The Jaguar brand has roared back in a big way in less than a decade. After taking on a fair bit of tarnish during the Ford years, it has clawed its way back into our hearts under Tata Motors, unleashing the instant classic F-TYPE as well as a limited selection of impressive luxury sedans. While Jaguar continues to add to its lineup with the entry-level sedan XE and their F-PACE SUV, it’s easy to forget that one of its mainstays, the midsize XF, kicked off its second generation only a year ago. How did Jaguar strive to refine this luxury machine for 2017?
What Is It?
The soul of the XF is athletic, playful, and exciting, especially for something that has four doors. The aluminum-wherever-possible approach means that it’s lightweight and nimble, and its suspension is stiffer than your typical luxury sedan, meaning that you’ll be getting a fun, inspiring ride. Beyond that, the proportions on this vehicle are simply breathtaking. A very handsome and aggressive front fascia, sleek progressive forms down the side and taillight features that are distinctively F-TYPE inspired – truly another piece of rolling art from Ian Callum and company, who kept the look of this new XF virtually identical to last year’s. If it ain’t broke…
Moving to the powertrain, the 20d version sports a 2.0L 180HP engine that gets you from 0-60 mph in 8.0 or 7.9 seconds depending on whether you opt for rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The gas-powered options are the same as what you can get in the non-R F-Types: a 340HP supercharged V6 for the 35t (0-60 mph times are 5.2 and 5.1 seconds for RWD and AWD) and you also can opt for the S, which hands you the keys to a 3.0L supercharged V6 that makes 380HP and does 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds with rear-wheel drive, or an even 5.0 seconds in all-wheel drive, which is the test model we drove. In all instances, the top speed of this car is 121 mph.
How Is It Different From Last Year?
In a word: interior. The previous year’s XF was by no means chintzy; it’s just that without a true entry-level sedan, the XF was pressured into being both a midsized and an entry-level car, and so its interior was a bit cramped and not quite as luxurious as what we would expect from its class. With the XE coming to North America, Jaguar is introducing a true entry-level sedan, and so the XF no longer has to do double duty. It can be what it truly is, and you can tell that Jaguar responded in kind by extending headroom and legroom – along with a 10.2-inch touchscreen that is intuitive, customizable, and programmable.
Another noteworthy quality of the new XF is its weight. Jaguar has managed to shave 132 pounds off the rear-wheel drive models and 265 pounds off the all-wheel drive models.
More room and yet still lighter? An excellent recipe for improvement with any vehicle.
How Does It Stack Up To The Competition?
In a segment dominated by German precision (Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Audi A6), the Jaguar XF’s personality stands out as something different. While the stat sheets all read similarly on paper, the XF offers some truly sleek and sexy styling, a sense of adventure, stiffer suspension, more steering feedback, and a lighter, more agile feel – not to mention a pretty beautiful sound when you really lay into the accelerator.
While all the aforementioned cars in this segment have a firm grasp on the science of how to make a great performance luxury sedan, the Jaguar XF is pushing the boundaries and is in many ways leading the pack. You really couldn’t go wrong with any of these cars, but if you’re looking for something a bit more playful and fun—and still great for picking the kids up from school—the XF deserves a look.