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Jaguar XF R Sport 2.0d 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Jaguar’s original XF was a massively important car for the much-loved British brand.

Jaguar’s original XF was a massively important car for the much-loved British brand. Everything that had come before the ground-breaking four-door coupe had been utterly lacklustre, pretty much back to the 1950s. The XF changed all that, with Ian Callum’s sleek lines and hardly anything that made a visible link with the parent company at the time (Ford, if you remember).

The XF carried the company through the GFC with V6, V8 and then turbocharged four cylinder engines of both flavours of fuel, along with the delightfully unhinged XFR supercharged V8.

It’s fair to say, the XF was an instant classic, which makes life hard when you have to replace it, as Jaguar did last year.

Value

The XF range starts at $82,800 for the diesel Prestige Auto and soars through to $128,200 for the supercharged V6 petrol 35t S. Our test car is the 20d R Sport Auto at $88,800, around $5000 more than its smaller, heavier predecessor. It’s worth noting that the old XF didn’t have any help from the recently-launched XE so had to fight on both medium and large car battlegrounds.

Standard is an 11-speaker Meridian-branded stereo with USB and Bluetooth, 19-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, reversing camera with parking sensors front and rear, cruise control, electric front seats, power windows and mirrors, auto headlights and wipers, satnav, bi-xenon headlights, auto-parking, leather trim and sports seats.

Long, slim-hipped and low-slung, you can tell it apart from the very similar little brother, the XE.

Even though there’s an R badge, sadly it doesn’t include the V8 supercharged engine (the new XFR is yet to arrive) but does add sports suspension, various R Sport badging, dark aluminium trim, sportier front and rear bumpers and sills.

Our test car was also fitted with the sunroof ($3200!), Italian racing red metallic paint ($2000), 19-inch black alloys shod with sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber ($1300), blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert ($1420), Sports Taurus leather seats ($1100), lane departure warning and drowsiness detection ($1060) and the $1310 Black Pack which ditches the standard satin chrome for blacked out trim pieces, including all the usually chrome brightwork and the big aggro grille.

All that takes the XF R Sport 2.0d to $99,900.

It’s worth pointing out that Jaguar’s capped price servicing regime is very impressive – the Ingenium diesel only needs to see the inside of a dealership once every two years/34,000km and will cost you just $1100 over five years.

Design

The new XF is very clearly an XF and you can’t argue with the brand sticking with what it knows - the car is undoubtedly very pretty. Long, slim-hipped and low-slung, you can tell it apart from the very similar little brother, the XE, by the extra quarter windows at the rear and different head and taillights.

In this blood red colour with the black wheels, heads turned, too, so it’s clear the exterior styling’s gentle evolution has done it no harm.

Jaguar’s 8-inch screen, which looks a little anaemic, provides a small target for the fatter finger.

Inside is quite stylish but not as adventurous as the beautiful exterior might suggest. There’s plenty of room for front passengers while the rear seat occupants will find legroom compares favourably to a 5 Series or A6. The rear headlining is carved out for taller folk to avoid cracking heads on the ceiling.

There’s a couple of fun touches in the interior – on start-up the transmission’s rotary selector rises majestically from the centre console and the air vents roll open, the latter an XF trademark.

There’s a total of four cupholders, two up front and two in the rear centre armrest and door pockets in each door. The boot holds 505 litres and the seats fold 40/20/40 and there’s also a ski port.

Safety

Six airbags, ABS, traction, stability and corner braking controls, brake assist, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.

The XF scored five stars in EuroNCAP crash testing, with ANCAP yet to rate it.

Features

R Sport makes do with Jaguar’s 8-inch screen, which looks a little anaemic and provides a small target for the fatter finger. Powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch software, it’s probably the only part of the car where you might feel a little let down on the technology front. While there’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just very slow to respond to inputs which could also be the hardware. XFs higher up the range get InControl Plus and a 10-inch screen that looks better in the space.

Vision out of the rear is a little restricted so the optional blind spot sensor was most welcome.

Those who remember the old car’s system won’t complain, though, because that was pretty awful, so there’s been a huge improvement there. The sound from all those speakers is very good and given the cabin’s quietness, doesn’t have much to overcome. Pairing with your phone is easy and the interface to control everything perfectly useable.

Engine and transmission

The 20d R Sport is propelled by JLR’s new Ingenium 2.0-litre turbodiesel good for 132kW and 430Nm. Jaguar says this will push the 1595 XF to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds while using a combined cycle average of 4.3L/100km.

Our mix of city and a run down the coast from Sydney to Kiama that included dreadful holiday traffic saw the average drop to 6.8L/100km. The eight-speed ZF transmission has continued on and sends the power to the rear wheels.

Driving

The 2.0 litre diesel’s power output is hardly earth-shattering – but the torque figure (allied with a handy weight loss) is nothing to sneeze at, making the XF is a handy performer once you’re off the mark.

The sports suspension encourages a bit of corner carving, something made quite a lot of fun by being able to surf along on the big torque number. It’s especially fun in Sport mode which turns up the throttle response but doesn’t automagically shift the rotary dial transmission selector into Sport mode. It’s a pity that the diesel can’t be made to crackle like the delectable (and rather more expensive) supercharged 3.0 litre V6.

The optional 19-inch alloys did little-to-nothing to upset the ride of the XF or even add road noise. The run down the freeway to the south coast was near silent with just the lightest rustle from wing mirrors, easily drowned out with the stereo on low volume.

The steering is well weighted and the controls are just right (although why the pedals aren’t cliché drilled aluminium is anyone’s guess). Vision out of the rear is a little restricted so the optional blind spot sensor was most welcome. The cruise control was a bit of a pain, however – most cars at this level have braking control to keep the car from piling on downhill speed, not very welcome on a double demerit points weekend.

Verdict

The new XF has beauty, brains and even a bit of brawn with the 2.0 litre diesel. It’s super-quiet and after its weight loss program, a better drive. What this means is that the Jaguar is not just a contender in the prestige sedan space but a genuine fighter.

Would you consider an XF over an E-Class or 5 series or A6? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Jaguar XF pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$61,490
Based on 40 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$39,990
Highest Price
$85,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $39,990 – 67,900 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
20D R-Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 57,990 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs
25T Portfolio 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 69,900 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 25T Portfolio Pricing and Specs
25T R-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $49,990 – 77,990 2016 Jaguar XF 2016 25T R-Sport Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$39,990

Lowest price, based on 40 car listings in the last 6 months

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