The XF from Jaguar – the midsize luxury sedan-in-coupe-clothing that replaced both S- and X-type models a few years back – quickly became one of my favorite new cars, and my recent test of the Supercharged version of this super cat only solidifies my stance.
As soon as I slid behind the wheel of this car, I quickly forgot and forgave the previous entry attempts by the automaker. HERE is where luxury and performance truly begin.
A quick tap on the start button (no key slot anymore) and the XF comes alive. Up from the center console rises the transmission shift knob, and motorized panels on the dash reveal air vents and navigation screen. (Note: You’re going to need to plan extra time that will be lost while entertaining passengers as you demonstrate these cool features.)
As the engine fires to life, it responds with a deep, catty growl from the dual exhaust tips in back and anticipation mounts as you slide a hand from the exquisitely-crafted leather and wood steering wheel to turn the shift knob to begin your journey.
Time spent in the XF will be measured in pleasant memories, stored in that part of your cerebral cortex reserved for your first kiss and the birth of a child. OK, driving the XF won’t rank as high as those other two, but there is only one first kiss and you are only going to have so many children – you can drive the XF to your heart’s content.
Despite being the “entry” Jaguar, design and engineering were certainly no afterthoughts as this cat is filled with such feats as six-speed automatic sequential shift transmission with JaguarDrive paddle and rotary knob shifters, Jaguar-sense proximity sensing control for overhead lighting, B&W premium audio system with SIRIUS Satellite radio and portable audio connectivity, DVD-based navigation system with touch screen control and bluetooth connectivity, smartkey keyless entry/start, JaguarVoice that can control many functions simply by asking (thus eliminating the need for taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel).
Standard features also include automatic speed limiter, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic parking brake, blind spot monitor, front and rear parking aids, rear camera parking aid, adaptive cruise control, and much, much more.
XF occupants are protected by anti-lock braking system with emergency brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control through engine and brake intervention, dynamic stability control, cornering brake control, and engine drag torque control. The XF also features understeer control logic, which has been designed to mitigate understeer (inability to turn when going into a corner) by intervening through the engine management and braking systems to decelerate the car and help restore grip to the front wheels.
The new XF has exceptional torsional stiffness, and with a wide rear track it displays excellent handling characteristics. These elements underpin a dynamic ethos that is driver-focused yet supremely comfortable and refined. Just as its looks promise, the new XF excels across the board in every role from a sports car to a luxurious long-distance cruiser.
We recently tested the mid-range XF Supercharged model powered by third-generation AJ-V8 5.0-liter engine cranking out 470hp and 424 lb. ft. of torque. And have I mentioned the Sport mode? Were I to purchase an XF I would request Jaguar replace the letter “S” with “F” as in FUN (or an expletive I’ve been known to utter while ripping into the gas pedal).
Fuel economy for the supercharged powerplant rolls in at 15 mpg and 21 mpg highway. Pricing on the 2012 XF begins at 53 grand with our Supercharged model arriving to the tune of $68,975.