Class act from Jaguar
The first words out of my mouth when I handed my Jaguar XF demonstrator keys back were, “I’m going to miss that car”. And there’s a reason for that. The British saloon I had on test this month made my life far more relaxing than I had envisaged.
Now, let me make it clear: the seven days I had with the XF involved traversing flat rural routes across Lincolnshire, hammering along fast stretches of motorway in the West Midlands and negotiating narrow, twisty roads in the Cotswolds. I also took the car to Norfolk, which involved the odd wandering herd of cows, pigs and sheep.
My point is, that whether driving at 70mph or sat still waiting for a plethora of pigs to move, the XF looks after you. The soft leather seats, the hushed cabin, the excellent brakes and, even the sound system, make you feel as though a palace has been given four wheels.
When there is a chance to bury your right foot into the deep carpet, the creamy smooth powertrain of the rear wheel drive XF Portfolio 2.0 i4 180PS, on test here, pulls the scenery by the side of your head briskly. It is done in such an uncomplicated way that the speedo needle can nudge three figures all too easily.
Pure performance aside, handling is very good. Indeed, the 2016 XF offers the fun already available from the Jaguar XJ, mainly due to its precise steering, lack of body roll and excellent traction.
The car will hold on to the surface like superglue, only stepping out when pushed to levels you should never attempt on a public highway. Jaguar’s done a good job by really showing us that the latest XF isn’t just a mile muncher – it’s a machine offering dynamism. In other words, it truly is a driver’s car. Oh, and when it comes to miles to the gallon, you’ll be pleased too. 65.7mpg is achievable on average.
The specification levels of the new XF are lavish. The cabin is a seamless blend of contemporary luxury materials and finishes, traditional Jaguar craftsmanship and state-of-the art technology.
What’s more, stereo camera technology enables autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist systems. Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist takes the stress out of motorway driving in stop-go traffic by tracking the vehicle in front, at a safe distance.
With its glut of talents and refreshed, more modern exterior, the latest XF is soon etched in your mind. From a distance, there are slight hints of Audi at the rear, but the car doesn’t look as much like the other premium executive saloons you see double-parked outside Michelin-starred restaurants in Chelsea or in City of London corporate car parks.
The XF’s boot is slightly bigger than you get in its BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz opponents; although, as a saloon, the loading aperture is smaller, compared with a hatchback.
There’s enough space in the rear for three-up, and those in the front have lots of room to unwind, along with a respectable assembly of storage compartments.
In summary, this new XF is loaded with a host of awesome tech, making the driving experience as luxurious and as exciting as possible. The Jaguar’s cabin is sophisticated and sturdily built, and the car is quick and a class act.
Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist