Driven: Jaguar XF S Review
I had the chance to test out the relatively new Jaguar XF S over a short period of time, and here are my thoughts on it.
What is the Jaguar XF S all About?
If you’ve been a loyal Motor Verso reader, you might know that we have already tested the XF’s younger brother known as the XE, and that happens to be a great car, even though it’s the ‘cheapest’ new Jag’ you can get for your money. So you can only imagine how ecstatic I was to be able to have a hands-on experience with the bigger, more genuine Jag’.
The XF is basically Jaguar’s answer to the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-classes, and for me, Jaguars just feel more special than Mercedes and BMWs, for sure, it isn’t as elusive as it once was, and Jaguar has actually tamed their creations a lot, compared to the olden days with those mad V12 powered Jaguars with bonnets that seemingly doesn’t end.
However, before I start introducing the specs, I think I should mention the looks of the Jaguar XF. Compared to its competition, the XF has a much more imposing look, it’s very sleek, and just by looking at it, you know that it’s a serious car, it probably won’t make jokes, but it certainly will not let you down either.
Not to mention the big gaping front grille with a plethora of vents all around the car, it’s a splendid looking design that Jaguar fortunately decided to stick with for a long time. It does the aggressive look better than I can hope for.
But here’s the really disappointing part. The brand new, very shiny Jaguar XF that we have, known as the second generation of the kin, does not come with any possible V8 options, nope, no 5.0 litre supercharged hailstorming V8 that Jaguar is oh-so renowned for; this time, the largest engine you can get is a 3.0 litre V6.
We tested out the XF S, with a 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine with two turbochargers for efficiency, this engine is the business as well, putting out 300 PS and a staggering 700 Nm of torque, proving once again the worthiness of diesel power plants.
The engine spins an 8-speed automatic gearbox, helping to go from a standstill to 60 mph in a respectable 6.2 seconds. The car will also continue to accelerate afterwards, and given that you find a long stretch of road, you will top out at 155 mph. Most astounding of all, the engine runs a combined mpg of 51.4, and vents out just 144 g of carbon dioxide per km.
How Does it Drive?
Keyless entry should be an option that almost every Jaguar customer is used to, so it’s no exception here, with the key in your pocket, you simply open the door and push a button to start.
If we are honest, Jaguar is famous for one type of car, and those are sporty cruisers. Jaguar has never really gone wrong with a cruiser. Even in the quite controversially styled S-Type, they manage to hold it together excellently. In fact, people still drive their 10 year old S-Types on and off motorways, and the car has no problem dealing with it.
I myself has had a chance to sit in a nearly 30 years old XJ, and I can tell you with confidence that it was a smooth ride indeed, everything about it was gentlemanly; the acceleration is smooth, gear changes seamless, suspension absorbs uneven surfaces like a dream.
So I was relieved to know that, after driving the XF around for some time, it’s not shabby at all, in fact, it was great.
First of all, I want to start out by congratulating Jaguar on their engine, it’s amazing. It’s so quiet that it might as well be a petrol engine for all I know, and it doesn’t even sound like a diesel. Moreover, it delivers power very smoothly, so smoothly in fact that when you step on the throttle, the engine sings, and before you realize, you’ve already hit 60 mph.
Not only that, the engine has torque, in fact, all 700 Nm of it comes alive at just 2000 rpm. That’s staggering, and it shows too, despite being a mid-sized car, it feels nothing like one. It pulls so well, and torque is really what you want in a car. Torque helps you overtake cars one after another. Torque is your friend on the motorway. You should get the idea now.
Moving on, of course, the XF is a rear-wheel driven car and Jaguar, thankfully, has incorporated torque vectoring. Basically, it sends power to the wheel with the most grip. This hauls the car along the corner like a proper cat, it’s not a scary car to go around a corner in, and, again, with all that torque, the car pulls itself out of the corner at a brisk pace.
Seating position of the XF is much like the XE, you sit nice and low, giving an impression that the car has a low centre of gravity. This is very important to inspire driver confidence. Remember, at the heart of the XF is still Jaguar’s spirit, compared to the rivals, it might be firmer, but drivers are rewarded with a much more satisfactory cornering performance.
In short, it’s a cruiser that you will want to drive, instead of being driven in.
What’s it Like Inside?
Quality is something that has really never bothered me in any Jaguar, and the XF is no exception.
Inside the car, as expected, everything is wrapped in leather. The predecessors weren’t exactly bad, but compared to the new XF, it’s a league above. Sitting in this car, you’ll never feel like you paid too much, it has a really nice air of quality around it, and I’m proud for Jaguar being able to keep up with its competition.
Headroom though might not be exceptional, the roofline of the car slings sleekly, and it gives off a coupe feel. Which is good for the exterior onlookers, but for the passengers, it might not be as good an idea, however, it’s not the worst either.
All in all, the XF’s interior is really well thought out. All the buttons are in the places you’d expect. The centre console houses a large 8 inch screen that caters for most of your needs, including sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, radio, etc. The dynamic control that is within easy access also helps, as the driver can change how the car behaves depending on road conditions.
Might I add, the XF’s start and stop engine button pulsates like a heart, I can never get enough of that. When it comes to all the little details, they definitely do not lose out to Mercedes, BMWs and Audis. It’s a car that you will want to sit in, and that’s as good a praise as I can give.
Jaguar did not disappoint me with this one. In fact, they surpassed my expectations. It might sound like the typical German ‘bahnstormer’, but for some reason, it feels different. In fact, with the time I had to spend in the XF, I felt special and secluded. On those roads are all these typical German saloons, and here I am, in a Jag’.
Of course, Jaguar has turned down the madness knob, and to survive, they must. But it does not change the fact that this is a car that people will give a second look at. Of course, it’s a diesel, in a Jag’, but if you never tell anyone, I doubt they’ll notice at all.
In this car, I can still sense the spirit of Jaguar, it’s a cat that prowls around corner to corner very, very well. It turns in well, it feels planted on the ground, you feel secure, and then you giggle while you slingshot out of the corner, and for me, that’s a sign of the embodiment of Jaguar.
I hated the fact that I had to return the car so early. I knew what Jaguar can do even in a compact, ‘budget’ Jag, and I set my expectations for the XF accordingly, but by the time I had to return the car, it did not just surpass my expectations, it leaped over it with ease. The folks over at Jaguar definitely performed for this one.
- Price: £49,945
- Engine: 3.0-litre TDV6 twin-turbocharged diesel
- Power: 300 PS
- Torque: 700 Nm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- 0-62mph: 6.2 Seconds
- Top speed: 155 mph
- Weight: 1,750 kg
- Economy combined: 51.4 mpg
- CO2: 144 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley