Jaguar XF Review

Jaguar XF Review

Sporting powerful engine choices, an inviting cabin and plenty of modern style and technology, the Jaguar XF is one of the most interesting Jaguars to come out in a long while. The car's exterior shape takes inspiration from many historic Jaguar design cues and combines them with the current movement to style sedans with coupelike roof lines. The result has stoked controversy, but most will agree that the Jaguar XF looks better in person than in photos. And underway, the XF delivers with effortless performance, athletic handling and a supple ride. As one of the most distinctive vehicles in an all-star class, it's definitely worth a test-drive.

Current Jaguar XF
The Jaguar XF is available in six trim levels: XF 2.0T, XF 3.0, XF 3.0 AWD, XF Supercharged, XFR and the very limited-edition XFR-S. All are rear-wheel drive except for the 3.0 AWD, which is all-wheel drive.

The 2.0T comes with a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (240 horsepower). The 3.0 trims have a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (340 hp). The XF Supercharged packs a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 (470 hp), while the XFR has an even more powerful version of that engine (510 hp). Topping the range is the XFR-S, which further boosts output to 550 hp. An eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is the sole gearbox and all but the turbo-4 feature an automatic engine stop-start feature to save fuel while the car is stopped.

All Jaguar XF models are generously equipped. Standard features include rear parking sensors, a sunroof, heated power front seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an iPod interface. Standard and optional features on the other trims include bigger wheels, bigger brakes, adaptive cruise control, a full leather-trimmed interior and cooled seats. The sport-tuned XF Supercharged and XFR further get an adaptive suspension, 20-inch wheels and a specialized limited-slip differential. Only 100 examples of the XFR-S will come to the United States, and its special features include that powerhouse engine, styling tweaks that feature a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, alloy pedals and piano black interior trim.

In reviews we found that even starting the XF's engine has a sense of occasion. Before ignition, the console-mounted start button pulsates red as though a real feline heart beats inside. Pressing it fires the engine to life, while four air vents rotate into place and the console's circular gear selector rises into the driver's palm. The cabin is trimmed in soft leather and tasteful wood trim and has a pleasingly modern design. There are a few ergonomic missteps along the way (particularly in regards to its infotainment system's touchscreen), but overall the XF stands out in a segment typically known for its conservative cabins.

On the road, the base XF 2.0T model provides merely adequate performance, not really in keeping with the car's mission. The supercharged V6 engine in the midrange XF 3.0 provides much more energetic acceleration. Going with any of the supercharged V8s will result in simply stunning performance. The V8 models also benefit from an adaptive suspension that improves handling dynamics without sacrificing the XF's luxurious ride quality. Driven briskly around turns, any Jaguar XF boasts considerable grip, surprisingly high limits and a small-car feel its rivals lack. Some enthusiasts may find the steering a little too light, but the XF is still more fun to drive than most midsize luxury sedans. At highway speeds, the XF provides a serene cabin virtually free of any engine, road or wind noise.

Used Jaguar XF Models
The XF debuted for 2009. In that first year, there were three trim levels available -- Luxury, Premium Luxury and Supercharged. The first two came with a base 4.2-liter V8 rated at 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Supercharged model had a blown 4.2-liter engine that produced 420 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. All XFs were rear-wheel drive until the 3.0 AWD model was introduced for 2013.

Model year 2010 brought more power. The base model continued with the 300-horse V8, but the Premium sported a new 5.0-liter V8 with 385 hp and 380 lb-ft, while the Supercharged had a supercharged version of the 5.0 making 470 hp and 424 lb-ft. Finally, the new XFR had an even stronger version of the latter with 510 hp and 461 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic was the lone transmission. For 2011, the base model received the 5.0-liter V8, and a selectable Sport mode for the suspension, throttle and transmission shift points debuted.

A refresh for 2012 brought sleeker XJ-style headlights, larger taillights, more supportive seats and new navigation software borrowed from the XJ (the same small screen size remained). Apart from the powertrain differences and lacking the availability of all-wheel drive and the automatic engine stop-start feature, these latter XF models are similar to today's lineup.