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Jaguar XF sedan 2008 review

The cat is out of the bag and ready to claw its way to the young market.

Now threatened as Jaguar prepared to launch a new cat this week in Victoria's chilly high country.

But it held off long enough for us to put the new Jaguar XF through its paces, amid jibes about Jaguar's impending sale to the Indian Tata conglomerate.

Interestingly, Tata already owns another English icon Tetley Tea.

Looking more like a coupe than a sedan, the big four-door, five-seat saloon hits all the right notes and is sure to “curry” favour with its new masters.

The mid-sized and mid-priced XF is a replacement for the aging and somewhat ungainly S Type sedan, but visually at least it appears to have more in common with the sleek XK two-seat sportier.

It's the dawn of a new era for Jaguar, trumpet the execs, at the same time talking up the company's sale by Ford, which is due to be finalised next month.

They say Jaguar is making money but its main problem lies in its loyal but shrinking customer base - the average age of which is 57.

Ironically, instead of the younger group the entry level X Type is targeted at, its buyers are mainly cashed up retirees.

It is probably a good thing then that current S Type owners apparently aren't too fond of the new XF's styling.

Jaguar revealed that 77 per cent of the 200 or so orders it is holding for the car are from people who don't own a Jag.

XF is the work of Jaguar design guru Ian Callum who also penned the XK.

At 4961mm in length the car weighs between 1679 and 1842kg, depending on the model.

It sits on a heavily modified S-Type platform, but employs the same engines, transmission and suspension components of the XK.

High-strength Boron steel is used to reinforce the cabin.

Prices for the XF start from $105,500 with a range of engines including a 3.0-litre V6, 4.2-litre V8 and Supercharged 4.2 litre V8, as well as a twin turbo 2.7-litre diesel.

The entry level V6 and diesel are priced the same, but you would have to be crazy to go past the diesel with 152kW of power and 435Nm of torque.

Like the others it's hooked up to a ZF six-speed sequential auto with wheel mounted shift paddles.

The dash from 0-100km/h takes 8.2 seconds (a 10th faster than the V6) and it consumes just 7.5 litres/100km against the V6's 10.5litres/100km.

The XF lines up against the likes of the Benz, BMW and Audi as well as Lexus's GS range.

Gone are the twin lights that were a hallmark of the S Type. Yet the front grille is distinctive and readily identifiable. There's no Leaper atop the bonnet, but a big cat can be found emblazoned across the boot.

The modern themes extend to the interior where's there still plenty of wood and leather, but mixed in with more contemporary, and more importantly, sportier finishes.

We got to sample the V6, turbo diesel and 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 (a supercharged version is still to come).

It's a classy car and is finished to a high standard and one that manages to avoid the sombre tone that distinguishes German interiors, with a good mix of colours and finishes.

It doesn't quite reach Lexus standard of interior quiet, but it's nothing to complain about.

The stop/start button pulses red to draw attention while blue halo instrument lighting takes its cue from Motorola's RAZR mobile phone, of all places.

Perhaps the biggest talking point is the large iDrive-style gear selector that replaces the normal shifter.

It takes some getting used to but works fine and occupies significantly less space in the cabin.

Rear head and leg room is good but the back seat could be a squeeze with three passengers.

The V8 scores a 440 watt 7.1 Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system, with full iPod compatibility

Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

2.7D Luxury 2.7L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $14,700 – 20,680 2008 Jaguar XF 2008 2.7D Luxury Pricing and Specs
3.0 V6 Luxury 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,700 – 20,680 2008 Jaguar XF 2008 3.0 V6 Luxury Pricing and Specs
4.2 SV8 Supercharged 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $24,900 – 33,000 2008 Jaguar XF 2008 4.2 SV8 Supercharged Pricing and Specs
4.2 V8 Luxury 4.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $18,500 – 25,740 2008 Jaguar XF 2008 4.2 V8 Luxury Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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