2013 Jaguar XF AWD
3.0L V6 Supercharged DOHC 24-valve
340 @ 6500
332 @ 3500
13.1 / 7.7
Nine years ago, I found myself behind the wheel of a Jaguar S-Type 3.0lt and I remember my excitement being short lived. The exterior was ruined by that hideous front grille and the interior was a let-down as well. Every aspect of it gave it away as a relative to Ford vehicles of that time. The fit and finish were poor, the seats were squeaky, and the steering was as firm as an old woman’s breasts, as pointy too. Overall the S-Type was as good as pulling clogged hair out the drain and its looks were not that far off either.
The Jaguar XF was introduced back in 2007 as the replacement of the S-Type and is based on the very same DEW98 Ford platform. The suspension came from the XK and the styling compared to the S-Type, is simply fantastic.
Stretching almost 5m long, the XF’s wheelbase brings it head on with some very good cars like the 5-Series, E-Class, A6 and CTS. Prices start at $61,500 which is very reasonable for a luxury sedan and right off the bat you need to know that reliability issues of the past have been solidly addressed and no longer seem to haunt Jaguar’s name.
For that money you get quite the package. 19” alloy rims, fully leather wrapped interior, power sunroof, suede roof liner, heated and ventilated seats, navigation, rear view camera, cruise control, speed limiter, adaptive front lighting, TPMS, all-round airbags, LED daytime running lights, heated power mirrors, auto wipers, windshield with defogging elements, steering mounted controls, a million way power adjustable seat, dual zone climate control, paddle shifters, variable servotronic power steering, auto start/stop, an amazing Meridian sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, push button start and ambient lighting.
The exterior design is surprisingly discrete, as one unfamiliar with the XF has no idea really what it is. The front grille is well sized and the mean looking headlights shout “get out of the way” via third party rear view mirrors. The long front hood and low roof line give it an aerodynamic look and the rounded rear looks muscular in nature and the dual exhausts keep symmetry in place. The 19″ rims fill the wheel arches well and their design is chic and timeless.
Open any door and the aura of luxury will smack you right in the face. The superb up-market leather trim used is stitched with precision and is found seat to dash. Even the roof liner is dark grey suede which takes this interior to the next level. The way the cabin is built really does feel special. Fit and finish are beyond words and in this category the XF blows its competition away. Truth be told, this is what a Jaguar should be like anyway. The interior design is simplistic, straight cuts and controls tucked away neatly make up the recipe used. Both wood and aluminum has been used to complement the leather and the luxurious feel inside the cabin is endorsed by space and comfort. The seats are plush and supportive and adjustable in every possible way. Adjusting the length of the bottom seat is appreciated as much as the heated steering wheel which in turn is power adjustable for both height and reach. Thus, needless to say, the ideal driving position is redefined in the XF.
Passengers making their way to the back seats will enjoy a fantastic view to the front of the cabin and it is then when you really realize how nice of a cabin this is. Once your eyes have feasted enough on the interior, you will find that both headroom and legroom are enough for a long journey and you can start enjoying the quiet ride accompanied by the audiophile level sound system. The width of the rear seats would’ve been enough for 3 passengers but the high centre tunnel doesn’t really help. The trunk is a bit shallow due to the low roof line but despite the price it pays for beauty it still is a very useful at 500lt. The rear seats are also foldable to create more space for loading longer items.
Driving the XF is an exciting event, start to end. The grip around the thick steering wheel, the pulsating start button and supercharged growl are elements no-one can ever get fed up with. Hold down the start button and “voila”. The air vents flip around and sound like the flaps retracting on a Boeing 737, the gear selector rises from hell and all you have to do to feel alive again is turn the dial to D and let go of the brake pedal.
The brand new 3.0lt V6 fuel efficient supercharged engine delivers 340 ponies straight from the queen’s cavalry and 332lb-ft of torque that takes care of the heavy body. 0-100km/h takes 5.9secs while the top speed is limited to 250km/h, the XF feels and is fast. The 8-speed automatic ZF transmission might be optimized for economy but it is amazing as it shifts through gears like a magician shifts through a deck of cards. Fuel economy is very reasonable; 10.9lt/100km combined is in fact a very descent number considering the weight and power of this beast.
On the move, the XF is very quiet and refined, no annoying vibrations are present and the absence of rattles and squeaks is very impressive. The ride is very comfortable but not in a floaty kind of way. Body movements are damped well and are quickly dealt with. On the highway the XF makes distances feel shorter so you will never say no to a long journey.
On twisty country roads, the XF corners with little to no body roll and the AWD system keeps traction limits as high as possible. During our tests, we achieved 0.81g without pushing too hard which shows that the car is very competent. Entering corners and aiming for the apex is exciting as the rear wheel drive temperament kicks in and oversteer is the initial tendency. Going back on the crisp throttle when exiting the corner restores the balance as all four wheels pull you out with confidence. If at that point it remained rear wheel biased we would’ve been talking about one of the most exciting cars to drive. The way it is though, ensures that every venture has a happy ending. The steering in dynamic mode gets the desired weight and feedback is very informative. The brake pedal feels sharp and the braking power is impressive. From 100km/h, the XF came to a complete stop in just 41m with no brake fade symptoms appearing.
I was a cat lover to begin with but this big cat is worth more than your love. It is worth a partnership and I say go for it. It does everything as well as the E-Class and the 5-Series, it feels classier and it is cheaper to buy. And the winner is? The Jag, Editor’s Choice.
Steering wheel mounted controls are hard to use