Sleek and elegant, the Jaguar XF sedan carries on the British motorcar-maker’s long tradition of automotive beauty blended with sporty road behavior. Redesigned for the 2016 model year with aluminum body panels, it slots between the smaller XE and full-size XJ sedans.
The 2017 Jaguar XF makes available a new turbodiesel four-cylinder engine.
Configurable Dynamic technology, available on all XF models, lets the driver use a touchscreen to tailor throttle mapping, shift strategy, and steering feel. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but an all-wheel-drive system, adapted from Jaguar’s F-Type sports car, is available. Upgraded infotainment includes InControl Touch smartphone connectivity with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, or a new version with larger display screens.
Styling might be less distinctive than previous XF sedans, but the current models handle with agility and are far roomier in the back than first-generation XFs.
Three engines are offered: 20d (the new turbodiesel four), 35t (3.0-liter V6), and S (more powerful V6). Base Premium, Prestige, and R-Sport trim levels are offered with the 20d or 35t powertrain.
Diesel engines have skidded in desirability, following the emissions-testing scandal surrounding Volkswagen’s diesel models. Rather than retreat, Jaguar has chosen to launch its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel as a means to combine excellent fuel economy with wholly satisfying performance. The turbodiesel develops 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque.
Most XF buyers will likely opt for a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 instead, producing either 340 or 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet. An 8-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters, can run rapidly through its gear range. Acceleration to 60 mph with the rear-drive, 380-horsepower version takes just 5.0 seconds, accompanied by typical V6 underhood sounds. A manual transmission is not available.
Balance is the XF’s prime attribute. Suspension tuning is softer than in some competitors, for a supple ride. Adaptive dampers are available.
Steering is both light and direct, for easy handling. Selective driving modes can apply greater or less weight to the steering, as well as alter the transmission and throttle for faster responses. Traction control regulates brakes and throttle when starting off.
Available safety technology includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, surround-view cameras, full LED headlights, head-up display, and automatic parking assist. Autonomous braking uses cameras to detect obstacles and trigger a stop. Many safety features come only in upper trim levels. A rearview camera is not standard on the base XF.
Rear-wheel drive is standard on all models. All-wheel drive adds $3,000.
Jaguar XF 20d Turbodiesel ($47,450) comes with a fixed rear seat, 380-watt audio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, USB port, 8-inch touchscreen; keyless start, and 18-inch wheels. XF 20d Premium Turbodiesel ($49,550) adds a rearview camera; split-folding rear seat, and power-adjustable steering column. Options include LED headlights, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
XF 20d Prestige Turbodiesel ($54,200) gets leather seat upholstery, heated power front seats, a heated steering wheel; front/rear parking sensors, navigation, and 19-inch wheels. Options include heated front/rear seats and 825-watt audio.
XF 20d R-Sport Turbodiesel ($58,300) features distinct front- and rear-end appearance, sport seats, lane-keep assist, LED adaptive headlights, and blind-spot monitoring. Options include heated/ventilated front seats and soft-close doors.
XF 35t Supercharger V6 ($50,490), XF 35t Premium Supercharger V6 ($51,900), XF 35t Prestige Supercharger V6 ($56,550), 35t R-Sport Supercharger V6 ($60,650) are equipped similarly to 20d models, but with 340-horsepower gasoline V6 engine.
XF S Supercharger V6 ($62,700) contains a 380-horsepower version of the V6 engine, plus 20-inch wheels.
Though less dramatic than Jaguars of the past, the second-generation XF is attentively detailed and carefully proportioned. Its predecessor was often named the most beautiful motorcar in its category.
Sharing elements of its shape with the smaller XE sedan, including fender vents, the XF blends elegance with simplicity. Forward-tilted roof pillars help emphasize its ample back-seat space. A rectangular-framed grille is flanked by big air intakes, while slim headlights arc upward. Bodysides contain one more window than the smaller XE, elongating the gradually-sloping roofline.
Less glamorous and more restrained than its predecessors, the aluminum-bodied XF yields ample front- and back-seat space, as well as abundant storage capacity. Clearly functional and well-organized, the cabin seems almost spartan, devoid of Jaguar’s typical dramatic effects. In a sense, it suggests sports sedan luxury from a decade past. On the other hand, Jaguar offers a variety of color and trim possibilities, stretching from spare to bawdy.
Clean, squared-off dashboard shapes mix with rotary knobs. In keeping with current trends, though, touchscreens have taken over.
Plainly shaped front seats are short on padding, with slightly flat cushions and low side bolsters. Some drivers’ knees may hit the console, but otherwise, occupants get stretch-out space.
Four six-foot adults can ride comfortably, with far more rear-seat room than in a first-generation XF, including welcome head and leg space. Small-item storage abounds, and the console contains USB ports. Measuring 19.1 cubic feet, the squared-off trunk is massive.
Base XF models get an 8-inch screen with new InTouch interface, above clearly marked switches for audio and climate control. Upper models get a 10.3-inch screen, plus a 12.3-inch companion that replaces conventional gauges.
Supple handling and potent V6 power help give the XF full sports sedan credibility. More relaxed on the road than, say, a Cadillac CTS, the XF promises a nicely composed ride as well as satisfying steering and responsive transmission behavior.
Though the new Turbodiesel four starts off briskly, the exhilaration starts to subside when approaching higher speeds. Sporty sounds are absent, overcome by efficiency. Acceleration to 60 mph requires around 7.7 seconds.
Brisk performance is the rule for either supercharged V6. You can expect a considerable amount of thrust, yielding 0-60 times near 5 seconds as well as a blend of supercharger whine and V6 rumblings. Most of the noise is absorbed by sound-deadening techniques. Gearchanges from the 8-speed transmission are smooth and nearly flawless, quickening in Sport model.
Whether driven energetically or leisurely, handling qualities provide a reassuring sense. Classic-level 50/50 weight distribution helps provide appealing, neutral road feel. Selectable driving modes include a low-speed launch position, aiming for crisp takeoffs on slick pavement.
Both V6 engines get the same fuel-economy estimates. Rear-drive sedans are EPA-rated at 20/29 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the Highway figure to 28 mpg. With rear-drive, the Turbodiesel four is EPA-rated at 31/42 mpg City/Highway, 35 mpg Combined, dipping to 30/40 mpg City/Highway with all-wheel drive.
In addition to beauty and elegance, as well as heritage, the second-generation XF sedan gets top scores in comfort, features, and performance. Priced attractively for what you get, this Jaguar also comes with a worthy warranty. A turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine is likely to join the lineup at some point.
Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.