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Jaguar XF road test

by Mark Walker

10th May, 2012

Home > Road Tests > Jaguar

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Launched in Australia during 2008, the XF is Jaguar’s best selling model across the world. Jaguar have given the XF a facelift for model year 2012 with significant changes to the exterior and a new smaller diesel engine for the entry level specification.

The XF has always been a good looking car. The MY2012 updates make the XF look even better. The new bonnet and larger, lower grille combine well with the new headlight clusters and triangular vents at the front end. The new front lights are bi-xenon and include LED daytime running lights wrapping around the lower and outside edge.

The face-lifted Jaguar XF is improved at the rear, too, with a new more symmetrical tail light shape. The tail lights, including brake lights and indicators are now LED. MY2012 also introduces new choices in colour and alloy wheels.

The new four cylinder 2.2 litre turbo diesel is Jaguar’s most fuel efficient engine ever. The small diesel produces reasonable power of 140 kW @ 3,500 rpm and impressive torque of 450 Nm. The engine is paired with an eight speed automatic transmission.

Jaguar claim fuel consumption for the new car is an impressive 5.4 litres per 100 km on the combined cycle. Not bad for a car of its size weighing in at 1,745 kg.

In order to achieve frugal fuel consumption, the XF 2.2 is fitted standard with stop/start technology. Jaguar has claimed victory as the first manufacturer to implement this into a premium sedan. Next Car is a big fan of car maker’s initiatives to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. However, we are sceptical as to whether it’s an influential factor for buyers in this market segment. The Jaguar “Intelligent Stop/Start” system shuts down the engine automatically once the vehicle has come to rest. Jaguar claims this takes only 300 milliseconds. The engine starts again automatically thanks to a sensor connected to the brake pedal. We found this sensor was quite sensitive and often triggered the engine restart when there was no intention to move the vehicle. Presumably there was a slight change in pressure applied to the brake pedal. More of an issue for us is the actual take off immediately after the restart. When you release the brake in a vehicle with Stop/Start you’re generally straight on the accelerator and moving again. With this Stop/Start, there is a small hesitation whilst the engine starts again, which albeit momentary does delay the getaway. Jaguar understands this feature is not ideal for every driver and thankfully the system can be turned off.

Jaguar has built its brand over the years on luxury and power. This new XF has given up the power for an image of efficiency and luxury. Understandably, the performance from the small diesel is somewhat less exciting than the larger engines in the XF range. The 2.2 litre diesel accelerates from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 8.5 seconds. Around town the XF feels best when driven at a relaxed pace.

The 8-speed transmission seems to be always changing gears, however this generally very smooth. We experienced some hesitation in gear changes at very low speed and the diesel rattle is most obvious at start up and low speeds.

The automatic can be used in semi-automatic mode also, with clutchless changes from the buttons mounted on the steering wheel. It feels like there is a gear too many in this transmission too. Even on the freeway, eighth gear was rarely used and would seem better suited to the higher speeds of European motorways. That said, the small diesel performed well at highway speed and has plenty of torque for overtaking and hills.

Inside, the Jaguar XF has always set high standards. The quality has always been present but most of all, the XF interior is different to its competitors. Full of the latest kit, the Jaguar interior is finished with luxury and clean lines without clutter or buttons covering every surface.

The look and feeling of luxury is emphasised by the leather trimmed seats, dashboard and steering wheel.

The centre console features Jaguar’s funky ignition sequence that sees the gear selector rise from the console and the air vents rotate. Jaguar calls the rising gear selector the “JaguarDrive Selector” and is effectively a dial. The centre console also includes some concealed cup holders, the electric park brake selector button as well as some other controls like traction control.

The Jaguar XF Premium Luxury is fitted standard with the Jaguar Smart Key System which detects the key, allowing for keyless entry and keyless start. The start button is neatly placed in front of the gear selector.

Satellite navigation is standard in the XF Premium Luxury. The media system is controlled by a 7-inch touch screen as well as steering wheel mounted buttons. It includes a hard disc for storing music, a six-disc CD player and Bluetooth. You can also hook up your music via a USB connection. The screen is also used for the rear camera and parking aid function.

Overall, the interior trim and equipment gives the perception of quality. The attention to detail is clear.

Comfort is excellent in the XF. In the test car, the optional electric front seats are easy to adjust with memory settings to remember your ideal set-up. For the driver, this is an easy car to drive with the leather steering wheel and well weighted power steering. The dual climate control is simple to use and effectively cools the cabin in hot weather. Rear seat comfort is good for adults also.

Other small details also impress. For example, Jaguar has perfected the windscreen washer jets inside the actual wiper arm which is a neat feature that others have tried but not quite mastered.

Although equipped with a vast array of safety features, the XF only scores a four star rating from Euro NCAP.

Pricing* for the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel Luxury starts at $78,900*, making it the cheapest XF to date. The model tested is the XF 2.2 diesel Premium Luxury which is priced from $86,100*. Additionally, the test car was fitted with several optional extras: front park aid and rear camera $1,390*, split/fold rear seat $1,000*, carpet mats $350*, "Bondgrain" electrically operated front seats with lumbar support and memory setting for driver's seat $2,305* (known as 12x12 in Jaguar-speak) and 18” Lyra alloy wheels $2,490*. The $7,535 worth of options push the price of the very nicely appointed test car to $93,635* (adjustment for LCT may be required).

In summary, the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel is good news for those shopping for a luxury sedan, primarily thanks to it lowering the XF entry price. It still manages to balance comfort and luxury whilst improving fuel efficiency and improving emissions. If you can live without masses of power this new, frugal XF is a worthy consideration in the premium sedan market.

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications. Luxury Car Tax (LCT) is effected when options are added to the car.

More Jaguar News ..... here.

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