Car reviews - Jaguar - XF - sedan range
1 May 2008
WITH Jaguar ownership changing hands once again this year, the all-new mid-size Jaguar XF – already regarded as possibly the most important new model in the company’s history – takes on even greater significance.
The replacement for the nine-year-old S-Type, which divided opinion and failed to live up to expectations, the XF arrives in Australia with considerably more confidence and poise.
In terms of style, the coupe-like XF is the first clean-sheet Jaguar sedan to be created by acclaimed stylist Ian Callum, a man whose passion for the British marque is even more famous than his previous work with TWR and Aston Martin.
“The XF is a stage in a personal journey for me,” said the 53 year-old Scot, a regular visitor to these shores.
“It has always been my career goal to return Jaguar to its rightful place as a leader in automotive design.
“Cars like the original XJ6 left a lasting legacy and my ambition has been to create something as seminal. The XF is that car.”
Unlike the S-Type and also the X-Type, the bold XF does not hark back to past glories and looks entirely contemporary and distinctive from its German and Japanese rivals, though with a grille that immediately defines it as a Jaguar.
Inside, the XF blends modern materials and technical features – including the innovative JaguarDrive transmission selector for the first time in a saloon – with a taste of classic British formality.
The push-button JaguarDrive control is used to select gears with the standard six-speed semi-automatic transmission, as used in the XK.
This transmission employs shift-by-wire technology and therefore has no mechanical links.
There is no manual offered, but of course gears can be changed sequentially via steering wheel controls in the automatic’s sequential manual mode.
Jaguar Australia is launched in the XF with a choice of four engines – a 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel ($105,500), a 3.0-litre V6 petrol (also $105,500), a 4.2-litre V8 petrol ($130,500) and a 4.2-litre supercharged V8 ($166,700).
The company claims that the twin-turbocharged 24-valve diesel, which produces 152kW of power at 4000rpm and 435Nm of torque at 1900rpm, is the quietest diesel engine in its class.
Already seen in the S-Type and big XJ saloon, the diesel pushes the XF from rest to 100km/h in a claimed 8.2 seconds – one-tenth faster than the V6 petrol, which produces 175kW at 6800rpm and 293Nm 4100rpm.
Combined average fuel consumption for the diesel is 7.5L/100km while the petrol V6 returns 10.5L/100km. Performance kicks up a notch with the two petrol V8s, with the normally aspirated version producing 19kW/411Nm, completing the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds and returning fuel consumption of 11.1L/100km.
The supercharged engine – also seen in the XK-R and a couple of Range Rovers – produces 306kW at 6250rpm and 560Nm at 500rpm and pushes the flagship SV8 model (for now) to 100km/h in just 5.4 seconds.
The combined fuel consumption figure is 12.6L/100km. Jaguar is expected to produce an even more powerful supercharged XF-R model to compete with its high-performance German rivals.
Top speed for both V8 models is electronically limited to 250km/h while the V6 models top out at 229km/h (diesel) and 237km/h (petrol).
The XF rides on a 2909mm wheelbase, is 4961mm long, 1877mm wide and 1460mm high – making it bigger than the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-class, Audi A6 and Lexus GS – and is claimed to have the best torsional stiffness in its class. Big brakes abound, with 326 x 20mm vented front discs (355 x 32mm on the SV8), while a variable-ratio power-assisted steering system is standard across the range.
Turning circle is a competitive 11.5 metres. Jaguar claims the stadium-style seating comfortably accommodates five adults, with head, shoulder and knee room that are competitive in the large luxury segment.
A 500-litre boot is made more flexible by a 60/40-split folding rear seat (which adds 420 litres when both are folded flat) while a space saving 18-inch alloy temporary spare resides under the boot floor.
The centre console-mounted start/stop button glows red when the car is unlocked and, when the engine is started, the gear-select controller pops up and four rotating air-vents roll open in unison.
A standard seven-inch colour touch-screen operates most vehicle functions, leaving the real wood-trimmed dash uncluttered.
Another new system dubbed JaguarSense enables the glovebox to be opened and overhead lights switched on or off at the touch of a sensor.
As well as the full quota of driver and passenger safety equipment, the XF is the first Jaguar saloon to feature the company’s pedestrian impact system (PCSS), which reduces the likelihood of injury by firing actuators that angle the bonnet to provide a cushioned space between the bonnet and the engine.
Standard equipment across the range also includes twin front, front side and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, EBA and cornering brake control, an electric parking brake, LED taillights, heated power mirrors, power windows, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, remote central locking, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate-control, cruise control with speed-limiter, keyless starting, power front seat and steering wheel adjustment, driver’s seat memory, an eight-speaker 140-Watt sound system with six-CD changer and “Bond Grain” leather-faced seats, dash and door trims.
All this is included in the basic Luxury grade for 2.7D and 3.0 V6 variants, which ride on 18 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels. Moving up a trim level, the 4.2 V8’s Premium Luxury specification adds metallic paint, folding and auto-dimming wing mirrors with puddle lights, 19-inch alloys, a rear parking camera, Soft grain leather trim, Burr Walnut veneer, keyless entry, a 320-Watt sound system and bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lamps, washers and auto-levelling.
Finally, the SV8 adds the active suspension system from the XK, a ‘Dynamic’ mode that disables the stability control, tyre-pressure monitors, massive 20 x 8.5-inch front and 20 x 9.5-inch rear alloys, heated/cooled front seats with 16/12-way power adjustment, Rich Oak veneer, a 440-Watt Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system, voice recognition system and a TV tuner.
Options include a sunroof, steering wheel heating, adaptive cruise control, electric rear window blind, and a blind-spot monitor, as seen on Volvo’s flagship S80.
Four colour choices will be available for both the seats/lower fascia and upper fascia.
XF deliveries will start in June and Jaguar dealers are already holding orders for more than 200 – a figure the S-Type could not manage over a full year in 2007 or 2006.
That car’s best result was 725 sales on debut in 2000.
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