The first XF when launched, was probably the closest thing that resembled an Aston on this side of GBP 100,000. As the retro S-Type’s replacement, the first gen XF made Jaguar a cutting-edge contender once again. The XF led the charge in Jaguar’s new design direction, and now the rest of the range, apart from the extra special XJ, echo ‘Aston-esque’ cues.
Together with design, Jaguar’s technology and creature comforts have been propelled to the modern age. The second generation XF, which Motor had the privilege of testing, takes this a step further. While still offering the 3.0 V6, the manufacturer seems to be banking on smaller more efficient petrol and diesel engines, loaded with tech.
The second generation XF IS an all new car, although it is more a case of evolution than revolution. No complaints here, as the car looks more Aston than some Astons. This is no accident as the XF was penned by living legend Ian Callum, a man responsible for many automotive icons, and a host of modern Aston Martins. While that accolade alone seals the deal for most, the XF continues to impress. The J-Blade headlamps and the unique tail lamps also bring in elements of the F-Type, and mark the car as one of Coventry’s own. Though the car is 7mm shorter than its predecessor, the wheelbase 51mm longer, thereby increasing interior space (to be revisited later), but ultimately proves that Callum is a master of proportion. The car looks suitably aggressive, streamlined and undoubtedly perfect.
Mechanicals & Technology
The engine in our test car was a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline 4 cylinder - though it was marked “25t”, a system that many manufacturers are switching to. A quick look at the spec sheet was enough to impress, with 237bhp and 340 Nm of torque, as well as a claimed 7.0 second century dash. The car, all-aluminium in typical Jaguar fashion, is now 190 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 1590Kg. That is still close to 100kgs lighter than Bavaria’s finest.
The engine was complimented by an 8-speed automatic in our tester, equipped with sport-mode on the rotary gear mode selector and coupled with two paddles mounted on the steering. Being a rear wheel drive, this set the tone on what to expect from the XF out on the road.
Foot on the brake, quick press of the Engine start button and the car purrs to life. When at idle, we had to check if the car was switched on at times, as the engine thrums about so quietly almost like a hybrid. As we set off though, the car came alive, and true to Jaguars of yore, the XF lives up to the theme of dignified performance, but when pushed the exhaust pops and cackles, and brought tears of joy to our collective eyes. So unassuming was this car, in the subtlest shade of dark blue that we never expected the XF to have quite the aggressive engine note. But it did.
The XF was a treat to drive, both in traffic and on clearer roads. The steering was sharp and became heavier at speed, inspiring confidence. The chassis was superbly balanced, and a few quick corners showed that Jaguar really know what they are doing. The combined effect of having that lovely exhaust note, smooth acceleration, sure-footed handling and RWD, is an experience that many take for granted, and few truly appreciate. That Claimed figure of 7.0s to 100kmph was quite believable, and moving through the gears was an absolute joy, with the car holding the gear till the perfect point of shift and making all the right noises when shifting down. The XF does it all without a sweat, fully capable of achieving what it was designed to do, as a mid-sized sports saloon.
Living With It
If you can’t tell the difference between this XF and the first-generation facelift, then the interior will clarify all doubts. Everything is laid out in a logical manner, and it took a matter of seconds to feel quite at home. Gone are the ‘party-piece’ central AC vents that swivel up to open, though they’ve carried over the rising rotary gear selector and left the far side AC vents to swivel up. After all these years, still special – still distinct. The cabin was a good mix of materials, with an elevated ridge running continuously around the cabin, comprising of the door sills and the dash, where top dead centre, a plaque read ‘Jaguar’ just in-case you had the memory of a goldfish. The dash was a mix of plastics and soft touch material with stitching, but all top-notch, with piano black inserts in the centre console. Thankfully it wasn’t a button-fest as some cars in this segment. The central infotainment screen was large and clear, and quite responsive. Equipped with AUX, USB and a GPS unit port, as well as a power outlet all placed out of sight in the central armrest/cubby which was deep enough for all your knick-knacks. We managed to count 12 tweeters/speakers and the sound quality was more than decent to lay ears.
The steering was finished in a synthetic leatherette material with beautiful stitching. Here though there seemed to be too many buttons, that could maybe do with a touch of re-design. The steering wheel though, overall looked magnificent with the Pantera Onca. The centre console also had the drive-mode selector which was a little confusing at first, but made perfect sense later. Eco for city driving brought up a little dashboard insert with Green bars and made the car’s throttle response vague, Normal, Winter, and Chequered flag symbolising Dynamic which made the car more responsive and sporty. Perhaps another rotary selector for this would’ve made more sense. The E-Parking brake had a neat little chrome surround, and was placed alongside two cup holders with rubber inserts to provide additional grip to hold your coffee in place. The door bins and glove box were large enough to accommodate a 1.5L bottle.
The seats in our tester were cream and provided ample support and finished again with that lovely stitching made us want to head down to Galle for the day. The rear too was an excellent place to be in, with an armrest and ample knee, head and leg room. Though a 5-seater, the cabin is more suited as a 4 adult 1 kid set up, though an adult would be able to manage over a short distance in the middle seat. The boot was enormous, quite positively shocking that all that space was packed into the XF! I would say, with experience that you could fit 3 pieces of check-in luggage and quite a few carry-on bags in there, plus any duty-free items you may have picked up – And a badminton racket bag. All without folding the rear seats. Top Marks!
Equipped with Front, side and curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, anti-lock braking system, emergency brake assist, electronic park brake and dynamic stability control, Jaguar have equipped the XF with safety in mind, and the XF has scored a perfect 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP crash tests.
Fuel Economy & Price
The XF as tested, is priced at LKR 21Mn, placing the car right in with the competition. But as described, the XF comes loaded with kit- so you won’t have faux buttons to remind you that you went for a base model. The price is right; as the value brought to the table is aplenty. The car is rated to consume 7.5L/100km (13kmpl) which is brilliant, considering the size of the car and the power on tap.
The XF is placed in a tough segment. This is a car that should be on the top of your list if you are in the market for a mid-size sports sedan, although the Jag will appeal only to a certain type of buyer. Someone who values design and subtlety. Who is comfortable with understated elegance, but also able to handle a swift jaunt with ease. The car turned many heads, even in the shade of dark blue. It is such a stylish car that will stand the test of time. The duality of this car is breath-taking and rather satisfying once you discover what it is truly capable of. Coupled with real world usability, the XF is truly something special.
The Other Cats
XE – A fine entry to the entry level sport saloon class, the XE shines with brilliant handling and great specifications even on the base model. In the company of its elder siblings, the XE didn’t feel out-done. Characteristically Jaguar, smooth, small on the outside, but cavernous on the inside, the XE felt very sporty and indeed the most ‘chuckable’ about town. The XE should be checked out first if you are in the market for something that will set you apart from the familiar.
XJ – A revelation! In true Jaguar fashion, the XJ was as smooth as Bryan Ferry’s ‘Slave to love’ (which sounded great inside the XJ btw). Steering the big Jag was a cinch and the power delivery was ineffably effortless. This was probably the most Jag of all here, though being all-aluminium, was a treat to take through traffic and open spaces, attracting attention wherever it went. The interior too was absolutely spot on perfect! If you dare to be different, and appreciate fine engineering and design, want a full-size sedan, drive yourself about town, but don’t want to appear as ‘Mr. Big’s wheel-man’, this IS the car for you!
F Pace – Who knew an SUV could be so beautiful! Jaguar didn’t disappoint on design here. The tech too backs up the calculated aggression. The diesel as tested had oodles of torque and sounded great. The power delivery was buttery smooth. Interior in the current spec was a slight let down for me, well-equipped but at first glance quite spartan, given that the materials mainly comprised of grey plastic. Overall, a worthy contender to the sport SUV scene with great composure around corners and good powerful acceleration. Spec up the interior and you won’t be disappointed!
2.0 litre, 4-cylinder 16 valve
237bhp @ 5,500rpm
340Nm @ 4,000rpm
Rear wheel drive
Front – Double Wishbone
Rear – Integral link
Front – Ventilated Disc
Rear – Ventilated Disc
Wheels & Tyres
17inch alloy rims