Jag’s XF is the New MKII

All-new Jaguar XF Prestige 20d - Rhodium Silver (2)

All-new Jaguar XF Prestige 20d - Rhodium Silver (1)All-new Jaguar XF Prestige 20d - Rhodium Silver (3)

New Jaguar XF 2016 R-Sport 25t - Italian Racing RedAll-new Jaguar XF Prestige 20d - Rhodium Silver (4)

New Jaguar XF 2016 R-Sport 25t - Italian Racing Red (2)

New Jaguar XF 2016 R-Sport 25t - Italian Racing Red (3)New Jaguar XF 2016 R-Sport 25t - Italian Racing Red (4)

New Jaguar XF 2016 R-Sport 25t - Italian Racing Red (5)

New Jaguar XF 2016 S - Polaris White (1)New Jaguar XF 2016 S - Polaris White (2)

Jaguar occupies a unique place in the British luxury brands story. Yes, it has had more owners than a banana republic, but it makes desperately beautiful motor cars with history oozing from every pore.

One of my favourites was the delicious MKII from the 60’s. It was powerful and fast, and was as preferred by posh polo-playing knobs as it was by gangsters as swift get-aways. Some might think my comparison as strange, but others will be holding their chin in their hands while nodding knowingly.

The first generation XF arguably saved the brand from extinction. The new model is an evolution of that first model and is a mid-sized luxury ride that wouldn’t be out of place in the same company as that old MKII.

The achingly pretty bodywork looks impressive with reworked LED front and rear lights and a smart new grille. In between, there is a long leggy saloon which defies the current obsession with SUV’s.

Our elegant Italian Racing Red saloon was set off with optional black accents ($1,310), and 19” Blade gloss black wheels ($1,300). Although the design follows closely that of the previous model, the addition of an opera window in the C pillar moves towards the current trend of “4 door coupes” favoured by Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

Once, a muscular but thirsty engine powered Jags, but now they sip daintily like grannies at the High Tea table. The supercharged petrol engines are a thing to behold but it is the diesel engines that are the most frugal, of course.

A fair amount of time was spent in rain fit for the end of days. We found the small divot used to smart-lock the doors from the outside very hard to find. You have to touch the inverted dot to lock the doors but with rain covering the handle it was impossible to see.

Inside, there is a departure from Jags of eras past. There is no MKII-style woodgrain, and a distinct lack of chrome. Instead there are highlights of machined aluminium and sumptuous leather. It has the ambience a posh club where no expense has been spared on fittings and finishes. Lots of different materials are used but there is a harmonious unison about the cockpit design. There are 3 distinct zones up front: driver, console, and passenger, each with an individual purpose.

The impeccable appointments continue to emerge as the “Start” button is pressed. As the beast comes life, the rotary gear selector rises from the console, and the side vents rotate to the open position. It’s a small touch, but one that adds a discrete wow-factor.

The console mounted infotainment system has a fast response time, but navigation input still requires suburb, then street. Many map apps have suburbs and streets which differ so you might not be able to find the street you want. It’s so annoying. Even map apps allow you to type the address as it is said in normal conversation.

Multi zone Air conditioning controls plus a few other stray functions sit just beneath the centre LCD touch screen and have a piano black bezel. There is a slide-proof pad for your phone tucked out of the way in a cubbyhole. The gear selector and driving mode buttons sit between the front seats. In typical Jaguar fashion, the centre console is very wide. For me, it makes doing up the seat belt a bit hit and miss. It doesn’t leave much room between the console and your bottom.

Surprisingly, with the rear seats down, you can fit a full sized bicycle in the boot. Take the front wheel off and it slips in with gentle persuasion.

While the Ingenium 2.0L turbo diesel puts out a modest 132kw, it is the impressive 430Nm of torque that gets you moving fast. Once the turbo spools up, the XF feels spritely and agile. The diesel can sound a bit rambunctious when cold or pushed hard as most diesels do. You forgive it the foibles at the bowser.

We tried the automated parking option which seemed a little more complex to operate than less expensive brands. I’d rather perform the parking myself thanks.

Jaguars are meant to be as comfortable crossing continents as they are parking at the Opera House. Shopping centres and street parking was extremely easy with excellent visibility and a rear camera.

Obviously we headed north on the M1 after spending most of the week in town.

The first leg of the trip took us through the leafy upper north shore where the clanging of money clips continues well into the night. Once though this insufferable blancmange, we turn onto the M1.

The 8 speed auto and the 2 litre diesel have no trouble keeping the 1,595kg saloon at cruising speed once on the open highway. We left the driving mode in “dynamic” and the auto in normal mode. It keeps the throttle sharp without holding the gears. A diesel engine never sounds good when it is screaming its tits off.

We turned off the highway onto Peats Ridge Road heading to Wiseman’s Ferry. There are not many vehicular ferries left, and this one has a particularly nice drive to get to. Allow a full day if you’re heading out of Sydney. If you ever want to find a really good drive, ask someone who has a motorcycle. While you’re at it, ask them where they stop to water and feed.

The weather was absolutely filthy. Once you get onto Wiseman’s Ferry Road the tarmac deteriorates to third-world standard. The road was dotted with puddles of different depths which disguised the damage that could be done to alloys. Several of the puddles were much deeper than was wise to negotiate at speed.

The deeply undulating surface tested the ride. Although there is no doubting the firm sportiness, the damping was excellent. The electric power steering was sharp, and through tight corners, had just the right amount of “feel”. I say “feel” because of course the feeling is simulated like it is with all electric steering. Jaguar has given the calibration particular attention so as not to make the driver feel too isolated from the road.

Conclusion:

Jaguar has successfully captured the luxury of by-gone motoring without being a twee pastiche. The red/black test car drew attention with some no doubt being 100% sure what they were looking at. The Jaguar grille should have given it away replete with its “growler” Jaguar emblem but if it didn’t, the “leaper” emblem on the back certainly did.

The Ingenium 2.0 diesel felt lively and works hard while being sensible on the wallet come filling time. As is common now, the XF in diesel would do the Sydney/Melbourne trip on a single tank. As gorgeous and practical as it is, all that is for naught if it is going to break down every five minutes. It’s a great shame that Jaguar still has a poor reputation because nothing could be further from the truth. While I’ve no doubt there are particular examples that may give buyers heartache, the same is true of every brand.

Jaguar is releasing the new Ingenium engines so we can look forward to seeing more diesel and petrol examples in XF’s of the future but for the time being, I was impressed by the willingness to please. It was smooth and frugal and never once did I think it lacked power. Of course it won’t rip your head off like the rampant V8, but this is the choice for the sensible buyer.

There is also an air of exclusivity with Jaguar. 5 Series and E Classes are a dime a dozen, and Audi’s A5 feels almost commonplace. They’re lovely to drive, of course they are but a jag says something about its owner. A jaguar feels like part of the family.

Would I buy one? Yes. I’d also have a look at the 3.0 supercharged petrol model.

VEHICLE

16MY ALL-NEW JAGUAR XF R-Sport 20d

REGISTRATION

DCC24B

VIN

Y03687

ENGINE

MAX POWER (kW)

MAX TORQUE (NM)

MAX SPEED (KPH)

0-100KPH (SECS)

FUEL ECON (L/100KM)

WEIGHT (KGS)

2.0L i4 Turbocharged Diesel

132 @ 4000rpm

430 @ 1750-2,500rpm

229

8.1

4.3

1,595

STANDARD FEAUTURES

8-speed electronic auto transmission w/- Sequential Shift, gearshift change paddles and All Surface Progress Control

Torque Vectoring

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) & Traction Control

R-Sport bodykit (Sports front bumper, side sills, boot mounted spoiler)

‘R-Sport’ branded Metal tread plates & multi-function steering wheel

Jaguar Smart Key System- Keyless Start

Intelligent Stop/Start

Hill Launch Assist

Park Assist

JaguarDrive Control w/- Eco, Dynamic, Normal and Winter modes

Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)

Electric Parking Brake w/- drive away release

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)

Driver and front passenger airbags w/- seat occupant detector for passenger, front side and full length side window curtain

COLOUR/TRIM

Italian Racing Red/ Jet-Jet-Light Oyster Stitch

RRP

$88, 800

OPTIONS

Sliding Panoramic Roof- $3200

Advanced Parking Assist Pack (360 Park Distance Control, Parallel & Perpendicular Parking System) – $1710

Reverse Traffic Detection & BSM & CVS- $1420

19” Blade (Gloss Black) Alloy Wheels (245/40/19)- $1300

Sports Taurus Leather faced seats – $1100

Lane Keeping Aid + Driver Drowsiness- $1060

Black Pack (Gloss Black Boot Plinth and Grille w/- Gloss Black surround)- $1310

PRICE AS TESTED

$99, 900 plus on-road costs

(Please note that ORC are dependent on which state is registered, driver history, age, etc.)

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