To be honest, until recently, I hadn’t really taken much notice of the new Jaguar XF, thinking that it was just another variation on a theme. The photographs offer an impression but nothing prepares you for the ‘Wow’ factor, and it is not very often that I’m prompted to say it out loud.
Clearly, I’m not the only one as the XF was not only voted the ‘Most exciting car of 2007’, at the What Car?, awards and took the top title, ‘Car of the Year’, at this year’s ceremony.
The order book is bulging with over 3,000 customers eagerly awaiting delivery of their cars in time for the March 1st registration.
The XF replaces the somewhat staid S-Type in revolutionary fashion, but remains accessible to the Company Executives of this world, with prices starting at a very business like, £33,000 for the 2.7 V6, diesel engined car.
I was lucky enough to test the top-of-the-range, 4.2-litre V8, which bears a price tag of £54,900 and is worth every penny. The SV8 is a standalone vehicle and trim level, the others being the Luxury and Premium Luxury but, and here’s that word again, it is businesslike luxury. To my mind, the XF is not a car, in which you would expect to find children.
Although the XF is a four-door saloon, it has more in common with a coupe. Forget the traditional layout of bonnet, cabin, and boot; the XF is sleek and slippery. Focus on the angled, almost chamfered shape of the front end, which has a hint of Aston Martin. The sporty, chromed, mesh grille dominates over the lower air intake, which also has its share of chrome in the form of propeller-like blades. The bonnet contours are pure Jaguar and will make the traditionalists feel at home.
The side view is where the coupe effect is most visible. The shallow windows are surrounded by aluminium brightwork and taper to form small, rounded quarter-lights at the rear. In case there is any doubt, the Jaguar name is embossed on a bar across the side ‘power vents’, situated behind the front wheels, and a on a ‘signature blade’ at the back, as well as the badge on the front.
The rear end of the XF has more than a hint of ‘Euro’ styling. It looks wide with muscular haunches and a Venturi style diffuser showing off the twin, chrome tailpipes to perfection.
As for the interior, despite the coupe styling, there is plenty of headroom in the rear of the cabin, which easily seats three adults in comfort. The seats are leather-clad: non-perforated Bond Grain for the Luxury trim and Soft Grain for the Premium Luxury and SV8. The leather also covers the fascia and door-top rolls and, where the XF is fitted with the heated/cooling facility, the seats covers are perforated.
The driver of the SV8 has the benefit of 16-way, electronic seat adjustment and their front passenger has 12 ways to find a comfortable seating position; the other models in the range have a minimum of 8-way adjustment. This is just one example of Jaguar’s love of electronic gadgetry, which declares itself fully in the XF, although it isn’t always evident.
This is where the so-called ‘surprise and delight’ experience comes in. First of all, there’s the smart entry and start key, the variety that stays in your pocket where its mere presence opens doors. On entry to the Jaguar, there is not much to see. The leather fascia top is of a simple design with a pronounced but concise instrument nacelle housing white-faced dials, separated by a small information screen.
This is a 13-year+ news article, from our Jaguar archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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