With a starting price of $52,895, it costs another $8750 to upgrade to the R-Sport trim. For that sum, you add things like 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, and lane-keeping assist. Jaguar’s newly launched infotainment interface called InControl Touch is standard—and a huge improvement over the old system.
We averaged 19 mpg over 600 miles of mixed driving. That’s 5 mpg lower than the EPA combined rating and 1 mpg below the city figure, although our collective heavy right foot certainly contributed to the low score. Mileage will vary, right?
So the cosmetic surgery is minor. But the quality of life has improved, as the Jaguar changed more radically underneath, where the previous steel-intensive structure was swapped for a predominantly aluminum one, much of it shared withthe smaller XE. This transforms the XF, making it ready to compete with the newest and best in the mid-size luxury-sedan class. A two-inch-longer wheelbase fits into a body that’s fractionally shorter overall and sits a tad lower.
The second row offers plenty of room for two adults, but three would be a tight fit over a long distance. When moving stuff, not people, is the priority, the rear seat folds in a 40/20/40 split to expand on the large 19-cubic-foot trunk, a nice feature that gives some versatility to moving long or large objects and people at the same time.
The XF is quick, quiet, and spacious, and the structure and chassis feel capable of handling a lot more in terms of both tuning and power. This may be a bit of strategic planning on Jag’s part, because an XF S, with the 380-hp V-6 and summer tires (when they become available) would give this model a legitimate shot at matching the CTS Vsport’s performance. As a bonus, we’d get to look at and drive more new XFs in the months to come.
Jag claims the new structure saves 132 pounds in rear-wheel-drive models and 265 in AWD versions. Our scales don’t completely agree. We never weighed a 3.0-liter rear-drive XF of the last generation, only an all-wheel-drive model, but that one weighed only 258 pounds more than this 4127-pound, rear-drive 2016. Not apples-to-apples, obviously, but we don’t imagine Jag’s claim holding true when we get around to weighing an AWD variant. The new car is basically the same exterior size, but the longer wheelbase expands interior space by five cubic feet to a total of 100.
JAGUAR XF 35T R-SPORT
Still, our car came packed with more than $13K in options. We’re suckers for national racing colors, so British Racing Green for $550 looks like money well spent to our eyes. The same goes for the cooled front seats, heated rear seats (the fronts get heat as standard), soft-close doors, and power-operated trunk that came with the $2000 Convenience package. The contents of the $2700 Luxury Interior Upgrade package (four-zone climate control, rear-seat sunshades, a faux-suede headliner, and ambient interior lighting) don’t seem worth the cost, nor does the $3100 Driver Assistance package. The latter is likely a good buy only for those who are going to use adaptive cruise control often.
The steering wheel never feels too heavy. It’s light around town and loads up in step with cornering aggression. Even on the skidpad, where this XF’s all-season rubber was coaxed to 0.86 g worth of lateral grip, the steering heft increases as understeer settles in but never feels artificially heavy. Summer tires likely would improve both feel and measured performance, but they aren’t yet available from the factory. Our car did sport optional, $2500 20-inch wheels.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen responds to inputs more quickly, while physical buttons aid switching among the various submenus for phone, media, and navigation. InControl Touch Pro brings a 10.2-inch screen, full digital gauge cluster, and no hard buttons, but it’s part of a $3100 Technology option package not selected for our test car.
For now, XFs come in two strengths with essentially the same engine, a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that debuted with the 2013 XJ. The six-cylinder has a 90-degree angle between banks because its block is derived from the company’s V-8. Two counter-rotating balance weights mitigate vibration. The R-Sport we tested is the upper trim level equipped with the lower-output version making 340 horsepower. (One must spend another $2050 for the XF S model to get the 380-hp engine.) Both V-6s produce identical peak torque of 332 lb-ft at 4500 rpm.
The regular-strength V-6 propelled this R-Sport to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 13.6 at 103 mph, quicker than all four competitors in our most recent comparison test of mid-size luxury cars, but not muscular enough to hang with the Cadillac CTS Vsport and its 420-hp twin-turbo V-6.
You’ll need to look closely at the latest Jaguar XF sports sedan to see that it’s an all-new model, its styling being so subtly evolved from its predecessor that first went on sale in 2007. Spotters’ guide: Look for the hood cutline behind the nose (the former model’s hood extended to the grille) and the ornamental vent on the front quarter-panels, now horizontal rather than vertical.
This new XF’s cabin is nicely appointed and well laid out; there’s nothing to offend your fingertips or eyes outside of the housing for the $990 head-up display (HUD), which squats atop the instrument binnacle like a hairy mole on an otherwise perfect face. Rather bulbous A-pillar bases eat into the forward visibility in this high-beltline sedan, but you stop noticing that with familiarity. Not so with that HUD lump.
Composed may be the single best word in describing this car’s manners. Adaptive dampers, which come as part of the $1000 Adaptive Dynamics package, performed flawlessly in Normal mode with little suspension noise and an agreeable blend of handling competency and ride comfort.
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