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Jaguar XF S 35t 2017 review

Jaguar has added supercharged firepower to its excellent XF sports sedan
EXPERT RATING
7.5
The Jaguar XF is the modern take on a classic four-door, five seat sports sedan, combining a beguiling touch of nostalgia with just the right amount of modern sophistication.

The Jaguar XF is the modern take on a classic four-door, five seat sports sedan, combining a beguiling touch of nostalgia with just the right amount of modern sophistication. 

The coupe-esque rear lines and the bulging bonnet hark back to a time when Jaguar was at the peak of its powers, while the restrained balance of the design points to a wider audience for a reborn brand.

The latest XF has finally been graced with one of the brand’s feistier engines; a 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 that also sees duty in the F-Type and F-Pace. Can it still compete against its rivals like the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series?

Jaguar XF 2017: 35t S
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$78,540

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The addition of the S on the badge means the XF scores a handsome body kit comprising lower front and rear aprons for the bumpers, rear skirts, and a small lip spoiler. The black grille and machined alloys finish off a subtle, smart, and arresting exterior.

  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.
  • 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson. 2017 Jaguar XF S 35t. Image credit: Tim Robson.

Inside, the XF is just as special. Jag says the prow-like line that extends around the top of the cabin is reminiscent of an old power boat, and it's certainly a unique piece of interior sculpture. 

The dash top follows suit, although some of the lines around the head-up display module are a bit clunky. The integration of the dash-top tweeters and speakers, though, is excellent.

Even the way the climate control panel gently curves around at the edges to enclose the digital temperature readouts is a thing of beauty and class.

Two-tone black and white leather extends up the door cards and through the front and rear seats while the black headlining adds a sporty look.

A three dial digital dash and Jaguar Land Rover's new touchscreen multimedia system complement a simplified dash and console arrangement with minimal buttons to spoil the lines. Many of those controls have moved to the steering wheel, as well.

Obviously, there are many ways to spec a particular XF to your liking, and perhaps the cream leather isn't particularly practical in this case. But the overall feel and look is unique to the Jaguar and the XF.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The XF S comes standard with auto lights and wipers, dual zone air conditioning, Jaguar’s 'InControl Touch Pro' multimedia system with Bluetooth streaming and digital radio, electric front seats with memory function, LED headlights, keyless entry, and leather trim. It retails for $129,065 before on-road costs.

Our test example was fitted with around $30,000 of extras, including an active safety pack which adds features including radar cruise, reverse traffic detection, and blind spot monitoring, plus our car scored a rear comfort pack that adds heated seats, four-zone climate control, and more.

We would like to see the active safety pack come standard on a car like the XF S. It seems stingy to keep it on the options list.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

There’s plenty of room up front, especially in the driver's position. The powered seat also features an extendable base, which is nice for taller drivers. 

The steering wheel has a thick rim and is reasonably sized, but one small let down is the plastic-y feeling shift paddles behind the spokes.

The array of digital screens through the car give the XF a modern look, but the left dial on the dash that controls the majority of the car's functions can be fiddly to use, thanks to the plethora of buttons and menus that need to be negotiated in order to make changes.

There are two cup holders line astern in the front of the car, while the rear seat passengers also get two in the centre armrest. The XF isn't really set up for bottles in the doors, although a small water bottle can be dropped in at a pinch.

There's a comprehensive climate control panel and vents for rear seaters, along with back of seat storage nets and sun visors for the side rear windows, as part of the optional rear comfort pack.

Three ISOFIX mounts are present and correct across the rear seats which themselves are comfortable, deeply bolstered, with plenty of knee and headroom for even the tallest of passengers.

A long, wide boot space can take even large suitcases with ease and there's a ski port and folding seats.

The new multimedia system is fantastic and easy to use. Phone connection is quick and easy, and the navigation system is comprehensive, too.

One issue, though, with the large selection of materials in the cabin, there is quite a lot of glare and reflection on sunny days, thanks to the silver highlights and the light coloured carbon panels. The optional sunroof that only has an opaque cover fitted to it that exacerbates the brightness.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

Jag’s excellent 3.0-litre six-cylinder supercharged engine may lack the aural theatrics that it enjoys in the F-Type, but the 280kW/450Nm engine still feels strong and flexible even in this bigger car.

Sending its power via a limited slip diff and an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to the rear wheels, the XF S also employs front-wheel brake-activated torque vectoring where needed.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Jaguar claims the XF S returns 8.3 litres per 100km on the combined fuel economy cycle. Over a shortened test distance of 280km, we saw a dash figure of 9.7L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

The XF S comes with a supercharged six cylinder engine which is ultra responsive under the right foot, and it sounds the part, to boot. It's not as wild and uncouth as it is in the F-Type, but it's still a little bit special.

It's backed by a traditional torque converter eight speed automatic which can be controlled via the paddles behind the wheel.

It's a classic big rear drive sedan with manners to suit, and a ride and handling compromise that straddles that line right between comfort and sportiness. While the steering is light and easy to use, there's still a lot of feel under your fingertips - although a little more weight in sport mode would give the car more credo.

The XF's ride over broken tarmac borders on exemplary. It refuses to send shocks back through the cabin, even on sharp edged bumps, and there's just a feeling of deep composure throughout the suspension movement. 

The brake feel is brilliant, too, with a high, well-modulated and confident feel underfoot. The ZF gearbox works beautifully with the torquey motor, too, reeling off shifts quickly and efficiently as needed.

The big XF corners like a much smaller car with excellent roll control and ride quality, and it's possible to feel the car all the way in and through the other side of the corner. 

It's obviously not meant to take on a track day, but in terms of a balance between a luxurious limo, a grand tourer, and a sporting four-door, the XF hits exactly the right note.

There are a couple of small negatives: the plastic paddles to shift gears behind the wheel are not in keeping with the rest of the car's quality and design, and the front collision warning system is far too sensitive, howling and flashing red lights at the slightest provocation. This leads to a tendency to turn the system off, which kind of defeats the purpose. 

The Bluetooth system on our tester, too, continually threw the connection out the window in the middle of calls, which was pretty irritating in a $130k car.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The Jaguar XF S has the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. It’s equipped with six airbags, though others in the category have up to nine. AEB and lane departure warning is standard across the XF line.

There are three ISOFIX mounts across the back row for child seats.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The XF S is covered by Jaguar’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended at 12-month or 16,000km intervals, and is capped at $1350 in total over five years.

Verdict

Stylish, quick and comfortable, the Jaguar XF S is a worthy addition to the XF line up. It's such a pity that it's destined to be overlooked...

Premium SUVs like Jaguar's F-Pace, and even sister brand Range Rover's Sport, have taken the shine off cars like the XF. No matter how good they are, sedans just are not in favour at the moment, which is a real shame. 

It's more comfortable, it handles a LOT better, and represents good value for money when compared to the SUVs, and a sporting sedan like the XF has to be driven to be appreciated. 

Don't fall for the luxury SUV trap if you don't have to. Make sure you sample the refined pleasures of something like Jaguar's XF S; you won't be disappointed.

Do you reckon sports sedans are a thing of the past? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$59,990
Based on 37 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$52,990
Highest Price
$75,995

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20d (132kW) PORTFOLIO 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $56,100 – 64,460 2017 JAGUAR XF 2017 20d (132kW) PORTFOLIO Pricing and Specs
20d (132kW) PRESTIGE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $40,590 – 47,740 2017 JAGUAR XF 2017 20d (132kW) PRESTIGE Pricing and Specs
20d (132kW) R-SPORT 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $51,150 – 58,850 2017 JAGUAR XF 2017 20d (132kW) R-SPORT Pricing and Specs
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $58,990 – 59,990 2017 JAGUAR XF 2017 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design8
Price and features7
Practicality8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety7
Ownership7
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$78,540

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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