Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake vs Mercedes E63 AMG S Estate

XFR-S Sportbrake vs E63 AMG S
1 Sep, 2014 3:00pm

Jaguar has combined space with sizzling pace in its new 542bhp XFR-S Sportbrake. Is it a better buy than Mercedes' potent E63 AMG S?

For over two decades, families wanting to go faster have been able to pick from a growing number of souped-up estates. Yet only now has Jaguar joined the fray. It’s famous for its hot coupés and saloons, but this is the first time the brand has given one of its load-luggers a high-performance makeover. 

The racy new XFR-S Sportbrake is based on the sleek and stylish XF estate, and features a thumping 542bhp supercharged V8, a heavily uprated chassis and some aggressive visual add-ons. Yet these go-faster credentials don’t come at the expense of practicality, as the new model shares the same roomy boot and spacious cabin as the standard car. 

However, the Jaguar faces some stiff competition in the upmarket fast estate sector – and no rival is tougher than the Mercedes E63 AMG S. The flagship S model stands out from the already rapid standard car with an astounding 577bhp power output, as well as a vast 695-litre load bay. But it costs nearly £3,500 more than the Jaguar, at £85,900.

So which of our hard-hitting heavyweight estates carries off the spoils in this high-octane encounter? We put them to the test on the road and track to deliver the definitive verdict.

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake review

Mercedes E63 AMG S Estate review

Read the full verdict on each car by clicking the links above, and scroll down to find out the winner...

Head-to-head

Space race

The Mercedes leads the way on practicality. With the back seats in place its boot boasts a 695-litre capacity, which is 145 litres up on the Jag. The load bay also benefits from a number of shopping bag hooks, as well as a hidden compartment beneath the boot floor and a 12V power socket.

The Sportbrake isn’t as spacious, but it features a powered tailgate, a flat load lip and an adjustable load rail system in the boot floor.

Performance

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake front action

Despite giving away 35bhp and 120Nm of torque to the Mercedes, the XFR-S put in a strong showing at the track. Thanks to its slick and responsive eight-speed gearbox, it was only narrowly beaten by the more powerful E63 AMG S in our tests. In the real world there’s little to separate the two.

Handling

Careful suspension upgrades help these hefty estate cars handle with the same agility and poise as their lighter saloon counterparts. Yet with its meaty steering, excellent body control and confidence-inspiring grip,
the Mercedes is the more involving of the two.

Verdict

1st place: Mercedes E63 AMG S Estate

It's close, but the Mercedes just edges ahead in this encounter. While it’s more expensive to buy, the E63 has the advantage when it comes to driver involvement, plus it was fractionally faster at the track. It also features a thunderous soundtrack and a luxurious cabin packed with sporty touches. Yet it’s the cavernous carrying capacity that gives the AMG the crucial edge in this finely balanced contest.

2nd place: Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake static

The handsome Jaguar is brimming with character, serves up sledgehammer pace and is entertaining on a twisting back road. It’s also luxuriously appointed, well equipped and surprisingly comfortable. However, while the Sportbrake is packed with handy family friendly touches, it can’t match the vast Mercedes when it comes to boot space. High running costs also count against it.

Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake vs Mercedes E63 AMG key specs:

Mercedes E63 AMG S Estate  Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake
On-the-road price/total as tested £85,900/£91,345 £82,495/£84,245
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £35,820/41.7% £32,008/38.8%
Depreciation £50,080 £50,487
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £5,949/£11,898 £5,695/£11,389
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £3,838/£6,397 £3,706/£6,177
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 49/£672/L/£485 50/£713/M/£500
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £45p/m (3yrs) £260/£360/£260
Length/wheelbase 4,905/2,874mm 4,966/2,909mm
Height/width 1,507/1,854mm 1,511/1,939mm
Engine V8/5,461cc V8/5,000cc
Peak power  577/5,500 bhp/rpm 542/5,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque  800/2,000 Nm/rpm 680/2,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission  7-spd auto/rwd 8-spd auto/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 80 litres/foam 70 litres/foam
Boot capacity (seats up/down)  695/1,950 litres 550/1,675 litres
Kerbweight/payload 1,955/585kg 1,967/483kg
Turning circle 11.4 metres 11.5 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (unltd)/4yrs 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers Variable/136 20,000 (1yr)/97
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 9th/21st 2nd/7th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars 86/77/59/86/5* 79/73/62/71/4*
0-60/30-70mph 4.4/3.2 secs 4.4/3.4 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th  2.0/3.0 secs 2.3/2.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th  3.9/4.9 secs/N/A 5.6/8.0/7.1 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph  155mph/1,800rpm 186mph/1,500rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph  48.7/34.1/9.3m 49.7/39.5/9.5m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 72/49/61/68dB 69/46/61/66dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 19.8/4.4/348 miles 20.5/4.6/316 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 20.3/36.2/28.3mpg 14.8/31.4/22.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 4.5/8.0/6.2mpl 318/297g/km/35%
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 382/234g/km/35%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Nine/yes/yes/£390 Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/adaptive cruise ctrl Yes/yes/£2,345**  Yes/yes/no
Leather/heated/ventilated seats Yes/yes/£700 Yes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go Yes/yes/£595 Yes/no/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes/yes
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