BMW M5 vs. Jaguar XFR

BMW’s supersedan may be the most involving and rewarding of its kind, forging a link between car and driver like no other; but we must recognize that there’s a time and a place. Fat tires, big curb weights, and broad bodywork don’t encourage a press-on driving style on narrow, roller-coaster raods glistening damp in the dark, the temperature barely above freezing point. This is a night for using the cosseting, easy-going side of a supersedan’s nature. It should have been another time and place but twice already this rendezvous of M5 and XFR had been cancelled because of snowfalls. This is my last chance. So, while others get to drive the XFR in Spain, I get to measure it against M5 in arctic Warwickshire. And yet, this is set to be an enlightening encounter.

The M5 has been a favorite big sedan for a few years now, just hanging on to its top spot against a range of talented, big-horsepower rivals including the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and Maserati Quattroporte. Ask for big dollops of supercharged torque from the 400-hp SV8 engine of the XFR on cold, slick roads like these, and the stability control light semaphores “N-O W-A-Y” as the system gets busy backing off and reinstating power and dabbing individual brakes. The M5 doesn’t have this problem. It’s naturally aspirated 5l V10 delivers its big power high up the rev-range and it gains extra drive, thanks to its adaptive, limited-slip “M diff.”

And yet, sat what feels quite high in the M5’s plump and supporting driver’s seat, enjoying the direct link the SMG box provides between the throttle pedal and the rear wheels, you’ve still got to feel pretty darned confident to get the revs up and coax attitude from the M5.

It feels just like it looks – big and hefty. Smooth riding, and with a hint of agility – a hint of dynamic alacrity about its demeanor too – but mostly big and hefty. It certainly looks chunky alongside the XFR, which has been brought along by Jaguar’s dynamics guru, Mike Cross. My first thought was that the XFR has less attractive wheels than the 5-spoke twenties on our SV8. But that, it transpires, will be the last unfavorable comparison with the outgoing model. “We bought an M5 at the start of the XFR project,” said Cross, “but towards the end, it was the SV8 we were using as the benchmark.” We’re heading for some less busy roads that Cross knows, and from the passenger seat, the XFR feels much like the SV8. The differences are subtle, like the slightly firmer edge to the ride, the firmer bolsters of the seat and the fruitier V8 croon from the tailpipes.

I was quite unprepared for the first full-throttle moment, partly because my mind had told me that our SV8 wouldn’t find the traction to use all of its 400hp on the damp, narrow straight picked out in the headlamps. Cross nails the XFR’s throttle, the gearbox drops two cogs in an instant and we’re slammed forward, the shove uninterrupted and relentless. What you can’t appreciate from the passenger’s seat is how swiftly the gearbox responds to the flooring throttle, but it’s as astonishing as the grip the rear tires find. It’s a harder work at the same pace in the M5, firstly because to keep the XFR in range, you’ve got to be in the right gear with the revs poised on the threshold of maximum torque. Surprisingly, the M5’s steering feels less clean and direct and how you’re more aware of the car’s weight, no matter what setting the electronic dampers are on.

I have driven many miles in the M5s including a few laps of the Nürburgring and I know that when you’re absolutely on it, there’s no other sedan that rewards and involves to the same degree. I’d say that still true. But for the other 99% of the time, I reckon the XFR has the measure of it. This remarkable Jaguar does long-distance comfort and effortless everyday usability, yet there, just below the surface, on demand, is a direct, non-nonsense, steely-edged supersedan.

 Comparison, at a glance:


2009 BMW M5

2010 Jaguar XFR


V-10, 5l, 40v

Supercharged V8, 5l, 32v


500hp / 383lb-ft

503hp / 461lb-ft


4.7 sec. (approx.)

4.7 sec. (approx.)

Top Speed






Ex-Showroom Price



                                                                                                            *Electronically limited


About theultimaterenaissance

I am an Engineer and a Management Graduate. I love writing poetry and research reports on cars. Surfing, listening to music, and Reading and writing Technical & Research papers are among my most savored hobbies.
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10 Responses to BMW M5 vs. Jaguar XFR

  1. Pingback: BMW M5 vs. Jaguar XFR

  2. Katie says:

    Hi nice blog 🙂 I can see a lot of effort has been put in.

  3. bog says:

    jaguar will say the word

  4. Babken says:

    The review makers must be kidding. The M5 is the Godfather of all saloons, and it’s very ridiculous to put any car against it, especially pathetic jaguar xfr…
    BMW RULES!!!

  5. aaron says:

    Babken u are kinda stupid and most of all sound uneducated.
    not to mention u have not driven an m5 .
    nevertheless a jaguar xfr. …. waht has been the strenght of bmw always the jaguar reached it …road stability, curb -stability and does it much more refined way than the BMw . on top of all it is comfortable and doesnt has that cheap plastic and squeeacking assambling of the interior and sinthethic leather(it is plastic, synthetic!!!!look after it) as the bimmer.
    a 2007 Hyunday has better interior quality not to mention reliability than the 5 series.
    i have a 530i sport edition(m5 brakes and modified steering ratio, suspension, bars-frontand rear) and no car can get close to its road stability and handeling. but at 40000 miles onboard i already brought it 4 times( each time more than a week to the service with humongous expenses-waranty). plastics fall off and fake wood peeling off, and plastic paint fades.
    the jaguar xf (basic) -i have driven for a few testdrives)…has the agiliti and stability and trustful handleing of bmw and of the rest …is lightyears better and a different class of refinement and true quality and elegance-and sportyness.
    bytheway. i have a 180 k-miles E lexus from 2000 and i put 0 dollars into its maintanence during 100 k i had it. and looks and feels more massive and newer than the 2005 BMW what i have and when i sit in it IT GIVES ME MORE TRUST THAN THE BMW!

    • It’s all about your opinion, buddy… I never said that you HAVE to believe in whatever I wrote… All I wrote is what I felt…. that is why I write blogs… u are always free to write what u wish in ur blogs….

      Whether i am stupid or uneducated, is not what you should be bothered about… u can write what u feel.. but u don’t have the right to decide on anything posted on my blog, or about me.

      At the first glance, i though I would not publish your comment… But then, people must realize that this is only a BLOG. A Blog is where u write your opinions.. this is not about a hard-hitting fact….

  6. Darren Troccoli says:

    At the end of the day what really matters is how many heads turn to watch a car go by. No doubt about it…. the Jag get”s all the attention!
    XFR’s get parked out front by the valet guys and the M5’s get parked in the lot. It’s time for BMW to give the 5 series a major facelift.

  7. Brandon says:

    The Jaguar XFR is the best looking, inside and out, and is as fast as the BMW!!!! The BMW has one personnality, which is performance and the XFR has two personnalities, which is performance and luxury. I own an XFR, and everybody looks at the car. Also, you know what makes this car special…..THERE VERY FEW XFRs ON THE ROAD………When there are many BMWs…….. The Jaguar is cheaper than the BMW, and is better built and better quality (I also test drove the BMW)…….The Jaguar is more reliable, making it the best, not only against the M5, against all of it’s competitors, and I think, The Jaguar ties with the Audi RS6 😀

  8. dc says:

    Every time I see someone driving like an idiot 99% of the time it’s in a BMW.

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