You’ll find other neat touches on the glovebox and front map lights, too: gently touching a sensor on the glovebox door opens it, while the same light touch turns the map lights on and off.

2010 Jaguar XFR
2010 Jaguar XFR
2010 Jaguar XFR. Click image to enlarge

The seats are as comfortable as they look, and their controls include electric bolsters and seat cushion length. I’m not as keen on the fact that you need to go into the computer screen on the dash to operate their heat and cool function, or to power up the heated steering wheel, instead of pushing a button to turn them on and off. The interior is simply lovely at night, with blue LED lighting in the doors, and blue lines around the controls in the centre console. Instead of backlit lock and window buttons on the door, they’re illuminated by the glow of the lights above. Pressing and holding the lock buttons will open or close all the windows and the sunroof, too. The navigation system is easy to figure out without delving into the owner’s manual – that can be relatively rare in a high-end car – and several controls can be activated through smooth-rolling thumb wheels on the steering wheel that are as pretty as jewellery.

The driving experience is award-worthy, with awesome acceleration and smooth, efficient braking even from high speeds. The engineers got the exhaust note just right, too. Official published figures are 14.1 L/100 km in the city and 9.3 L/100 km on the highway; in combined driving, and making good use of the XFR’s acceleration ability, I averaged 15.0 L/100 km (19 mp Imp), naturally on premium-grade fuel.

The XFR has a quicker steering ratio than the other two XF models, and response is immediate and accurate, with just the right steering weight. Shared with the XKR are two new technologies: Adaptive Dynamics and Active Differential Control. The former controls the suspension, automatically switching between softer or firmer damper settings depending on the road and how hard it’s being driven. The latter uses an electronically-controlled rear differential that varies the torque to each rear wheel as necessary, providing the right amount of traction to overcome wheel slip and enhance cornering.

2010 Jaguar XFR
2010 Jaguar XFR
2010 Jaguar XFR. Click image to enlarge

Jaguar says that the electronic system has no noise issues at low speed, but a few times, I heard an odd growl from the rear end on slow turns, which I was never able to pinpoint and couldn’t always duplicate – and which definitely didn’t sound like it belonged there. Finally, the XFR can be set into three Jaguar Drive Control modes: winter mode, for optimum traction on take-off; a setting that reduces dynamic stability control intervention for spirited driving on dry pavement; and Dynamic Mode, which ramps up the sportiness. Lest you forget to select it after you’re done running errands, the car will stay in this mode for six hours after the ignition is shut off.

The XFR easily handles double duty: behaving as a luxury car when it’s time for a night on the town, and then revealing its side as a world-class sports sedan when toss it hard through the switchbacks. It isn’t inexpensive, but for those in that tax bracket, it’s a very satisfying ride – as female auto writers worldwide have now discovered. Hey, we think even the men will like it.

Pricing: 2010 Jaguar XFR
  • Base price: $85,300
  • Options: $300 (Heated windshield)
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,270
  • Price as tested: $86,970
    Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

  • Specifications: 2010 Jaguar XFR

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    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
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