Yes, we know the United States is in a recession. Yes, we're feeling the pinch, too. But forgive us for thinking that the $80,000 Jaguar XFR is a bargain. Sure, this sedan has more power — hence the racy "R" — than you would ever need, but its luxury, performance and styling are hard to beat at any price.
Appearance: The Jaguar XFR is truly gorgeous — from its indigo-blue paint that seems to sparkle in the sunlight to the "supercharged" lettering on its 20-inch Nevis wheels to its chrome hood accents and grille. The body design is streamlined — no sharp edges or creases.
Interior: Simple and elegant. The seats and doors are covered in two-tone, tan-and-charcoal leather with contrast stitching. The leather-clad dash is trimmed in wood-grain and mesh aluminum. The butter-soft seats have electronic bolsters to better hug you in quick turns. Peter's family — tough critics — were won over by the comfort, quiet interior and rear-seat legroom. And don't look for a gear shift. When you push the ignition button, a dial rises out of the center console — cue the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey — for the six-speed automatic, which also has a manual mode with paddle shifters. (Lyra points out that turning that cool-looking dial after the car has been sitting in the sun equals scorched fingers. We think the plastic paddle shifters are the only thing about the XFR that doesn't scream refinement.) Another clever button activates the electronic parking brake — no lever needed. The console buttons for the navigation, satellite radio and AC are easy to use. There's even a touch-sensitive button for the glove box. At night, blue ambient lighting makes the interior glow.
Performance: For all its power — with 0-60 in 4.7 seconds — the 510-horsepower V-8 delivers it smoothly and quietly (there's no supercharger whine). Only a polite rumble hints at the power under the hood. The acceleration will push you back in the seat, but gently. The car's Adaptive Dynamics, which constantly adjusts the suspension to road conditions, makes for a supple and responsive ride. And for a performance sedan, this isn't too bad: 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
For what it's worth: Lyra had to take our tester to a dealership to fix a jammed fuel-door latch.
Our 3 favorites
Trunk space: A surprising 17.7 cubic feet snugly held four suitcases.
Styling: Classic, yet modern.
Performance: The pulsing-red start button is a tipoff: This is a driver's car.
Handling: The XFR responds to the road exactly as you want it to.
Elegance: Detailed stitching in the leather seats and dash, dark gray-stained wood trim, suede ceiling.
Simplicity: A car doesn't have to be complex to be impeccable. The XFR proves it.
The bottom line: With the XFR, Jaguar now has a model to rival the best of the hot German sport sedans and we couldn't drive it enough. Now, if we can just win the lottery . . .