BMW 5 Series 2010 Review
Spicy hatch needs plenty of salt SAT 06 MAR 2010, Page 012 The hype is overdone, but the 5 GT adds...
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Even when you didn't - and that was often in recent times - you still wanted to. It might have been some retained warmth for such things British, or maybe just the cool badge, but whatever it was, the need to give the marque “just one more chance” was strong.
On reflection, that may have been aided by the lovely clubby feelof leather and wood keeping your spirits up as you waited on the roadside for the repairman.
In any event, it is now official. You can say you really, really like Jaguar and nobody, well, at least nobody who stays up with the times, is going to point and laugh.
The revival started with the XK sports cars. Stylish, powerful and worth being seen in, they gave modern Jaguar its first taste of what it was like to be wanted or even desired. At the time, those in the know shared a quiet smile and a gentle “just be patient”.
The late and sadly lamented Jaguar boss Geoff Polites offered - in regard to the then secret and unnamed XF - some three years ago that “we will never build a worse car than the next one”.
At the time we knew exactly what Polites meant, even if in isolation the statement is a little ambiguous. He was promising the start of a new Jaguar dynasty.
The XF has now delivered on that promise. The whole range, from the 3.0-litre V6 petrol to the 4.2-litre supercharged V8, is good.
The 2.7-litre bi-turbo diesel is special. Jaguar actually believed the car to be so good as to not need an entry-level “stripper” to lure buyers into showrooms and away from BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Call it a premium niche product and they will come, chequebooks falling open.
That may be an exaggeration but there can be no argument that the XF, especially the diesel, should be back on the shopping list of anyone looking at a six-figure car purchase.
The diesel starts at $105,500, not exactly bargain basement but trimmed with care and specified to pass acceptable at that level. While style may not sell the XF alone, it is enticing and challenging enough to appeal to a fair percentage of the public. The front is unapologetically aggressive, with a grille drawing influence from the gaping square mouth that fronted the XJ Series 1, while the rear is a classic from the director of styling Ian Callum, using power play with cues to the designer's gorgeous Aston Martin and XK styling.
The coupe-like lines of the XF are accentuated by the matching rake angles of the windscreen and rear glass.
It’s inside the car that the XF takes Jaguar to an entirely new level. Where once wood and leather were enough, the new Jaguar boasts an affinity with the past but styling driven by _ dare it be said _ a sense of fun.
The whole process of bringing the XF to life is theatrical enough to bring a smile to your face. This is a place you want to be.
Smooth lines, soft blue phosphor lighting, subtle use of metal; theyall welcome you to the interior ready for the show.
The car is fired up by a pulsing starter button, a bit twee but a nice analogy for what is the heart of the car.
Gone is the ridiculous J-Gate. The gear shifter is now an integrated dial, which rises out of the centre console to fit comfortably in the hand when the car is started. At the same time, the air vents reveal themselves in the fascia by swinging open.
The interior lights are controlled by touch-sensitive coverings and the glove box opens only to the direct touch on an embedded brass rondel. This has little practical purpose but is cute as a button.
The design target for the cabin was to emphasise sporting character. The dash has been lowered to improve the horizon vision and the glasshouse sits high enough to push the line that the driver sits in, rather than on, the seats.
Space is good, in fact, generous for a Jaguar, with ample room up front and acceptable space for the rear-seat passengers. There is also a substantial boot.
The engine at the heart of the XF diesel is not new. It has done service in the outmoded S-Type and XJ models outside Australia. That doesn't make it any less worthy. With 152kW and a thumping 435Nm, the diesel deserves to be the hero of the range.
It is no sprinter (an 8.2 seconds from standstill to 100km/h attests to that) yet is fuel efficient for a twin-turbo engine and offers a largely stress-free drive experience with most of its torque on tap from just over 1000rpm.
The real surprise is that this car is every bit as quiet and refined as its V6 petrol sibling _ all the good bits with none of the vices. Drive is through a ZF six-speed automatic, controlled either by the central shift knob or, if you really want, by wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The ride and suspension retain a nice balance between sporty and plush, probably tending towards plush but quite capable of punching along a twisting mountain road.
|2.7D Luxury||2.7L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$13,489 – 19,999||2008 Jaguar XF 2008 2.7D Luxury Pricing and Specs|
|3.0 V6 Luxury||3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$16,830 – 21,560||2008 Jaguar XF 2008 3.0 V6 Luxury Pricing and Specs|
|4.2 SV8 Supercharged||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$34,950 – 38,990||2008 Jaguar XF 2008 4.2 SV8 Supercharged Pricing and Specs|
|4.2 V8 Luxury||4.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$21,230 – 26,840||2008 Jaguar XF 2008 4.2 V8 Luxury Pricing and Specs|