- We like...Styling, drive, keen prices
- We don't...Nothing worth mentioning
New mid-size executive car scores well on every count - style, looks, and the way it drives. It's the best for decadesCar designers aim, with any new model, to build in something that makes customers say ‘wow’. The industry has a name for these: ‘surprise and delight’ features.
With the Jaguar XF, the designers hit the jackpot. Jump into the driver’s seat, with the driver’s keyfob in our pocket. The ‘start’ button pulses gently with a red light that double blips – like a heart beat.
Push the button and the engine kicks in. At the same time, the four vents across the dash rotate open, the steering column lowers to your desired position and the big metal knob controlling the auto transmission rises from the centre console. It’s some performance, so good that you’ll want to repeat it over and over, just to catch every intricate moment. See pics below for 'before' (left) and 'after'.
For this new model, Jaguar stepped away from the way its cars had looked for decades and tried something new. It was a bold move but a clever one - the XF is fresh and distinctive but still every inch a Jag. Look at the depth and sweep of the centre console, the fine calibration of the instruments, those wing vents just behind the front tyres and that fine-meshed front grille. They’re all Jag hallmarks, present and correct.
And, unlike older Jags, the car has a spacious cabin and good-shaped boot for the car’s size. Despite its sporting looks and sloped rear, head and legroom is ample, even in the back. In the front, meanwhile, you’re treated to a pair of wonderfully firm but cushioned chairs, electrically adjustable every-way in our Premium Luxury model.
Although sober and reserved in appearance as you’d wish for a Jag, its controls are cutting edge. Gear selection is via the big silver dial we’ve already mentioned or alternatively via paddle shifters attached to the back of the steering wheel. Whichever you use, the gears slip sweetly from one to another. And, if you start using the paddle shifts to pick gears and then miss a change or just get bored, the transmission ‘senses’ and reverts to full auto shifting.
The handbrake is electronic and works smoothly and well via a small push-pull lever behind the transmission control. Moving on to the minor stuff, the climate controlled air conditioning, heated seats and even heated steering wheel rim are controlled via the touch screen that also lets you plot the sat-nav. For a system that packs so many options, it’s a cinch to operate.
The steering is direct and nicely weighted, as you’d expect, while the car smothers bumps while keeping flat and level as you attack a series of bends. It copes with pretty much any surface with nary a bump or thump transmitting to the cabin: it’s a great friend on a long journey.
The XF’s too new to find many second-hand and such is its quality that we predict big demand for used ones.
All this, and the Jag’s keenly priced against rivals such as a Mercedes E-class or BMW 5-series, once you factor in all you’re getting. Compared to the Jaguar S-class that it replaces, and pretty much anything else at the price the XF is a leap ahead, and a triumph.
- Engines2.7 TD
- 0-60 mph7.7sec
- Insurance groups17
Motors.co.uk value verdict: