Used car test: Porsche Panamera vs Jaguar XFR

Used car test: Porsche Panamera vs Jaguar XFR
Used car test: Porsche Panamera vs Jaguar XFR

Which is the better used four-seater performance car: the Porsche Panamera or Jaguar XFR?

Fast, practical, luxurious and exciting to drive; when nothing else will suffice, a prestigious high-performance four-seater is the perfect way to get from A to B with space and style – very, very quickly. Which used model does it best: the soon-to-be-replaced Porsche Panamera or the Jaguar XFR?

The Panamera has been one of Porsche’s most controversial cars since its introduction in 2009 – and also one of its most practical. Complete with love-it-or-loathe-it styling, it cost £72,266 when new, and can now be bought for between £25,000 and £60,000. Meanwhile, the XFR was priced at £59,900 new, and is now fetching from a bargain £14,000 to £50,000 second-hand. This fabulous-looking V8 powerhouse is arguably the most compelling sports saloon ever to emerge from Jaguar.

 

Jaguar XFR

porsche-panamera-vs-jaguar-xfr-9
★★★★☆
Engine: 5.0-litre petrol
Price when new: £59,900
Price today £14,000:-£50,000
Power: 503bhp
Torque: 461lb/ft
0-60mph: 4.8sec
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 22.5mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions: 292g/km

Driving experience

Driving fun is the main point of these cars. The entry-level 394bhp 4.8-litre V8-powered Panamera S has optional seven-speed dual-clutch auto and rear-wheel drive, which give it a 5.5sec 0-60mph sprint. And if that sounds impressive, the 503bhp 5.0-litre V8 XFR is even more so. With our test car’s conventional automatic gearbox, it can hit 0-60mph in 4.8sec – which is even more impressive considering it is 121kg heavier than its German rival.

Things are more closely matched when it comes to cornering agility, though. The super-grippy Porsche’s fast direction changes and feelsome steering belie its sheer size through the twisties, while the optional adjustable suspension feels better and easier to drive in firmer, more controlled Sport mode.

More driver effort is required to get the best from the heavier-feeling XFR – but the rewards are higher. The firm yet beautifully damped suspension provides unshakeable body control, huge grip and faithful behaviour, and while the non-variable steering is heavier, its feedback is almost as good as the Porsche’s. All that power can be unforgiving, however, especially if you foolishly switch off the electronic aids. Braking performance in both cars is hugely impressive, as is cruising ability.

Porsche Panamera S

porsche-panamera-vs-jaguar-xfr-10
★★★★☆
Engine: 4.8-litre petrol
Price when new: £72,266
Price today: £25,000-£60,000
Power: 394bhp
Torque: 369lb ft
0-60mph: 5.5sec
Top speed: 177mph
Fuel economy: 22.6mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions: 293g/km

Interior

The cabins take very different approaches. A huge, full-length centre console makes the Panamera a strict four-seater, albeit a very roomy one, and it’s stylish with beautifully sculpted seats. It has the more high-quality feel here, and wears its miles well.

The XFR is much cooler and more style-conscious, with its soft blue lighting, wood and aluminium trim, and numerous feel-good, if slightly flashy, elements such as swivelling vents and rising gear selector. It will seat five at a push, but has flatter and less supportive seats than its rival. Meanwhile, some of its plastics feel slightly cheaper and scratchier, and the trim is more susceptible to scratches and marks from heavy use. Rear seats up, the Jag has the larger load area, but the Porsche wins out seats down – and its large, hatchback-style opening gives extra practicality.

Running costs

As you’d expect, neither of these big petrol-engined cars is cheap to run, but the pay-off comes at depreciation time. Their high showroom values when new pay dividends to the used buyer, with Panameras starting at around £25,000 for a high-mileage V6 petrol. A more desirable 3.0-litre diesel with reasonable miles will set you back from £33,000, while a clean example of a thirsty V8-powered S such as our test car starts at £30,000 with low mileage and a full history. This makes the XFR look like quite a bargain, with a starting price of £15,000 for a high-miler. Sub-£20k will get you a tidy example with reasonable mileages.

Day-to-day running costs around the same, with similar economy of around 22.5mpg and comparable emissions figures, too. Both cars come in diesel form as well, and if you’re looking for eco credentials, there is a hybrid Panamera – but it’s not a great buy.

Verdict

Neither of these sporty cars will disappoint, with their full-on performance, four-door hatch practicality and grand-touring luxury. We love the Porsche’s great drive and comfortable ride, and classy, spacious, well built cabin. It’s expensive, though, and in petrol form it can’t match the XFR, which is consistently entertaining and engaging to drive, with a incredible engine and fabulous styling. It’s around two-thirds cheaper, too, making it a superb used buy.

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