Jaguar: The XF 2.5t Ticks Every Box, and Then Some

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We liked the diesel very much. Read about it here.

It’s a seductive mix of luxurious materials lavished with gay abandon. That partially explains the equally lavish price, but Jaguar isn’t just about price, it’s about heritage.

Think Jaguar, and many “wonderful things” are conjured. The lord of the manor wafting down a gravel drive to the dulcet tones of The Magic Flute. But, his lordship wasn’t the only Jaguar lover in the British countryside, oh no. The racetrack was home to more than one Jag, and the Cray brothers loved their MKII. In fact the MKII was the preferred getaway car for the quintessential 60’s British malefactor.

Jaguar built a reputation for quality, luxury and speed. There were a couple of so-so decades in there, but now the renaissance is complete. The XF signals the start of the second generation of an unrivaled time of success for the Indian-owned British car maker.

The XF 2.5t R-sport starts at $89,515, but ours has been lovingly endowed with a fairly staggering $29,080 worth of delicious goodies. That, ladies and germs, is a fairly decent family hatch. Our test car topped out at $118,595, plus on-road costs. That’s an awful lot of bikkies. For the substantial outlay, you get a significant car.

It still has the panache of the much-loved MKII, but we have moved on from the 60’s and that panache is now matched with cutting edge tech and 21st century safety. There is still that hint of gentlemen’s lounge, but now it is wrapped in a chic aluminium shell. Although the shell is still adorned with both the “leaper” and “growler” Jaguar symbols, the elegant bonnet “leaper” ornament has been banished. Funnily enough, the wowsers who dish out the safety stars weren’t that fussed on chromed animals skewering pedestrians.

The “black pack” looks great, but I’d rather have an extra week in Marbs than fork out for the 2 grand Rhodium paint job. Unusually, I liked the dark wood trim. If it wasn’t real, it certainly looked it.

If a turbo 4 with 177kw sounds insufficient, remember the XF weighs a shade under 1,600 kilos and will do 0-100 a mere 7.5seconds.

Before I move on to the drive, I want to make a few comments on the cabin. The Virtual Cockpit is a single LCD screen in front of the driver. It displays all of the driver information on an LCD screen instead of the usual speedo/tacho/fuel gagues. One day all instruments will be like this.

I’d like the display to be more user configurable. For example, you can show the map as a full screen but it requires going into the settings rather than a single toggle on the steering wheel. The test car had the laser-powered Heads Up display option. It too can be configured to show speed and directions when SatNav is active. It is a more than a useful gadget, and is one you soon can’t live without. It means in theory you could have music on the centre console LCD, the map on the Driver LCD and the speed on the HUD.

The newest of the Jaguar Land Rover infotainment systems features a nice big 8” screen with a pinch/swipe action like smart phones, and can be upgraded to a 10.2”LCD as part of an optional pack. 10.2” seems a bit mean considering less expensive opposition has a full 12.2”, and in my opinion 2 inches makes a world of difference.

One thing I found irritating was having the settings split between the centre LCD and the Driver’s LCD. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the layout. Why can’t the driver decide where he wants things displayed?

The Audio system software is a bit buggy. It was prone to freeze, or run slow, or require many swipes to respond. Every now and then I had to reset the system by restarting the car. The audio system was superb with concert hall-like reproduction that was so crystal clear you felt the instruments could be in the room with you.

I particularly love the subtle blue mood lighting. As you drive into you garage, the lights come on and the bright breezy cabin is transformed into a moody gent’s club.

The ride was smooth and luxurious, and for the most part, was extremely quiet. It was just as you’d expect a Jaguar to be. The large diameter wheels means the occasional bumping over particularly nasty roads allowed noise to penetrate the otherwise rarified atmosphere of the cockpit.

There are different modes that alter the throttle and steering, as well as a Sport setting for the 8 speed auto. If you’re so inclined, you have paddles on the steering wheel to change gears manually. In the sportier sections of the Royal National Park, a combination of manual shifts, and sports mode catapulted the big saloon out of corners. The torque vectoring brakes the outer wheels in extreme cornering. It is a strange feeling at first. You feel a slip and grip unlike normal stability control systems.

Unless you’re extremely careless, the computer nannies will sort your daily foibles without you knowing it. You might think turning off these systems makes you just like the chaps on TV, but it doesn’t. It’s just daft and invariably means you’ve overestimated your own talents and underestimated the road.

The Dynamic Drive mode coupled with the transmission’s Sport setting makes a huge difference. The engine sings and the auto quickly goes between gears in a way that a driver just can’t manage. The Jaguar is using sensors for pitch, yore and speed, as well as braking and acceleration information to learn what the driver is doing over time. When you then enter hills and twists, the transmission knows exactly how you’ll be performing and selects gears to match. It’s quite uncanny. It sounds complex but you’re not aware that all that alchemy is going on under the bonnet.

On the highway however, the XF was quick, quiet, and very economical. The boot isn’t huge, but there is still plenty of room for a couple of decent size bags and lot of bits and bobs. I liked the sunroof but at speed was a bit noisy. Personally, I’d leave it out.

The acceleration feels brisk yet controlled. The turbo delivers the power in a blast once it spools up. It feels slightly old-school in a good way as you “whoosh” forward. We spent a lot of time with the roof open and windows down when doing the National Park. With the music turned down, the whistle from under the bonnet was far more entertaining. Imagine soft Vivaldi as the dappled light flashes through the roof.

Conclusion:

The XF felt luxurious and sure-footed. The stunning exterior is complimented by an equally stylish interior. Everything feels as if it is made to last.

The woodgrain and metal trim is tasteful, and the leather is butter-soft. Although the price and number of options is vast, it allows a buyer to properly customise their new ride precisely to their needs and pocket. It is sad to think some might miss out on the joys of an HUD, but the automated parking comes as part of the standard package, so all is not lost.

I expected an elegant, leggy saloon that I could chuck into corners needing more effort than wafting along a highway, and that’s what I got. Sir Bill would have been proud.

Would I buy one? Yes and I’d throw in a few option packs for good measure.

The standard features are extensive:

17MY XF R-Sport 25t

1,999cc i4 Turbocharged Petrol

MAX POWER (kW) 177 @ 5500rpm

MAX TORQUE (NM) 340 @ 1750-4000rpm

MAX SPEED (KPH) 248

0-100KPH (SECS) 7.0

FUEL ECON (L/100KM) 7.5

WEIGHT (KGS) From 1,590

STANDARD FEAUTURES

8-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ Jaguar Sequential Shift

Cruise Control w/ Speed Limiter

Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB)

Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)

JaguarDrive Control w/ Eco, Dynamic, Normal & Winter Mode

Intelligent Stop/Start

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

Sport Suspension

R-Sport Body Kit incl. Sport Front Bumper, Side Sills & Boot Mounted Spoiler

Metal Treadplates w/ R-Sport Branding

Multi-Function Steering Wheel w/ R-Sport Branding

18” Space saver Spare Wheel

10 Way Electric Front Seats w/ 4 Way Electric Lumbar adjust

Dual Zone Climate Control

Front & Rear Parking Aid

Park Assist

Rear View Camera

Jet Headliner

Keyless Entry

Lane Departure Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking

COLOUR/TRIM Rhodium Silver/Jet/Light Oyster

RRP $89 515

Options fitted:

Active Safety Pack $4270 (Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist, Lane Keep Assist & Driver Condition Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor & Reverse Traffic Detection) –

Electric tilt/slide Sunroof – $3300

InControl Touch Pro SSD Nav Pack $2630 (InControl Touch Pro 10.2”, Touch-screen, 12.3” HD Virtual Instrument Display, SSD, Navigation Tuner & Meridian™ Digital Sound System (380W)) –

Head Up Display w/ Infrared Reflective Windscreen – $2580

Rhodium Silver Metallic Paint – $2060

20” Star 5 Twin Spoke Sparkle Silver Wheels – $2060

Power Convenience Pack (Powered Electrical Boot Lid & Two

Additional Power Sockets) – $1360

Black Pack $1350 (Gloss Black Radiator Grille & Surround, Side Power Vents, Bootlid Finisher, Side Window Surround & Body Kit Blades) –

360 Parking Aid – $1240

Sports Taurus Leather Seats – $1130

Gloss Figured Ebony Veneer – $1030

DAB+ Radio – $930

Privacy Glass – $930

14-Way Electric Front Sport Seats – $820

Cooled Glove Box – $820

Heated Front Seats – $820

Driver & Passenger Memory Seat – $640

InControl Apps – $590

Heated Steering Wheel – $520

PRICE AS TESTED $118 595 plus on-road costs

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

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