By Kelly Foss – MyCarData.com
Starting price about $52,000
When Jaguar’s XF first made its debut in 2007, it ushered in a dramatically new design aesthetic for the British car maker. Everything about the XF was thoroughly modern — ready to take on the new century in style.
Now, nine years later, the XF is all new again and poised to pounce like the predatory cat for which it is named. You have to look close, but it is indeed, all new. “A few screws are all that we kept,” says Mike Bradley, senior launch manager. No sheet metal is shared – in fact – a lot of aluminum replaces a lot of steel.
Take a walk around and you’ll notice a different nose and more upright glass, along with LED headlights to give this mid-size sedan some more dazzle. It does have an aggressive, catlike stance, befitting of its lineage.
Everything but the doors, trunklid, and rear floorpan are made of aluminum, and as Bradley pointed out, they retained what little steel there was to help with weight distribution. Lest you worry about safety, they did strategically place some steel inserts to bolster rigidity and crashworthiness. In all, the XF is about 75 percent aluminum, and roughly 28 percent more rigid than before.
Driving the XF offers a dynamic experience that is everything you would expect – and maybe more. The XF is powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic, yielding 340 horsepower and a solid 332 lb-ft of torque. All-Wheel Drive is optional. You get a nice growl from the engine without the whine of the supercharger, meaning interior Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) are kept to a minimum. Shifting is quick and smooth hits 0-60 mph in just under five seconds.
The electric power steering feels lively and points the car with laser-like precision. The XF rides on a mostly aluminum independent rear suspension and a double wishbone up front. This translates into a well-balanced ride that feels tight, smooth, and well balanced.
Enthusiasts can opt for the XF-S, which offers the same turbocharged engine, but with 40 more horses.
All that supercharged power juxtaposed with the lightweight aluminum design, means the XF gets up to 20 mpg in the city and up to 30 on the highway.
Inside, this Jag is a luxurious and elegant space without the opulence. Perhaps its most notable feature is the gear selector dial, which takes some getting used to but also makes a great conversation piece. A decent-sized center touch screen allows access to phone, navigation, and audio functions, while actual knobs located just below allow operation of the climate control system.
The leather seats offer a good deal of support, and as the car speeds up, it seems the cabin shrinks down and hugs itself around you.
Starting at about 52K and ranging into the mid-sixties, the XF is a worthy challenger to its German counterparts.