Search

Jaguar XF Review: Classy, Exciting, and Flawed

Updated: Aug 25, 2020


Jaguar XF 25t AWD Prestige (R-Sport) in Santorini Black

Vehicles: 2019 Jaguar XF 25t AWD Prestige (R-Sport) + 2020 Jaguar XF S AWD

MSRP as tested: $69,050 + $81,780

XF 25t AWD Specs: 2.0L Turbocharged 4-Cylinder (247 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. torque)

XF S AWD Specs: 3.0L Supercharged V6 (380 horsepower, 339 lb.-ft. torque)

0-100kmh as tested: 6.6 seconds + 5.3 seconds


In the German dominated mid-size luxury sedan segment, the Jaguar XF remains a less popular choice for those who crave a dash of British flair and want something more unique. On one hand its lighter on its feet than most sedans in its class, and its elegant design stands out from the crowd. On the other hand it's not quite as modern, refined on the inside, or tech-crazy as its competitors. It's safe that the Germans offer a more refined and modern package while the Koreans/Japanese offer far better value, but if you prefer an old school interior and are willing to live with clunky infotainment system, the Jaguar offers a sharp handling and stylish luxury sedan that stands out from the sea of 5-Series, A6, and E-Classes.




Driving Impressions:

The Jaguar brand is synonymous with a sporty drive, so its no surprise that the XF doesn't disappoint when it comes to spirited driving. With lively well-weighted steering and a playful chassis, the XF is quite easily one of the best handling contenders within the midsize luxury sedan class, second only the BMW 5 Series.


In its base XF 25t trim however, it's let down by an unresponsive 247 hp turbo-4 that takes nearly 7 seconds to propel it to 100km/h. You'll find yourself pushing this little engine quite hard if you want to get anywhere remotely quickly. Luckily this can be solved with the XF 30t tune, which increase power from the same engine to an adequate 296 hp, cutting the 0-100 time to around 6 seconds. It feels pretty peppy for a 4-cylinder engine, but for some real fun consider going for the XF S model's 380hp supercharged V6, which feels (and sounds) far more substantial and managed a 0-100 run in 5 seconds flat during our testing. Even though fuel economy suffers a bit, we think it's honestly quite a bargain for the vastly improved power and feeling it delivers for $10K over the base model (or just $5K over the 30t), especially considering it comes bundled with driving assistance features and a few other goodies. Unfortunately there is no hardcore performance version to compete with the E63s AMG, BMW M5, or Audi RS7, which is a shame considering how capable the chassis is.

Behind the wheel of the Jaguar XF

Ride quality is on par with the rest of the class, which is to say it's quite smooth. The XF does high speed cruising particularly well with its comfy ride and quiet cabin, and even though it feels a tad less refined at lower speeds (especially when optioned with larger wheels), things never really get too bumpy.



Interior:

This is where the XF starts to show its age. Having been last overhauled in 2016, the interior lacks the modern feel, tech, and flair that many competitors possess, and simply can't compare to the opulent interiors found in the Germans. Materials also feel a little underwhelming for the class, with the use of dull plastics and piano black trim a little too commonplace. Despite being visually underwhelming though, Jaguar hasn't shied away from theatrics; when you turn on the car the hidden air vents rotate open, and the 'peak-a-boo' gear selector rises out of the centre console to greet you.

The XF's interior feels a little out of date, especially compared to its A6 and E-Class rivals
The gear selector rises out of the centre console when powered on; a JLR trademark

With a small touchscreen and a slow outdated UI, the infotainment system won't be winning awards either, though to be fair its far easier to use than some modern systems (albeit laggy and slow, making it equally frustrating to use). In fact, "easy to use" seems to be the theme here; with the lack of fancy touchscreens and complicated tech, the XF's interior will no doubt appeal to those prefer a simple old-school interior.


We can't fault the space and practicality though. Up front the cabin may feel appropriately sporty and cozy, but the XF provides ample space for rear occupants (a far cry from its predecessor's cramped rear), as well as an excellent 19.1 cubic feet of trunk space.



Exterior

The inside might not be so pretty, but the outside sure is. In a crowd of conservative corporate-looking sedan designs, the XF's unique and handsome exterior big part of its appeal. With a long low-slung roofline, smooth body curves, and distinctive sharp LED lights, the XF looks appropriately sporty while still maintaining a feel of classiness and luxury. And given how well the first generation 2007 XF has aged as well as how remarkably similar they still look despite the 13 year gap, we suspect the XF's timeless design will age better than many of its rivals too.



Ownership Experience:

Jaguar doesn't exactly have a stellar reliability record, and speaking with owners verifies as much. The good news is that the XF is that it has been out for quite a few years now, and most kinks should be relatively worked out by now. The bad news; Jaguar still uses many electronic components on the inside (the fancy rotating air vents and rising shifter knob included), all of which have a reputation of breaking and being costly to repair.


Fuel economy on our XF 25t tester was excellent; we achieved 8.6L/100km which beats out many of its 4-cylinder competitors, as well as EPA estimates of 8.8 combined. The XF S on the other hand achieved an unremarkable 12L/100km, though to be fair we drove it a bit harder than your average XF buyer would probably do so.

Fuel economy in the XF 25t was quite decent at 8.6L/100km


Recommended Build: Jaguar XF S AWD ($75,900)

Our XF 25t tester came with the 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder producing 247 horsepower and frankly, it felt quite underpowered, especially in such a dynamic sports sedan. The 30t felt a little better and would be the lowest trim level we'd recommend, but having driven the S model's 380 horsepower 3.0L supercharged V6 in the S model, we can wholeheartedly endorse it. For about 10 grand more, you'll be knocking down the 0-100km/h time from 6.6 seconds to barely 5 seconds, get a far more satisfying power and sound (especially at highway speeds), a more aggressive exterior, and a handful of useful features including lane keep assist, driver condition monitor, adaptive signature LED lights, blind spot monitoring, and more.


To build your own Jaguar XF, visit: https://www.jaguar.ca/en/build-yours/

















©2020 by SimplyAuto