A Jaguar is always an exciting proposition. After all they don’t build mainstream bread and butter models. The Jaguar name has always been synonymous with luxury performance cars, and a heritage rich in motor racing history.
Road Tested by: Hugh Maguire
Now of course they have had their ups and downs, with some models such as the X-Type not doing as well as had been hoped. The Jaguar XF has proven popular since its launch a few years ago. Now that popularity may grow further with the arrival of a revised version powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel, offering low emissions and therefore low road tax.
The niche brand that is Jaguar has though always had a loyal following and with this latest XF hopes are high that this dynamic newcomer which embodies all the traditional Jaguar virtues will win new customers to the brand. The Jaguar XF has won numerous accolades since its original launch some years back and I am not surprised, it is one very fine motorcar.
This is one gorgeous looking car with striking, flowing almost coupe-like lines. There will be no mistaking this car for anything but a Jaguar, yet the style is much more contemporary than Jaguars of yesteryear blasting this newcomer well and truly onto the 21st century stage. From almost every angle the car looks dynamic and purposeful and if the amount of admiring glances it drew during my road test are anything to go by the new XF is a real headturner. Nice tweaks to the front and rear light clusters really freshen up its overall style.
Behind The Wheel
The XF interior manages to blend the contemporary with the traditional. Naturally there is still plenty of good old wood and leather, but Jaguar have very successfully blended that with light alloys, blue halo effect lighting and a tiny gear shift that rises electronically to greet the driver to create one of the most beautiful and interesting car interiors I have seen of late.
The air vents even rotate electronically from closed to open when you press the start button, which looks really cool! The cabin is beautifully crafted and in my opinion is probably the very best cabin in this class beating both the Mercedes and BMW. The materials are of the highest quality and the fit and finish simply beyond reproach. Quite honestly it is of a higher quality than that of the BMW 5 Series and more than matches the E-Class. I really cannot think of a car interior in this class that makes both driver and passengers feel so cosseted in such a sumptuous luxurious environment.
Standard equipment beats both its main German rival hands down. The ‘Luxury’ version on test this week is bristling with standard specification. Highlights include electrically adjustable leather trimmed seats, 7” colour Touch-screen display, Navigation system, Bluetooth® Telephone Connectivity, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, Rear parking aid, interior mood lighting, heated exterior mirrors with electric adjustment, 17” alloy wheels, Automatic Climate Control and Cruise Control with Automatic Speed Limiter. There is an in built ipod and USB connection allowing you to play all your own tunes easily on the cars entertainment system. Naturally there are a host of airbags, electronic driver aids such as DSC and so on. Overall then this new Jaguar really hits the mark with a large, beautifully built and very well kitted out cabin, making its German rival look almost austere by comparison.
The new 2.2 litre turbo diesel is the same tried and tested diesel that can be found in the Land Rover Freelander. With 190 Ps on tap and a mighty 450Nm of torque this new Jag lacks nothing in the performance stakes. Mated to the excellent 8-speed sequential shift gearbox the combination works superbly. Should the driver wish to change gear manually he or she can do so via the paddle shifts mounted behind the steering wheel. In auto mode this super gearbox does all the thinking for you and provides seamless up and downshifts throughout the rev range. One other aspect of this engine worth of note is the masses of torque available with bags of mid range acceleration. It also is pretty mean on fuel for a car of this size and power burning just 7.9 litres per 100km over my test period. With emissions of just 149g/km it costs €302 to tax (pre budget increase).
A Jaguar should always be a rewarding car to drive and the latest XF most certainly delivers in this area. The handling is both agile and dynamic, indeed I could go so far as to say it provides a sporting drive with razor sharp handling powerful brakes and a beautifully weighted steering that allows the driver really feel what the car is doing on the road.
Driving the XF is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The car seems to have two personalities, use the paddle shifts, select sport mode and you have a large super saloon that proves agile and fast over all road surfaces.
Select normal and auto and you can settle back in a luxurious motorway cruiser cosseted in a beautifully crafted cabin with little or no wind, road or engine noise to spoil the tranquil environment.
Jaguars of the past have in fairness attracted an older generation of driver. The latest XF will in my opinion attract a much younger driver who enjoys the class and quality offered by a Jaguar but also likes that modern contemporary feel.
The XF covers both with a truly inspiring interior, a dynamic looking exterior and a price that makes some rivals look positively expensive. The latest XF range kicks off with the 2.2 D SE which costs €44,995, the Jaguar XF 2.2 D Luxury specification model as test here costs €49,295.
The new XF is a truly great car, with style, class, performance and panache. It makes a very serious alternative to a BMW 5 series or Mercedes E Class!