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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The luxury marque struggled under Ford for years and hopes that now, with the help of the XF — and under the ownership of Indian car giant Tata Motors — it can turn itself around.
With the choice of four engines including one diesel, the XF range provides a good choice for all driving and lifestyles.
The 2.7 litre turbo-diesel produces 152kW at 4000 rpm and 435Nm of torque at 1900 rpm. It gets from 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 229km/h. The most frugal of all the variants, the diesel burns 10.4 litres/100kms.
With a top speed of 237kW, the 3.0litre V6 petrol generates 175kW at 6800 rpm and 293 Nm at 4100 revs. Its 0-100km dash is just a fraction quicker than the diesel and its top speed is only eight kilometres more at 237km/h. Fuel economy starts to creep up for the first of the petrol engines at 15.8litres per 100kms.
The first of the V8 units has a 219kW, 4.2 litre engine with 411Nm at 4100 rpm. It hurtles to a limited top speed of 250km/h after a 6.5-second 0-100 sprint.
The biggest engine is a turbo V8 that creates a substantial 306kW at 6250 rpm and an equally large 560Nm at 3500. It will read 100km/h in a rapid 5.4 seconds but can’t go any faster than 250km/h.
Both the V8s are quite thirsty with the smaller one using 17.3 litres per 100kms and the bigger of the two using a litre and a half more.
All variants transfer power to the wheels via a six speed automatic transmission.
Servotronic variable ratio power-assisted steering is standard on every version of XF and together with its light and rigid structure and wide track, ride and handling is well-balanced and responsive. For the SV8, that includes the adaptive damping strategy of Jaguar´s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) which uses a network of sensors to monitor your driving style and road conditions and a high-speed processor that uses the data to constantly fine-tune the adaptive shock absorbers.
Jaguar have taken a big design step with the XF, making it look more modern and sleeker than the stately, traditional style of previous models.
The low nose, strong woven mesh grille and rising waist give this coupe-like four door an athletic appearance and an assertive presence.
A very Aston Martin DB9-looking chunky rear with lipped boot lid and – like the front - wraparound lights, accentuates the cars sportiness and conjures a sex appeal that hasn’t been associated with Jags for some time.
Three trim levels are available in the interior that Jaguar describes as ‘sporting luxury’. There’s not much clutter at all thanks to ‘invisible until needed’ features like the revolving air vents, the touch screen controls and the pop-up JaguarDrive Selector™.
But it’s the use of real wood – more than any other Jag since the Mk II saloon in the 1960s – that shoots this interior into the luxury category at first glimpse. Satin American Walnut, Burr Walnut and straight-grained Rich Oak adorn the cabin and highlight the aluminium finishers.
For it’s coupe like exterior there is lot of room inside the XF – enough for five large adults to sit comfortably. There is plenty of storage too, including three cup holders, storage pockets in each door and two lidded compartments in the centre console. Not to mention the boot which holds over 500 litres.
There are several other features to make driving simpler and more enjoyable like satnav, TV, a camera for rear park assist, a premium sound system, Bluetooth and iPod capabilities, soft blue illumination for the instrument cluster, cruise control and voice recognition.
A comprehensive airbag package heads a long list of safety features for the Jaguar XF, including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, ABS, Dynamic Stability Control, Electronic Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control, Understeer Control Logic and Engine Drag Control.
The XF is a beautiful car, to view and to drive. It is everything a Jag should be; original in design, instantly recognisable to the cognoscenti as a Jag, feline in stature and demeanour, masculine in nature while maintaining feminine appeal. My wife loved it and her taste is showing a shift away from 4wds and small to medium sedans to larger family coupes and stylish performance four-doors. Thank god.
Ford did a great job of getting a product line together it could sell. Wehope Tata does a good job of custodianship of the marque. Personally we would have liked to have seen Ford keep Jag and cut some of the other crap from their own product line. Selling Aston was a good decision and it is in good hands, especially if the partnership with Mercedes proceeds. We worry for Jag though.
The only negative comment on the interior came from a rear row passenger who pointed out the back of the front seats is just an ugly plastic. He was right but we hadn't looked as it is hard to take your eyes away from the dash, which is simply the best designed dash - period. The use of timber is superb, with a pale ash that looks modern and a great breakaway from the traditional burled walnut that the try-hard Japanese "prestige" models use to try to imbue some sense of style.
The V6 in the test car gives ample power for most, but Jag is a performance marque so we would opt for the V8. The extra 10-20 bucks (driving style dependent) a week in fuel is a small trade-off on the enjoyment stakes. The handling is dynamic and we couldn't find any vices.
Driving this is a joy, an event, something that anyone who is contemplating buying a car that is more than transport is really after. Its competition is Audi, Mercedes, BMW and to a certain extent Citroen, Jag with the XF can now hold its head very high in this company.
Now let’s hope Tata does take Jag back to Le Mans and commissions one of the great design houses to build a true descendant of the E-type. We would go with the newly re-established Touring… bring it on.
For - Style, driving dynamics, design
Against - the back of the front seats should be leather and not plastic
Not only is this the make or break car for the prestige Pommy – scratch that – Indian marquee, but it is a new modern direction in styling for Jag. And that has been lacking for quite some time in the brand.
It’s a standout from its very DB9 rear, along its high waistline crease and down to the low slung nose. It’s already clear that Jaguar have bitten the bullet and started from scratch with this big, impressive car. It’s sleek and sporty but in a firm handshake, dinner suit kind of way. Very modern, but still retains the look you associate with the brand’s history.
The XF has one of the best interiors we have ever seen, touched and heard. They have combined Jaguar tradition with the necessary mod cons and plush new surfaces beautifully.
It’s roomy without losing intimacy, and the designers have kept the long, wide sweeping centre console that have featured in Jags for decades. A large brushed-metal dial, together with a multi-function display, controls nearly everything in the car. So there is no clutter except for stereo and air-con buttons. Even the air vents are hidden until they revolve into life when the engine is turned on.
Another eye-catching feature was the woodgrain panelling. The over-varnished cherry coloured monstrosity, that we see far too much of, is nowhere to be seen in the XF. Instead it’s replaced by real wood that actually looks like something you’d choose to make your dining table with.
The seats are comfortable and supportive and there is very little wind or tyre noise.
On the road at slow speeds, the Computer Active Technology Suspension eats up ruts and blemishes. Acceleration and gear changes in the V6 were timely and smooth. We never longed for extra power but still want to give the V8 a go just hear what sort of noise it makes.
The XF performs like many cars half its size when its legs are stretched on winding, hilly roads. Cornering is fun and the car is agile thanks to the suspension firming up and sticking the tyres hard to the tar.
We just hope under new ownership, this brave new attitude is nurtured.
|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|