What is there to complain about having 300hp under the hood? Not much. The off-the-line performance of the Jag is a bit subdued probably due to the two-tons of weight. Once at speed, it’s definitely in its element moving like a cat after a mouse in an open field. Braking is phenomenal and you can get a sense of the seriousness of the braking system by peering through the spokes of the Auriga wheels: the rotors are thick and have a large diameter. Slamming on the brakes felt like I had deployed drag chutes behind the car. It always stopped quickly and confidently never straying from the intended path or pitching forward.
For a fairly heavy car, I really appreciated the suspension blending compliance with performance. In fast turns, the body remained flat, but not bone-jarring as with some performance suspensions. Road irregularities or holes were absorbed as if I was rolling over small pebbles; in other words, they were barely noticed and the body never responded with oscillations. Steering felt well-weighted (if not a just a tad boosted), and there’s excellent on-center feel.
Wow, the Lunar Gray body panels on the XF are downright curvaceous! From the complex creases and curves of the hood to the shoulders of the rear quarter panels, it’s a downright attractive car. I love the stubby rear as it gives the car a more aggressive stance while the half-moon shaped dual exhaust tips add a touch of class (though this is popular with even cars like the new Mazda 6); even so, I like the integration of the shapes with the black panel below the rear bumper. The hood has an elevated center section reminiscent of some 70’s muscle cars, and is well integrated with the hood lines.
Nearing $60k for this Jag, it reminds me of the similarly priced (previous generation) Volvo S80 I drove almost a year ago. The Volvo seemed to have a bit more useable space in both rear seating as well as the trunk. If you’re looking to transport 4-people (with luggage) for a weekend at Pebble Beach, it will be difficult as the trunk is rather small. The XF, however, beats the Volvo with a sleeker and more upscale interior design with interior components a notch above the Volvo’s. The car has too many features to list, but they all integrate well with the driver making the driving experience pure pleasure.
This is a cool car, and even though James Bond prefers Aston Martin’s, I think he’d maintain his debonair image driving the Jaguar XF. The ergonomics of the interior are excellent allowing the user to set/adjust all features easily and quickly with clearly marked buttons or intuitive knobs/controls. My only complaints were a slow-responding touch screen and some of the non-intuitive sub menus (like entering in a destination). I can enter a destination into my Magellan Crossover hand-held GPS in about 15-seconds, but the Jag’s user-interface is a challenge. Like the Volvo, the XF has the blind spot warning feature in which a warning icon illuminates in the respective left or right-side mirror if another vehicle enters your blind spot; this feature proved quite useful and was never intrusive during everyday driving. The sonar sensors mounted to the front and rear bumpers provided visual and audible feedback on the touch screen, but a backup camera would have been a nice supplement to the feature. During my 350-miles of driving, I averaged a little over 18-mpg albeit with a heavy foot. While in cruise mode on the freeway, it’s easy to achieve the EPA 25-mpg rating. It’s hard to believe this is Jag’s current “entry-level” vehicle considering how feature laden the XF is; check it out, you’ll be as impressed as I was.
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