2014 Jaguar XFR-S first drive
The difference S makes
Seattle, Wash. — Jaguar has a formula. It's very simple really. It's certainly nothing magical. Indeed, it's common to the rest of the industry as well. Like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi (not to mention lesser lights like Cadillac, Infiniti et al.), the company unleashes its newest products in traditional, family-oriented guise, peddling the first wave to the largest audience, the mainstream consumer. Then as the bright lights around that new model launch fades, Presto! Change-o! a new, higher-performance version arrives. If we're still talking Jaguar here, it's been with an "R" added to its moniker, usually denoting the addition of a supercharger to the standard V8 that lies underneath.
Most recently, in trying to extend the lifecycle of its aging XK, the folks from Coventry added an S to the equation, as in XKR-S, the final consonant indicating that even the supercharged version has been further fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. To be specific, the XKR's 510 supercharged horsepower now pays homage to the XKR-S's 550-hp.
The formula worked well — Jaguar sold every one of the XKR-Ss it made with dispatch despite its hefty $139,000 price tag. Not one to miss an opportunity to cash in on a good thing (indeed, the formula has worked so well that the company has unleashed yet another, higher-spec'ed variant, its XKR-S GT badge indicating even more money), Jaguar has now extended the very same formula to the XFR.
A familiar formula
Indeed, Jaguar’s XFR-S is nothing if not formulaic (and I use that in the most positive sense of the word), as virtually all of the upgrades the top-of-the-line S makes in comparison to a run-of-the-mill XFR are exactly the same as those that transform an XKR into the XKR-S.
The XFR-S’s new 550-horsepower engine, for instance, is lifted with virtually no alterations from the XKR-S. The S engine is essentially the base R version of the 510-hp version Jaguar Land Rover supercharged V8 without any torque-limiting ignition retarding and a freer flowing exhaust system. So important is this last trait that Jaguar press officials tried to illustrate the more aggressive utterances by showing us a wildly coloured schematic detailing the difference in frequency response of the XFR versus XFR-S exhaust note, the visual explanation of an aural phenomenon surely one of the least useful explanations in the history of automobile journalism.