Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jaguar Unveils M5 Rival

BMW’s magnificent M5 has held the super saloon top spot since its inception in the mid-eighties, but last week at the Los Angeles Motor Show, Jaguar revealed its most powerful saloon ever; the XFR-S. With similar power and performance figures, it is a direct rival to the M5. Unfortunately, track tests haven’t yet been released, so it could be a while before anyone can firmly decide which the superior car is. Until then, all we can go on are the facts and statistics.

The XFR-S is essentially a beefed-up version of the XFR. It accelerates from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds, courtesy of its supercharged 5.0L V8. This is however, slightly slower than Jaguar’s own XKR-S and the M5. Many are speculating that the real-world speed will be more impressive than figures would suggest, so fans of Jaguar have at least something to be hopeful about. Top speed has been increased from the 155mph limit up to 186mph.

When it comes to handling, the M5 has always garnered a lot of praise for being dynamically excellent, despite having a comfortable ride. The XFR is similarly brilliant, but the XFR-S has 30% stiffer suspension, so it will be very interesting to see how the handling is improved. This, after all, is where track times are going to be decided. Jaguar has also fitted what they call Corner Recognition, which will help with gearing on the bends.

Styling of the XFR-S is definitely going to divide opinion. The show car debuted in French Blue, with all manner of aerodynamic attachments. They do all have a purpose, for stability, down force and cooling, but they are unlikely to appeal to the traditional Jaguar demographic. The XFR is far more conservative, and it seems very likely that only those that are determined to have the extra 50hp will bother with the XFR-S. It doesn’t come in many colours either, which might discourage some buyers.
The XFR-S then, looks like it’s going to be a great track car, and may well compete with the M5 when it goes on sale, but there aren’t enough benefits over the near-perfect XFR to recommend it for anything else. Unless you’re desperate for the XFR-S’s 0.3 second faster 0-60 time, and its garish styling, the standard XFR looks to be the better choice. Especially since sites like Exchange and Mart have used XFRs available for less than half the price of an XFR-S.

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