Jaguar XF | Part Four

Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF Areodynamics

As well as facilitating packaging excellence, the XF’s new design language has another significant functional advantage: for the first time on any Jaguar, the entire body was developed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) before the car ever saw a wind tunnel. Every area from the outer skin to the lightweight, composite undertray to the cooling airflow (even the shape of the exterior mirrors) was optimised using this process. The higher, squarer tail is more efficient aerodynamically than a lower, rounded one, and the XF’s coupe-like roofline and subtle, raised bootlid lip improve airflow over the rear of the car. As a result, the XF has the best aerodynamic performance, in terms of drag, of any production Jaguar ever and is better than the race-bred, limited edition XJ220 supercar.

The XF’s drag coefficient is just 0.29 and the front-to-rear lift balance is precisely zero. This aerodynamic performance contributes to impressively low wind noise, aids fuel consumption and strong high-speed stability and, of course, is vital in ensuring ideal handling balance through optimising drag and lift forces.

Jaguar XF Interior Design

Relax inside the XF and you are in a very special place indeed. There is space – more than many will imagine given the XF's sports saloon design – but also the sense of being in a perfectly proportioned, agile car. There is also comfort – of course – but it is the craftsmanship, materials and attention to detail that impress. Consider, too, the generous equipment specification – the features that empower rather than overpower the driver – and the strengths of the XF are readily apparent.

The interior design maximises the feeling of space, with driver and passenger seating positions, the relationship of seats to window areas, and the volume and versatility of stowage options all contributing. New thinking on seat design – the front seats are deliberately sculpted and reduced in size (but not comfort) – liberates space and makes access easier, too. The increased track and best-in-class rear seat width means tall adults can sit in complete comfort. And while the XF roofline might say ‘coupe’, the rear headroom says ‘saloon’ better than many rivals.

Just as the XF’s exterior defines a new design direction, its interior moves from traditional themes to contemporary, sporting luxury - emphasised by ‘surprise and delight’ features such as the JaguarDrive SelectorTM and the rotating vents; through the use of sophisticated new materials; and by all-new graphics and interior lighting systems.

Jaguar Cars interior designer Alister Whelan says the inspiration for the XF cabin was pure, modern luxury:

“We have found exciting new ways to say ‘luxury’. The lines are clean and pure, the materials are familiar, but with a very modern flavour - from soft-grained leathers to real wood veneers with a bold, contemporary spin. Even the phosphor blue interior lighting has its own mood.”

The line defined by the soft-trimmed dashboard top and aluminium finisher runs continuously through the front and rear doors, making the interior feel more spacious, and especially making it seem wider from the front seats.

Real wood – more than in any Jaguar since the iconic MkII saloon in the 1960s – underlines what is a luxurious interior, with veneers including Satin American Walnut, Burr Walnut and a very modern, straight-grained Rich Oak that works particularly well with textured aluminium highlights that are used in every XF to enhance the contemporary, technical feel. And true to Jaguar’s core values of authenticity of materials, what looks like wood really is wood.

Even the XF’s headlining material is a step on from conventional materials. Using a modern technical weave called Morzine, the entire cabin roof and A-pillars are trimmed in this eye-catching, contemporary finish.

In the XF, many features are ‘invisible until needed’ - a different approach from carmakers who push technology as a dominant interior theme. The rotating vents revolve out of sight when they are not in use; the Touch-screen controls many features, allowing mechanical buttons to be reduced to a discreet panel below the navigation screen. Jaguar design is about reducing clutter; the switches that are there primarily give quick and easy access to functions such as audio volume and climate control temperature.

As well as the centre cubby, which includes CD storage, an auxiliary power supply and a Portable Audio Interface for an iPod or other MP3 player (depending on market), the centre console has two compartments with veneered lids. It can take a 44-ounce ‘big-gulp’ cup and two more modestly sized cups plus other oddments. Without the cupholders in place there is generous oddment storage space for items such as sunglasses in their cases. There are large storage pockets in each door and on the backs of the front seats, while the rear centre armrest also incorporates two cupholders.

But it is not only in the storage of everyday items that the XF excels – the minimum capacity of the boot is more than 500 litres, with the possibility to add even more storage space depending on factors such as whether the space-saver spare wheel or Jaguar Tyre Repair System is fitted. At its maximum 540 litres, the XF’s boot is equal to the best in class – and there is still the option to liberate a further 420 litres of space by folding down the rear seat backs.

One feature that maximises space efficiency is the JaguarDrive SelectorTM, an unobtrusive yet completely practical solution to selecting an automatic gear mode. But the Selector does much more than this thanks to a start-up sequence that is a strong driver 'handshake' ­and a real statement of the XF’s individuality.

Get into an XF and the start button in front of the JaguarDrive SelectorTM pulses red, like a heartbeat. Press this button to start the engine and the cast alloy JaguarDrive SelectorTM rises into the palm of your hand. Simultaneously, the navigation system initialises to its home page and the rotating vents turn from their flush, 'parked' position to their functional open position. While the vents are open, they offer vertical and horizontal directional vane adjustment and full airflow adjustment down to zero.

With the JaguarDrive SelectorTM, automatic transmission functions are selected simply by turning the control with the fingertips. As an example, Drive to Drive Sport selection is accomplished with a simple push and turn action. Returning from S to D, the rotary control operates with spring-assistance, which eliminates the need to pull the Selector. It couldn’t be simpler.

Phosphor blue mood or ‘halo’ lighting echoes the ambience you might find in a favourite contemporary bar or restaurant. This same lighting technology is also used in MP3 players and mobile ’phone handsets to illuminate keypads and controls. On the XF, halo illumination around the switch panels and JaguarDrive SelectorTM console, the start-stop button and Electric Parking Brake gives a soft glow that indicates their positions without distracting the driver.

Mood lighting is also incorporated into the header console, bathing the centre console in a cool blue light, while lights under the front door releases softly illuminate the door-mounted switches.

Soft, phosphor blue illumination is also used on the instrument dials, highlighting the sporting feel of the aluminium-coloured dials. As well as being soothing, blue does not conflict with any of the green, yellow or red alert or warning signals on the car.

Following the luxury theme, there are chrome highlights on the column stalks and the moulded halo material around the JaguarDrive SelectorTM and audio/climate switch-pack appears as a soft, almost smoky, chrome until illuminated.

The main switches have been designed to give the feel of a high-quality audio system, incorporating short travel with positive feedback to the user. This design is then used in the minor switchpacks in the overhead console and the auxiliary pack outboard of the steering wheel.

Electric window switches are illuminated through a jewel-like design that diffuses a soft phosphor blue glow around the switch. All switches and buttons have the same Tungsten finish to emphasise harmony and sophistication in the interior.

To say that luxury comes as standard on the XF is an understatement. Front seats are electrically adjustable, with a minimum of eight-way seat adjustment for the driver and front passenger, while the SV8 offers 16-way driver’s seat and 12-way passenger’s seat adjustment with 4-way power lumbar and cushion length adjustment for the driver. The new XF also introduces the option of active heated and cooled ventilated front seats, with fan-assisted whole seat heating, whole seat cooling, or just squab heating or cooling. And because the XF cleverly separates seat and cabin temperature controls, it gives the option of a warm cabin with a cool seat, or vice versa. And all of this with a new climate control system that is also the most efficient Jaguar has ever offered.

Attention to detail was a mantra throughout the XF’s development. The three trim levels offer combinations of Bond Grain leather and Softgrain leather in a subtle colour palette. The Luxury trim level uses non-perforated Bond Grain leather for the seat facings with matching material for the twin needle stitched facia and door top rolls. Premium Luxury and SV8 have a sumptuous interior with Softgrain leather used throughout for seats, facia and door top rolls, while perforated Softgrain leather is used on the seat facings to facilitate the fan-assisted heating/cooling feature.

The XF is exceptionally well equipped. Bluetooth technology allows mobile handsets with Bluetooth capability to communicate with the car’s in-built telephone system and phone calls can be controlled either via the Touch-screen or hands-free, using the steering wheel controls or JaguarVoiceTM control.

The XF offers three levels of audio system, again all controlled through the Touch-screen. The eight-speaker Jaguar Sound System has a woofer and tweeter unit in each door – the woofer being mounted much higher than conventional systems to ensure good bass reproduction. The Jaguar 320W Premium Sound System has a DSP amplifier linked to nine speakers: eight premium door-mounted and (through clever packaging of the boot area) a 32-litre sub-woofer for enhanced bass. The Bowers & Wilkins 440W Surround Sound System has a remote amplifier with Dolby Pro-Logic II 7.1 Surround Sound and 14 speakers. Bowers & Wilkins technology, exclusively used in Jaguar cars, is acclaimed by audiophiles, artists and recording engineers alike. Kevlar cones in the larger speakers (the distinctive yellow appearance is discretely visible through the speaker grille) improve linearity of response and reduce distortion, while aluminium domes on the tweeters improve sound reproduction at high frequencies by reducing the weight of the moving part.

XF customers can import their own portable media player to interface with the car - including iPod and other portable audio players, or USB storage devices such as memory sticks. In a world first, full Touch-screen control of the iPod allows access to Playlists and Music search by Artist, Album or Genre. USB Mass Storage devices may also be accessed via the Touch-screen and other players can be connected to the car through the standard fit Auxiliary Input port.

The XF audio system also offers Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and in North America, Sirius Satellite Radio. Sirius is growing in popularity because of its commercial-free output and because the same network is available coast to coast, north to south. XF owners also have the option of analogue/digital TV reception, with up to nine analogue and nine digital channel pre-sets with full function control, including country or format selection and one-touch channel-search, all through the Touch-screen menus.

JaguarSenseTM - an electronic control system that gives touch or proximity operation to open the glovebox lid and to control the overhead console lights – is another XF (and industry) first and removes the need to locate a small switch, especially useful in the dark. JaguarVoiceTM, meanwhile, offers the driver the option of voice control for functions including audio, CD and TV, satellite navigation, telephone, climate control, and display and memory functions.

The XF also uses new technology to make driving safer and more relaxing, with the choice of traditional cruise control or Jaguar’s Adaptive Cruise Control. In tandem with normal cruise control, an Automatic Speed Limiter that allows the driver to select a maximum speed that should not be exceeded, makes life easier and safer. A new optional Blind Spot Monitor system remotely covers areas that still can’t be seen either directly or by mirror, with a radar (rather than camera-based) blind spot monitoring system. The XF has a Rear Parking Aid as standard and a Front Parking Aid as an option – and for the first time on any Jaguar, a Rear Camera Parking Aid offers a system that combines a rear-facing digital video camera with the Touch-screen information centre.

Published 28 August 2007 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Jaguar XF news article may have changed since publication on the 28 August 2007. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Jaguar dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. carpages.co.uk © 2017