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Jaguar XF 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Jaguar XF with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its international launch in Spain.

Jaguar's new XF sedan is leaner, fitter and packs more of a punch. And it needs to be.

On top of tackling the German heavyweights, it has to face an enemy from within: the company’s all-new XE sedan.

Smaller and cheaper than the XF, the XE is aimed at BMW’s 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, but it is sure to dent XF sales.

Since the demise of the much maligned X-Type in 2010, the XF has been Jaguar’s cheapest and biggest selling model, accounting for 75 per cent of sales.

But the launch of the XE has forced Jaguar to re-position the XF as a more spacious, more substantial, better equipped offering ... with a price to match.

Made of 75 per cent aluminium, the new XF is stronger and up to 190kg lighter.

the 3.0-litre V6 that now produces a prodigious 700Nm

A few millimetres shorter overall, it’s larger inside than before, with a 51mm longer wheelbase, 15mm more rear legroom and a claimed class-leading 540L boot.

The safety armoury includes just six airbags, but there is a range of driver-assist systems including autonomous braking.

The company will be hoping to achieve a better result than the embarrassing four out of five stars awarded by ANCAP to the previous model.

Our test cars were fitted with the standard instrument panel that included analog dials and a 8-inch centre screen.

A new multimedia system, which combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel in front of the driver with a 10.2-inch screen on the dash, will be an option on all models.

The digital instrument panel can be configured to incorporate a satnav display, while the centre screen has configurable tiles similar to a Windows-based phone.

Unfortunately, the unit won’t arrive until a couple of months after the December launch and can’t be retrofitted.

The XF also gets a digital speedometer with a laser head-up display and an interactive speed limiter that uses map data and road sign recognition to increase or decrease the car’s speed when the prevailing limit changes.

In theory, once activated, it would be impossible to be booked.

On the road 

We got to drive three of the five engine variants headed our way: the 280kW supercharged petrol V6 plus the two new diesels — the all-new 2.0-litre Ingenium four and the 3.0-litre V6 that now produces a prodigious 700Nm.

All engines are paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic, complete with steering wheel-mounted change paddles, with drive to the rear wheels — plus torque vectoring, optional adaptive damping and electric power steering.

The new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is a replacement for the previous 2.2L and is capable of delivering fuel consumption of just 4.3L/100km.

It’s remarkably smooth and quiet compared with the old one and quicker off the mark, too - despite the fact it’s a little less powerful.

The car cruises easily with ample acceleration for overtaking, but was occasionally found wanting as boost dropped off when coming off tight rising hairpins.

The larger diesel is the pick of the engines. It produces even more power and torque than before and we were thankful for this as we headed into the steep mountain roads around Pamplona in northern Spain. This engine was a good thing the first time around and should satisfy even the most demanding drivers, with a 0-100km/h time of just 6.2 seconds. The car feels noticeably heavier, but has a solid, planted feel and remains surefooted in corners with a good balance between comfort and firmness.

It’s a fun car to drive, but could do with firmer sports suspension

The cabin was quiet but not library quiet, with some tyre roar on coarser surfaces.

The new electric steering is well weighted with good on-centre feel. It feels direct and responsive with good turn-in to corners.

Our drive of the XF-S 280kW supercharged V6 was confined to the 4km Navarra racetrack near Los Arcos, with a driving instructor riding shotgun.

It’s a fun car to drive, but could do with firmer sports suspension. It also lacks some punch out of corners and the brakes aren’t really up to the demands of the racetrack.

Fortunately, these shortcomings are sure to be addressed by V8 models. There are a couple in the pipeline to match the current XF-R and XF-RS.

Missing from the launch line-up were the carried-over 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that can be found in the Ford Falcon, as well as the 250kW supercharged V6.

Verdict

The new Jaguar XF is an attractive alternative to the traditional luxury German sedans.

It's better looking and better equipped than the previous model, with more performance and improved fuel economy.

Pricing Guides

$39,990
Based on 4 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$36,950
Highest Price
$40,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0 Luxury 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $30,690 – 36,960 2015 Jaguar XF 2015 2.0 Luxury Pricing and Specs
2.0 Premium Luxury 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $30,910 – 37,180 2015 Jaguar XF 2015 2.0 Premium Luxury Pricing and Specs
2.0 R-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $40,040 – 47,080 2015 Jaguar XF 2015 2.0 R-Sport Pricing and Specs
2.2D Luxury 2.2L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $28,380 – 34,210 2015 Jaguar XF 2015 2.2D Luxury Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8