New R-Sport model brings the looks of the XFR to a more humble XF, with pleasing results

What is it?

Something we’re surprised Jaguar hasn’t done before now: a sportier-looking version of a more humble version of the XF.

The inspiration for the R-Sport is clear from the name. Jaguar has noted the success of BMW's M Sport models, which bring the looks of the M cars to the rest of the range. Mercedes-Benz also does it with its AMG Sport models, as does Audi with its S Line range.

While Jaguar’s German rivals offer dynamic upgrades as well as cosmetic ones in their respective R-Sport-style trim levels, the British firm only offers cosmetic upgrades for now.

These are inspired by the XFR and XFR-S models, and include a sportier front bumper, a rear spoiler, new side sills, 17-inch alloys, plenty of R-Sport badging inside and out, and a newly-trimmed charcoal interior.

The trim is being offered with the 161bhp and 197bhp versions of the 2.2-litre turbodiesel and a 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel in saloon and estate bodystyles, so it’s a toe in the water exercise to see if the R-Sport trim can be expanded into a full-blown M Sport rival across its range in the future. 

What's it like?

A very fine car indeed. The XF is still one of the most handsome saloons out there, the R-Sport trim tastefully improving the aesthetics to these eyes. The cabin is also still a nice environment, having aged well and been updated since the XF first went on sale in 2008, the charcoal R-Sport trim certainly giving it a sportier edge.

The R-Sport additions don’t alter the way the XF drives, but it’s noteworthy in reappraising the XF that time has not diminished its appeal. This is an executive saloon with crisp steering, a soothing ride quality, even on the low rolling resistance 17-inch rubber of our test car, and impressive turn-in.

It’s a shame Jaguar didn’t seek to make any dynamic tweaks to the R-Sport to differentiate it from the rest of the range in something other than cosmetic terms, but when the base package is so well sorted the rule of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it was applied in this original R-Sport model. Should it be a success though, we'd expect the R-Sport brief to be expanded in future applications. 

Elsewhere, the familiar drivetrain is well-suited to motorway cruising, and around 50mpg is achievable in this scenario. There’s plenty of low-end grunt also for brisk acceleration. We’ve still reservations about the automatic transmission, which can be slow to respond when a need a turn of pace on the motorway when you spot a gap in the traffic.

Should I buy one?

Yes. The XF R-Sport is a handsome, well-sorted executive saloon that looks as good as it drives.

It faces strong competition from the likes of the also excellent BMW 5-series 520d M Sport auto’, which betters the Jag on performance and economy, but is around £2500 more expensive to buy.

But this new R-Sport model is a welcome addition to an XF range that seemingly gets more competitive with age, rather than having its appeal diminished. 

Jaguar XF R-Sport 2.2 Diesel

Price £33,995 0-60mph 9.8sec Top speed 130mph Economy 57.7mpg CO2 129g/km Kerb weight 1735kg Engine 4cyls in line, 2179cc, turbodiesel Power 161bhp at 3500rpm Torque 295lb ft at 2000-5500rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic

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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Wanos 14 July 2014

old hat

Maybe its just me but the xf is starting to look a bit dated. Purely subjective as I haven't driven it.
Blancster 10 July 2014

Terrible seat coverings

My wife bought an XF in March, we looked at R Sport trim but you can't have leather seats. The only choice is a cheap looking Alcantara / suede option that looks very poor.

The M Sport BMW package is simpler to understand and better to look at in my opinion.

broxib19 14 July 2014


BMW have built up their portfolio of M badged vehicles for a number of decades. So much so that back in their early days they didnt have M badges on everything from vehicles to bumpers to trim to accessories to roof boxes etc etc. Only after a number of years have the built up a reputation that allows them to now stick the M badge on nearly everything they sell.....whether its got a powerful engine and a quick 0-60 time or not.
Jaguar are no different. You dont produce a new brand within a brand and stick it on everything until you deserve to do so.
Bluemoon2462012 10 July 2014

So what they've done to the otherwise beautiful

XF is ruin it, wheels are too small, bodykit looks atrocious and why did they have to write the word Jaguar underneath the badge at the back, it makes it looks too fussy. Give me one of these any day just with a different spec, still a beautiful car, just not in this format.