“Grace, Pace and Space” – for anybody old enough to remember or possibly somebody who is good at automotive history this phrase will refer to one thing only and that is a Jaguar motor car.
Sir William Lyons coined the phrase which became the cornerstone of the company’s design philosophy all of the time he was in charge from the 1950′s.
Ever since then every model produced by Jaguar has had elements of those three words in their DNA but on the odd occasion the bean-counters (or whoever the paymaster might have been at the time) over-ruled design sentiments which led to a car such as the X-Type. The X-Type was never really a bad car as such and was based on the very capable Ford Mondeo running gear and chassis. However, it was not really graceful, full of pace or generously endowed with bags of cabin space.
Thankfully today with deep-pocketed TATA very firmly in charge the company is going some way to reviving the very principles that William Lyons set as the boiler-plate for every Jag to come out of the Midlands factory.
The XF, XJ, XK and the latest F-Type are making their mark on the world and the current soaring profits of the company are a testimony to their efforts to produce a genuinely very good line-up of cars.
The XF has been leading the way for the company in terms of popularity in global markets and is very much seen as a viable alternative to the traditional class-leading variants from BMW, Audi and Mercedes. However, to really compete head-on in this category a company needs to have a very comprehensive choice of powerplants and trim levels to appeal to every likely purchaser in this segment of the market.
BMW has its M5, Audi has the RS6 and Mercedes has put its AMG badge on the E-Class. All of these cars are extreme manifestations of their much less powerful siblings but nonetheless provide that all-important ‘halo-effect’ on the rest of the range. Jaguar of course has its ‘R’ badged XF and in spite of its all-round good capability it needed that little extra bit of testosterone to properly mix it up with the German boys.
Enter the XFR-S developed by Jaguar’s specialist ETO division.
Jaguar claim this is their fastest, most powerful and agile sports saloon ever and the headlines are as follows:
The familiar supercharged 5.0 litre V8 now produces 550ps and torque is an earth-spinning 680Nm. The company claims that fuel consumption and emissions are unchanged from the ‘R’ version which is a bonus.
The 8-speed ‘Quickshift’ transmission encourages to propel the car from zero to sixty in 4.4 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph. Performance is not lacking in the XFR-S so a big tick in the ‘Pace’ box.
The five doors and leathered roomy cabin offers enough elbow-room for four over-sized night-club bouncers without creasing their tuxedos so we can put a big tick in the ‘Space’ box.
20″ Alloy wheels, suspension upgrades and bits of carbon fibre help to keep the big cat firmly planted in its tracks and the overall look of the car is one that suggests a ‘don’t mess with me’ hint of aggression in the design. In fact some might say it looks a bit ‘lairy’ for a Jaguar especially with the not very discreet bootlid spoiler on its rump. Depending on your point of view the ‘Grace’ box might warrant half a tick on this occasion but two and half out of three will give the late Sir William Lyons something to smile about. His Jaguar is on the way back.