The Jaguar XF is an upmarket medium to large sedan / saloon that has a sporting flair in all models that's not always the norm in its market segment.

While not an out and out performer in the manner of the SVR (nee R-Sport) range, the standard XF definitely sits to the sporting side in the eternal sports / handling compromise. Drivers love it for that and we've just spent a most enjoyable week behind the wheel of an iconic British machine.

Design

The newly launched Jaguar XF has a strong visual resemblance to the model it has superseded, which makes a lot of sense as the latest Jaguar theme has gained a lot of praise. The distinctive new-generation Jaguar grille is almost upright and flanks large headlights, with big foglight grilles beneath them.

Quality of build is high and there's no doubt you're in a Jaguar. 

The Jaguar's profile is long, low and sleek and finishes off with a fastback rear end. Our review car certainly drew plenty of comments on the road and when we parked.

Inside you can opt for the traditional leather-and-timber look - still our favourite - or more modern metallic-sports appearance. Quality of build is high and there's no doubt you're in a Jaguar due to the centre gear selector that rises from the console, and the air vents that are hidden when the ignition is off. Love it.

Features

Jaguar XF has two multimedia systems. The standard one is InControl Touch and uses an 8.0-inch touchscreen. It supports gestures as used on smartphones and tablet computers to let you swipe and drag your way around the system. 

There's also voice recognition control, which reduces the amount of potentially dangerous driver distractions.

Jaguars InControl Touch Pro as fitted to our test car had a 10.2-inch touchscreen. The home screen can be customised, wallpaper can be set to any image, and widgets can be added to provide shortcuts. It also supports the latest generation of Jaguar's Dual View technology and has a 100 per cent increase in screen pixel count over the previous model.

The quality of the audio output from the optional 17-speaker, 825-Watt digital surround sound system developed by Meridian in conjunction with Jaguar is very impressive.

Engines / Transmissions

There's a solid range of engines on offer; four-cylinder 177kW turbo-petrol and a 132kW turbo-diesel engines, both with capacities of 2.0 litres. 

Then there's a trio of 3.0-litre V6 engines, two supercharged petrol, the other a turbo-diesel. Outputs are 250kW or 280kW in the petrol and 221kW from the diesel. Our review XF was fitted with what we feel is the best of the lot, the supercharged 250kW V6.

All engines sit in front of an eight-speed automatic transmission. It works brilliantly with the engine's computer, providing fast smooth changes and generally reading the driver's mind as to the correct ratio. 

Safety

Passive and active safety features had already gained the Jaguar XF a five-star Euro NCAP rating before it arrived in Australia in February 2015. In April 2016, it was issued a maximum five-star crash test rating from ANCAP.

Driving

Seat comfort is every bit as good as in all Jaguar saloons. It seems the Brits prefer it that way, and as our bones aren't as young as they used to be we approve of this design standard. 

Front seat room is fine with good leg and reasonable foot room. The rear seat, while not exactly stretch-out spacious is fine for two adults who aren't a lot taller than average, the low sporting profile creates a minor drawback in this area. 

The 3.0-litre 250kW supercharged petrol V6 was our favourite unit when we attended the national media launch of the Jaguar XF in Melbourne early this year. Having just spent a week with that engine in our home area in south-east Queensland our view certainly hasn't changed. 

Though it's obviously a high-performance unit, the efficiency of the petrol 3.0 means it only used seven to eight litres of fuel per hundred kilometres.

The silky smooth feel and fast throttle that make a supercharged engine quicker than a turbocharged one is very much to our liking. The seemingly endless torque made light work of hills and minimised time on the wrong side of the road when overtaking. 

Though it's obviously a high-performance unit, the efficiency of the petrol 3.0 means it only used seven to eight litres of fuel per hundred kilometres on the open road and motorways. Around town and when we enjoyed all that grunt this climbed to a still pretty reasonable nine to twelve litres per hundred.

While Jaguar tells us the XF is aimed at a slightly more mature owner than the smaller XE we find it just as enjoyable to punt hard. The EPAS (Electric Power Assisted Steering) in the new XF is the best in the business, with excellent feel and accuracy. 

Ride leans slightly to the sporting side in the endless ride/handling compromise that always bugs suspension engineers. We like the firmness and feel true lovers of sporting sedans will side with us. Jaguar XF is a true businessman's express. 

Road grip is excellent, with generally unobtrusive electronic assistance should you make a mistake and enter a bend at a higher speed than intended. 

Smooth roads saw the Jag provide limo-like smoothness and noise levels. However, tyre noise on some rough-ish road surfaces was higher than expected. Try before you buy and make sure your test drive has some roads in poor condition if you're likely to be travelling on these on a usual basis.