GRR

Dan Trent: Jag XFR-S Sportbrake – Family Estate for the Dad in a Hurry

04th July 2016
1960s-revival-fashion-guide-main-07032022.jpg Dan Trent

I've just got back from driving the new F-Type SVR, the first full production Jaguar model to emerge from the Special Vehicle Operations division and follow in the tyre tracks of the Range Rover Sport of the same name. Sure, SVO has been involved in some more exotic Jaguar projects like the 'reborn' E-Type Lightweights and 'lost' XKSS recreations. But for road cars SVR is Jaguar Land Rover's new AMG, RS or M. And we'll be seeing the badge across the Jaguar range in years to come.

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If this all sounds new and exciting it is rather. But these SVR Jaguars aren't without precedent, even if the branding is new. You only have to go a generation back to find a whole range of cars built to similar ideals, indeed with similar parts, but already fading from memory.

Now, much as I like the idea of a F-Type with a gargling supercharged V8 and 200mph potential I have to face facts I'm a family man and need a car with more than two seats. That's OK though because one of the best pre-SVR Jags just happens to be an estate. OK, a Sportbrake officially. But let's just call it what it is.

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The XFR-S was launched as a saloon with a rather tacky rear wing and lairy bright blue paint. But as soon as the Sportbrake was shown it had my kind of car written all over it. And for an 'old' machine it's actually bang up to date performance-wise. The 5.0-litre 550bhp supercharged V8 is only 25bhp down on the F-Type SVR's and the XFR-S got all sorts of goodies gifted from other Jags in the range, including steering gear from the F-Type and suspension knuckles from the XKR-S. It also ditched the air-sprung rear suspension for more burly coils all round and got Jaguar's superb active locking differential. This last one is important.

It's a relatively simple formula. Big, noisy V8. Automatic gearbox. Rear-wheel-drive. Lots of power. Room for the family. Throw in massive depreciation and no wonder I'm all a quiver over the classifieds right now. Originally an £82K car £40-£50K gets you a choice of saloons or estates, most only a couple of years old and many yet to break out of four-figure mileages. OK, so running costs aren't going to be shy. But what a car for the money! At the time of looking there was only one in my preferred Stratus Grey and that's a left-hooker. I think these cars look better in more subtle colours and to my mind the metallic Italian Racing Red is a nice balance of class and quietly sinister attitude. This one will do nicely.

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And I like this more for the fact there will never be an SVR like this. The F-Pace has probably killed the dream of any future estate Jags. And all SVRs – Jaguar or Land Rover – will be all-wheel drive, like the F-Type.

Probably a good idea. But a sensible looking estate car able to do huge smoking burnouts appeals to the child in me, plus that diff makes it a natural drift machine, given the space (and tyre budget) to indulge. That it can do all that AND rumble comfortably on long-haul journeys to far flung holiday destinations just seals it. I think this might be my perfect car!    

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