08-07-2019

Jaguar XF Driven

REVIEWS

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Exclusivity is second to you, and if this is you, guess what we found a car for you, which is as exclusive as you, and has a turn around and look at me value, like no other car in that segment.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the car that I am referring to this time is Jaguar’s Mid Segment Luxury Car, the XF.

The XF was developed at Jaguar's Whitley design and development HQ in Whitley, Coventryand was built at Castle Bromwich Assembly facility in Birmingham.

The XF was first launched at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, following the public showing of the C-XF concept in January 2007 at the North American International Auto Show. Customer deliveries commenced in March 2008,with a range of V6 and V8 engines. The first generation of the XF was codenamed X250 and it was also available in the Indian Market.

Designed by Jaguar's design director Ian Callum, the styling incorporates an oval mesh grille recalling the original Jaguar XJof 1968. The boot lid retained the S-Type's chromed blade to its edge and included a "leaper" hood ornament.

What we currently have in India is the second generation of the XF (codenamed X260) and has been on sale for quite some time. In Jaguar's lineup, the XF sits between the entry-level XE and the flagship XJ.

Design Language - Exteriors

There’s a saying, “Cats have it all; admiration, endless sleep and the company only when they want it”. This saying partly stands true for this wild cat as well. The XF makes sure you end up admiring her every time you (or even your haters for that matter) have a look at her, she's capable of giving the driver in you some sleepless nights because you end-up day dreaming in night about the way she tackles those corners. And what about the company? This wild cat will make sure that you enjoy the best of the company over a typical corporate gathering over an evening.

At a first sight, the XF doesn’t stand out as a brand-new car. Jaguar design boss Ian Callum and his team have gone for evolutionary styling and a family look, so it’s possible to pass-by the XF mistaking it for an existing Jag. However, see the car in its entirety and it’s the size, more than anything else that establishes this as the XF. It’s a long car, but the proportions are good and the low bonnet, high boot silhouette looks swell.

The front of this Jaguar is flanked by large trapezoidal grill, with cat-eyes like bi-xenon headlights and J-Shaped day time running lights completing the front look. The Prestige Variant which we've reviewed comes equipped with LED lights. The headlamps do a very good job of illuminating the roads during the night. The bumpers have integrated air dams which give an aggressive stance to the car. The power lines on the bonnet carry a beefy look and overall enhance the visual appeal of the car.

Like the front, the side profile does not create any drama, however, is minimalistic at the best. The 17-inch alloys with multi-spoke design looks subtle yet classy. The window line has a sloping roofline and adorns chrome lining, which adds a dash of premiumness. Application has been tasteful, and chrome looks good when used in the right quantity. Not only does it oozes luxury, but also sort of plays the role of adding a character line to the car. At an overall width of about 1594 mm, the car sits pretty squat and low.

The rear is quite simple (and bland) as compared to the sides and the front. No drama whatsoever, flanked by large taillights, twin exhaust pipes and the lettering effect of the badging for the car, complete the rear. The Rear-End is reminiscent of the XE.

Let's step-in if you've done exploring the exteriors of the XF.

Design Language- Interiors

Open the front door, the door opens in typical three position lock, feels heavy and sturdy. Step in and the first thing you notice is, how well the interior is screwed together. It feels right up there, with its German Rivals, barring few things here and there. What also attracts you is the fact that it is super stylish. I particularly loved the wraparound hood around the dash, it's called the "Riva Loop" and it looks plush.

The XF’s front seats work brilliantly. The perforated leather seats look good, are supremely comfortable, and the top-spec Portfolio (not the Prestige) trim gets 14-way electric adjust, including controls for thigh support and side bolstering. However, there is some disappointment. Jaguar cabins, while luxurious in their own right, have never quite matched the Germans for quality and, unfortunately, that’s something you’ll see here too. There are a few hard plastics in the cabin and even bits like the buttons for the windows lack the richness we’ve seen in the newer lot of Mercs and Audis. It’s not sub-par by any standard, but Jag’s rivals have taken the game forward in this respect.

The dashboard is flanked by a centre screen, which has bright resolution, though not as crisp as its German Rivals, but does go about doing the job well. The audio duties here are handled by the Meridian 340 watts System, more on that later. Parking Sensors and Satellite Navigation comes standard across all the variants on offer in India, which in my opinion is a good thing.

The steering wheel is chunky and is great to hold. Thumb recesses have been provided as well. The instrument console, though is analogue and flanked with MID in the centre, does not look too bad to look at. Oddly enough, my pick would still be an analogue display over the more modern Virtual Displays (I'm being old school, but I prefer simpler things). However, the Portfolio variant of the XF comes with virtual display, which looks stellar to look at.

Coming to the rear, the rear seats are supportive, the rear legroom is at a premium, when compared to its rivals, however, the seat cushioning is ample which will keep you comfortable should you be out on a long countryside trip. Seated at the back, you also get a good view of the cabin and a nice view out. However, headroom could be an issue for tall passengers due to sloping roofline and the high centre tunnel is a spoiler for those seated in the middle.

In Car Entertainment

The 8-inch centre console screen doubles up as the infotainment, communication and entertainment system. The Prestige Variant of the XF that we had for the review, came with 340-watts Meridian Sound System. The top-spec Portfolio trim comes equipped with a Meridian Surround Sound System which sound better than the one in the Prestige.

The car has usual connectivity modules, like Bluetooth, USB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sound from the Meridian System, though is up there with the best in the segment, the bass notes though are too strong, which end up eating into the low and mid notes What we particularly did not enjoy is the lag in the touch screen.

Performance- Engine and Gearbox

Jaguar had launched the XF in India with three engine options. A four-cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine which is a part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium engine family. There's also a four cylinder, 2.0-litre Petrol which is available in two state of tunes; 198HP/320 NM Torque or 246HP/365 NM Torque. No prizes here for guessing, which one is the faster and more agile. What we had for the review was the mid-spec Prestige variant which came with a 2-Litre Diesel under-the-hood.

When compared to the JLR’s old diesel engine, the Ingenium unit immediately feels like an improvement, especially when talking refinement. It’s quieter and more refined, though still not class-leadingly so. You can hear a clatter at idle and the engine booms and sounds quite coarse when pushed. However, at typical mild throttle speeds, engine noise levels are more than acceptable. What aids in the car’s agility is the fact that almost 75% of the car is built using aluminum, which also further improves on the fuel efficiency figures.

What also helps this Jaguar leap forward is the 8-Speed Sequential Shift Automatic Gearbox. At times, we did feel that the gearbox was struggling to find the right gear, this has nothing to do with the gearbox’s capability, but the fact that the Jag is an heavy car, and the gearbox takes a moment or two to think, what could be the right gear for the moment and then slot it accordingly. We think, a more powerful diesel mill would help solve this problem. Jaguar are you listening. Please get the XF in 3.0 guise.

Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability

In town, the 180hp engine does come across as strong with the 8-speed gearbox chipping in by keeping revs above 2000rpm when you need immediate power. There are four driving modes to choose from, namely Rain, Eco, Normal and Dynamic, each with its own engine, gearbox and steering setup. Normal works well enough but Dynamic makes the powertrain feel at its alertest best. Flooring the throttle has the diesel XF pick up pace smartly and, though the engine may not rev as quickly as a similar-displacement BMW or Audi, it does, again, feel strong.

The steering weighs up very well. It’s direct and you exactly know what the tires are up to. The steering is very progressive, very precise and gives you lot more control while you are driving. No wonder I said, it sets the new benchmark in the handling department.

The BMW may believe that they make the ultimate driving machines, however this XF is equally good as the 5 Series and comes across as fun car to drive in its class, it has got the best steering, paired with one of the best chassis balance. It’s a not brainer then, that the XF is a corner craver. Throw any turn in front of it, it takes everything in its stride. The Handling is taut and the XF sticks to the line and gives you that confidence of taking those hairpin bends at higher speeds.

The Jaguar XF also rides well. The suspension is well tuned and is able to mute most of the undulations on the road. You don’t feel the need to have an adaptive suspension setup in this car, as the standard setup ensures that the car is sharp enough to react to your steering inputs. However sharply you turn in or turn out, the car keeps the occupants in place without tossing them much. The ride quality is absolutely comfortable.

The Verdict

The Jaguar XF operates in the segment, where the E Class rules the roost for back seat comfort, the 5 Series has no barrels hold performance, the S90 has phenomenal build quality and list of endless safety features, and the Audi A6, which comes with host of gizmos, to keep you occupied and busy.

Where does the XF fit in then? Remember, Exclusivity was the first word for you, this is where the XF fits in for you. A point to consider here is that, while all others leaving Audi, have generationally changed their line-up, Jaguar is yet to bring in the brand new XF, and should it any time soon upgrade the current XF to fight it out with the New E or the New 5 or even the upcoming new A6, well we would say from features, luxury and comfort perspective, the current generation XF, is right up there with the new cars, whether it is the Virtual Display, or Satellite Navigation or Apple CarPlay or astounding audio setup or even handling characteristics. What it lacks is a more modern looking and much sharper stance and crisp lines, to appeal that much more.

Till that happens, I can guarantee you, at every signal, you will have people turning around and murmuring “hey look, that’s a Jaguar, looks classy no.” Be ready to enjoy this exclusivity when you buy one, and we feel, that’s the reason, you should pick this Jaguar XF over its rivals, as this truly is jack of all trades and master of one- Handling.

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About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  



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