Leon Best's brilliant first-half strike took Newcastle up to sixth in the Premier League table and spoiled Mark Hughes's first game as QPR manager.
Rangers twice hit the woodwork in the first half, through a fierce Shaun Wright-Phillips strike and Jay Bothroyd's fabulous, curling effort.
But Newcastle recovered from a shaky start and Best stroked home a cool winner after some fine footwork.
Bothroyd wasted two good chances after the interval but the Magpies held on.
The result was more than a little harsh on QPR, who gave a competitive performance befitting their new boss .
Best's immaculate winner was the only shot on goal the hosts managed but the statistics betray their contribution to a frenetic and entertaining match.
QPR slipped into the relegation zone following Blackburn's win over Fulham on Saturday , but would have climbed back out with a point.
And a blistering beginning augured well for their chances of doing just that.
Wright-Phillips skimmed the top of the bar with a fierce 18-yard strike as Newcastle struggled to gain or retain possession in the opening 10 minutes.
Heidar Helguson had a decent strike saved within the first 60 seconds and the Londoners were first to every ball, keeping the Magpies pegged back in their own half.
Akos Buzsaky also caused home goalkeeper Tim Krul a nervy moment with a swerving strike.
And just after the half-hour mark, Bothroyd grazed the far post with a delicious, curling effort from the edge of the box after a lovely piece of skill on the left.
But in between the two efforts that hit the bar and post, Newcastle got on top, despite the setback of Yohan Cabaye having to come off with an ankle injury after a late lunge from Shaun Derry.
In fact, Cabaye's exit probably inadvertently helped the hosts.
Did you know?
Newcastle have kept eight clean sheets in the Premier League this season, matching the total they managed in the whole of the last campaign
In the absence of top scorer Demba Ba and influential midfielder Cheick Tiote - both away at the Africa Cup of Nations - Newcastle's main threat came via the right foot of Ryan Taylor and the class and guile of Cabaye's replacement Hatem Ben Arfa.
Taylor's pinpoint set-piece delivery set up headed chances for Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez, while Taylor also forced a brilliant sprawling save from Paddy Kenny with a measured 25-yard strike.
The home side were rewarded for their growing domination eight minutes before the break when the bustling Danny Guthrie burst forward from midfield and did well to dig the ball out from under his feet and find Best.
Best showed wonderful composure, great awareness and quick feet to skip inside Luke Young and shoot low into the far corner to put the hosts ahead.
Rangers responded and Jamie Mackie volleyed well over after his initial shot was blocked and they started the second half every bit as well as they began the first.
Bothroyd twice had good chances to level, but he blazed his first effort wildly over the bar following a clever nod down from Helguson and saw attempt number two comfortably saved by Kenny at his near post.
As the visitors began to get stretched chasing an equaliser, Newcastle looked increasingly likely to add to their lead.
Davide Santon saw a shot deflected wide after an excellent run and the impressive Gutierrez had a long-range attempt at a half-guarded net cleared after Kenny raced from his goal.
Ben Arfa almost teed up a second goal for the dangerous Best but the striker was in two minds and his hesitant effort was blocked by Kenny.
Rangers failed to create a decent opening in the closing stages and Newcastle stayed solid and organised and were able to close out their third win in four league games - and a fourth out of five in all competitions .
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +2:35
Unfair challenge on Clint Hill by Hatem Ben Arfa results in a free kick. Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.90:00 +0:18
The assistant referee flags for offside against Federico Macheda. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Krul.89:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa by Tommy Smith. Tim Krul takes the direct free kick.87:53
Jonas Gutierrez fouled by Jamie Mackie, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.85:36
Free kick awarded for a foul by James Perch on Tommy Smith. Direct free kick taken by Clint Hill.82:43
Free kick taken by Danny Guthrie.82:43 Booking
Booking Booking for Federico Macheda for unsporting behaviour.82:38
Unfair challenge on Danny Guthrie by Federico Macheda results in a free kick.80:57 Substitution
Substitution Dan Gosling is brought on as a substitute for Ryan Taylor.79:16
Federico Macheda sends in a cross, Tim Krul makes a comfortable save.77:26
Federico Macheda is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.75:37 Substitution
Substitution James Perch on for Leon Best.75:16 Substitution
Substitution Federico Macheda joins the action as a substitute, replacing Akos Buzsaky.73:02
Centre by Davide Santon, Daniel Gabbidon makes a clearance.72:33
A cross is delivered by Leon Best, Anton Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.72:05
The ball is swung over by Leon Best, Daniel Gabbidon makes a clearance.70:05
Jonas Gutierrez has an effort at goal. Clearance made by Daniel Gabbidon.69:36
Shot by Danny Guthrie. Blocked by Daniel Gabbidon.69:23
The ball is crossed by Ryan Taylor, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Ryan Taylor, Daniel Gabbidon makes a clearance.64:34
Luke Young crosses the ball, Danny Simpson manages to make a clearance.63:43 Substitution
Substitution Tommy Smith comes on in place of Heidar Helguson.63:39
The ball is swung over by Davide Santon.61:50
The ball is delivered by Ryan Taylor, Danny Simpson takes a shot.61:03
Akos Buzsaky takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Leon Best manages to make a clearance.60:45
Jamie Mackie takes a shot. Fabricio Coloccini gets a block in.59:29
Shot by Shaun Derry. Danny Guthrie gets a block in.59:20
Akos Buzsaky crosses the ball, Mike Williamson makes a clearance.57:25
The referee blows for offside against Shaun Wright-Phillips. Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.54:48
Corner taken right-footed by Ryan Taylor to the near post, clearance made by Heidar Helguson.54:30
Davide Santon has a drilled shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.52:50
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Akos Buzsaky played to the near post, save made by Tim Krul.52:36
Shot from 12 yards by Jay Bothroyd. Tim Krul makes a brilliant save.51:46
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Mike Williamson.51:13
Shot on goal by Jay Bothroyd from just inside the area clears the crossbar.50:56
A cross is delivered by Clint Hill.49:45
Danny Simpson has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.49:36
The ball is sent over by Davide Santon, Clint Hill makes a clearance.48:35
Centre by Jonas Gutierrez, save by Patrick Kenny.47:51
Unfair challenge on Heidar Helguson by Fabricio Coloccini results in a free kick. Luke Young takes the free kick.45:58
Effort on goal by Shaun Wright-Phillips from 25 yards. Save by Tim Krul.45:19
Shola Ameobi concedes a free kick for a foul on Anton Ferdinand. Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +4:01 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +3:45
The ball is crossed by Ryan Taylor, save by Patrick Kenny.45:00 +1:37
Danny Simpson sends in a cross, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.44:58
A cross is delivered by Danny Simpson.42:34
Jamie Mackie crosses the ball.41:38
Jamie Mackie takes a shot. Fabricio Coloccini gets a block in. Effort on goal by Jamie Mackie from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.41:09
The ball is sent over by Shaun Wright-Phillips, Fabricio Coloccini makes a clearance.40:20
Centre by Hatem Ben Arfa, clearance by Luke Young. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ryan Taylor from the left by-line, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.39:19
Leon Best crosses the ball, save by Patrick Kenny.38:15
Free kick taken by Tim Krul.38:15 Booking
Booking The referee shows Jay Bothroyd a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.38:07
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jay Bothroyd on Davide Santon.36:20
Assist by Ryan Taylor.36:20 Goal scored
Goal! - Leon Best - Newcastle 1 - 0 QPR Leon Best finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Newcastle 1-0 QPR.34:49
Shot from long range by Hatem Ben Arfa goes wide of the left-hand upright.34:10
Centre by Danny Guthrie, clearance made by Daniel Gabbidon.33:31
Ryan Taylor takes a shot from 25 yards. Patrick Kenny makes a save. Inswinging corner taken by Ryan Taylor from the left by-line played to the near post, Heidar Helguson manages to make a clearance.32:12
Free kick taken by Ryan Taylor. Centre by Ryan Taylor, save by Patrick Kenny.32:12 Booking
Booking Clint Hill is cautioned.31:54
Clint Hill concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Simpson.30:47
Jay Bothroyd has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.28:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by Shaun Wright-Phillips on Jonas Gutierrez. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Ryan Taylor, Heidar Helguson manages to make a clearance. The offside flag is raised against Leon Best. Indirect free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.26:13
Unfair challenge on Shola Ameobi by Daniel Gabbidon results in a free kick. The ball is delivered by Ryan Taylor, Jonas Gutierrez has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.25:17
Shaun Derry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonas Gutierrez. Free kick crossed by Ryan Taylor, Clint Hill manages to make a clearance.24:51
A cross is delivered by Shola Ameobi, clearance by Daniel Gabbidon.24:16 Substitution
Substitution Hatem Ben Arfa is brought on as a substitute for Yohan Cabaye.19:08
The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ryan Taylor from right channel, Heidar Helguson manages to make a clearance.19:08 Booking
Booking Shaun Derry is cautioned.18:56
Shaun Derry concedes a free kick for a foul on Yohan Cabaye.18:23
Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. Save by Tim Krul.15:46
The ball is swung over by Clint Hill, Danny Simpson manages to make a clearance. Shot by Shaun Wright-Phillips.14:02
Heidar Helguson is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.11:58
Shola Ameobi is adjudged to have handled the ball. Patrick Kenny takes the direct free kick.11:02
Ryan Taylor sends in a cross, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.9:28
The assistant referee signals for offside against Heidar Helguson. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Krul.8:19
Unfair challenge on Akos Buzsaky by Danny Guthrie results in a free kick. Clint Hill restarts play with the free kick.5:42
Akos Buzsaky takes a shot from 25 yards. Save by Tim Krul.4:35
Shaun Wright-Phillips takes a shot.4:11
Heidar Helguson takes a shot. Danny Simpson gets a block in.1:23
Shaun Wright-Phillips takes a shot. Save made by Tim Krul. The referee blows for offside against Jay Bothroyd. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Krul.1:08
The ball is sent over by Luke Young, Fabricio Coloccini makes a clearance.0:45
The ball is crossed by Shaun Wright-Phillips, clearance by Mike Williamson.0:14
Effort from 25 yards by Heidar Helguson. Save made by Tim Krul.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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