The superwagon class gained an extra competitor overnight with the news that Jaguar will produce an R-S branded "estate car" with a 542 hp, 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine. The Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake will cost GBP82,495 (USD$137,700) and will become a direct competitor for the 560 hp Audi RS 6 Avant, 556 hp Cadillac CTS-V, and the 550 hp Mercedes Benz AMG E63 S Wagon.

The XFR-S Sportbrake is the first high-performance sports estate car to be produced by Jaguar (you'll note that bourgeois brands like to use different terminology to more proletarian marques – the term station wagon derives from the "hacks," or working class Hackney Cabs, which loitered around train stations). Estate cars and sporting brakes are the much preferred terms of the likes of Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW, which has promised an M5 Sportbrake for many years, but has yet to deliver.

The XFR-S Sportbrake’s supercharged V8 has helped define an entirely new vehicle for Jaguar, producing 680 Nm of torque. While that will certainly help haul whatever you strap into the cavernous 1675 liter rear load space, rest assured it is a long way from the family station wagon.

The XFR-S Sportbrake has a claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, just 0.2 seconds slower than the 90 kg-lighter XFR-S Saloon. Like the XFR-S sedan, the Sportbrake has an eight-speed transmission with "Quickshift" functionality for optimal acceleration. Conversely, the Sportbrake may have an aerodynamic advantage, and at higher speeds will likely accelerate faster towards its electronically-limited top speed of 186 mph (299 km/h).

The XFR-S Saloon’s chassis has been specifically reworked for the XFR-S Sportbrake. With an additional 90 kg of weight compared to the saloon, most of it sitting over the rear wheels, the Sportbrake’s rear suspension has been modified with revisions to both rear spring rates and the adaptive damper tune. The active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control settings have been recalibrated to work with the XFR-S Sportbrake’s modified rear suspension.

The anti-roll bars have also been changed and the rear axle has been modified, while the rear brakes have been tuned to work in conjunction with the car’s ABS system. Overall lateral suspension stiffness has been increased by 30 percent front and rear, with front and rear spring rates increased by the same amount.

The Competition

Audi RS 6 Avant

The Audi RS 6 Avant produces 560 hp @ 5700 rpm, 516 ft.lbs of torque at 1750 rpm, and weighs 4431 pounds. Comparative pricing is difficult due to the range of extras and the unavailability of the model in some markets.

Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

The Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon produces 556 hp @ 6100 rpm, 551 ft.lbs of torque at 3800 rpm, and weighs 4431 pounds. The optional extras make calculating a comparative price very difficult, but it's fair to say that the Cadillac is the most reasonably priced of the superwagons.

Mercedes Benz AMG E63 S Wagon

The Mercedes Benz AMG E63 S Wagon produces 550 hp @ 5500 rpm, 531 ft.lbs of torque at 1750 rpm, and weighs 4703 pounds. Comparative pricing is difficult due to the vast range of extras and the unavailability of the model in some markets.

Last but not least, if you absolutely positively MUST HAVE the fastest superwagon on the block, or perhaps the world, then can we suggest you have a chat with the folk down at Hennessy Performance where they can extract a few extra horsepower from your wagon. Last week Hennessy's Venom GT set a new world speed record for a production vehicle, and just 18 months ago we wrote about a very special Cadillac CTS-V which Hennessy had managed to pump up to 1226 hp. It wasn't the wagon version, but if you ask nicely, we're quite sure they'll pimp your Cadillac wagon too.

Gizmag will be on hand for a closer look a the XFR-S Sportbrake when it's officially revealed at next month's Geneva Motor Show.

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