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Vroom vroom: Nauman's Car of the Year


Our resident car reviewer names his pick of the year.

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | November 17th, 2014

Last month, the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC) held its annual car of the year testing in Niagara Falls.

At this year’s competition, just about every auto manufacturer that sells new cars in Canada was present – with the exception of Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren, Bentley, Rolls Royce, plus a few others – to show the best that they’ve got in hopes to winning the much

Over 40 new models took part in this year’s competition, and we’ll have to wait until February to find out which car – and truck – won the trophy.

However, the best car of the year for 2015 wasn’t even in the competition – the Jaguar XFR-S.

This is the highest performance version of the XF-series, which has been with us since the 2007 model year. While in the past, Jaguar offered the XF sedan with various tunes of their supercharged V8 engine, the XFR-S gets the most powerful production engine Jaguar currently makes, a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that produces 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque.

All this power is fed to just the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

According to Jaguar, the 2015 XFR-S can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and will keep on going until it hits its speed limiter, which is set at 300 km/h.

These are spectacular performance figures, although its acceleration time would have been much quicker if only this model had allwheel drive – with its current reardrive only setup, the power easily overwhelms the rear tires which robs it of an even quicker time. Regardless of the figure, the XFR-S is more than fast enough to keep anyone happy.

Its ability to gather speed is at first even slightly scary, because the rear-end feels loose, but as long as the weather is warm and the roads are dry, don’t worry because its excellent traction and stability control will kick in just in time to prevent you from losing control of the car.

Unlike its German rivals, the Jaguar feels much more wild and alive, which is what an enthusiast wants. On a pure feels perspective, the XFR-S is better than its rivals.

It sounds better too. While everyone seems to go on and on about how nice Mercedes AMG models sound, but the XFR-S sounds even better. This cars exhaust sound makes every hair on the back of your neck stand up straight, which is great. It also has the ability to wake up your entire neighborhood when you fire it up first thing in the morning, which is not great for those who like to sleep in, but that’s not my problem.

I do have one complaint regarding this car. Jaguar hasn’t updated this device since this model was launched in 2007 – it felt a bit dated back then, and feels really dated now. The screen is tiny, plus it’s a touchscreen system, which I am not a fan of.

There are no other issues with the XFR-S. There is plenty of room for four adults – five in a pinch – and it has a decent-sized trunk for all your shopping.

Possibly the best thing about the XFR-S is, that all its luxury and power is wrapped in a stunning body. Sure, some people didn’t quite like the big rear spoiler on my tester, but if you don’t like it, you don’t have to have it, since it is a $3,500 option.

This carbon-fibre spoiler is not just for show since it provides stability at high speeds, but since there is no road in Ontario where you can go over 100 km/h legally, you won’t really need the extra down force, right?

By now, I bet you are quite tempted by the XFR-S, and you won’t even mind the fact that it consumed 12.3 litres/100km of the finest premium fuel during test week. However, if you want to bring one home, it will cost you $104,500 for a wellequipped base model XFR-S. My tester was listed at $111,000. That is a lot of money for a car, but it is quite a bit cheaper than its German rivals, and in my opinion, this Jaguar is the most enjoyable to drive.

There you have it, my 2015 Car of the Year, and a month earlier than usual I might add.
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