sportbrake gets an electronic differential capable of shifting torque fast to the driven wheel that can use it most.
And much like the maker has done with the other R-S models – as well as the new F-Type V8-S – Jaguar engineers have retuned the exhaust to let you hear all that extra grunt when your foot is planted on the floorboard.
There will be several new XF models coming to Geneva, incidentally, including a somewhat tamer R-Sport sedan featuring the maker’s new 2.2-liter diesel. The trade-off in performance will yield about 45 mpg in the European rating system.
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