Jaguar XF Purrs Back Into Executive Class

First drive of the new Jaguar XF

jaguar xf
I loved driving the new Jaguar XF at the launch!

Jaguar Ireland launched the new XF to the Irish media last Thursday at Carton House, Co. Kildare. The XF is the brand’s executive saloon and a rival to the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and comes hot on the wheels of the new XE compact executive saloon launched earlier this year.

When the first generation of the XF was launched back in 2007, it was a radical step forward for Jaguar, the most obvious deviation from Jaguars of old being the bold design that finally threw off any remnants of a fusty old image and a certain 1980’s TV detective.

The new Jaguar XF builds on that and it might be a predictable thing to say, but the new XF is indeed even better-looking than before.  Muscular, elegant, sporty – it’s a car you can’t wait to drive.

Jaguar XF
Jaguar XF: A luxury interior with lots of toys and driving aids

Slip in behind the wheel and it’s a blend of old and new. The cream leather seats and interior finish in the Prestige trim car I drove at the launch give the old school luxury feel, but decorative metal dash inserts scream modernity. There are loads of nice design touches on board like the rotary gear selector that rises up from the centre console on start up, and an 8” touchscreen in the centre of the dash that controls infotainment and navigation.

A quick look around the XF before setting off reveals a large, spacious car. The wheelbase is 51mm longer than before, but the XF is actually marginally shorter and lower than the car it replaces. The boot is 540 litres and rear passengers get 15mm more legroom, 24mm more kneeroom and up to 27mm more headroom compared to the outgoing model.

Jaguar XF
Jaguar XF: Adding some drama, the rotary gear selector rises up from the centre console on start-up

The construction of the old XF was steel-based, but the new XF is now 75% aluminium, which makes the body stiffer and lighter. Jaguar engineers say that they have saved 190kg in weight, the knock-on effect being improved driving dynamics and efficiency.

Jaguar Land Rover’s new 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel has also been added to the range in two different power outputs, 163PS or 180PS, available with a manual or automatic transmission.

The 2.0-litre petrol (240PS) automatic, 3.0-litre V6 diesel (300PS) automatic, and a 3.0-litre V6 petrol (340PS and 380PS) automatic complete the XF range. The 2.0-litre diesel has attractive low emissions and running costs – in its lowest power output and with a manual gearbox, it will return up to 70mpg, and has emissions of just 104g CO2/km.

I took the 2.0-litre 180PS automatic for a drive at the launch and from the get-go it’s an exciting car to drive. The XF has a rear wheel drive layout so there is near 50:50 weight distribution over the front and rear axles. It grips the road well and initial impressions are that it’s very agile and very powerful, with accurate steering that’s noticeably weighty.

For the Irish market, there are four trim levels – XF Business Edition, XF Prestige, XF R-Sport and XF Portfolio – with the entry level 2.0-litre (163PS) diesel manual priced from €43,205. Prestige models start at €45,995, R-Sport start at €47,240 and Portfolio start at €49,280. The XF ‘S’ sits at the very top of the range with the 3.0-litre V6 380 PS petrol engine borrowed from the F-Type and a list price of €92,350. Only for purists!

Standard equipment includes cruise control and speed limiter, rear parking aid, electric windows and mirrors, 8” touchscreen infotainment and navigation, dual zone climate control, tyre pressure monitor, 17” alloys and lane departure warning system. New XFs come with ‘Jaguar Care’ – a three-year warranty, unlimited mileage servicing and roadside assistance package.

Jaguar XF
Jaguar steps things up a notch again with an all-new XF

Lighter, more efficient, more space, exciting to drive, better-looking and all without a whiff of ‘old money’ – if you are in the market for a mid-size executive car, the new Jaguar XF might surprise you!

Caroline Kidd

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