Just over one year on, I still look back every time I get out of the car. It’s that kind of car. From a choice of BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Mercedes E class and a smattering of other 4-door vehicles in the $90,000+ range, the Jaguar XF is a stand out for a few reasons. It’s good looking inside and out, it is more exclusive than the others, it has understated elegance, and it doesn’t try to impress with a dashboard lifted from a jumbo jet (so it passes the ‘can my wife drive it without concern’ test).
Having extensively tested a number of engine options, the 3.0 litre diesel offered the best mix of power, performance and economy, and in a package which was better balanced for the car. Although the smaller engines are noticeably lighter and allow for nimble handling, the larger twin-sequential turbo diesel offers endless torque (600Nm) and plenty of power (202kW), and is very quiet even at low speeds. The 8-speed ZF transmission is smooth in changes, and although it’s an auto, the flappy paddles make it much more exciting and responsive to drive on twisty coastal roads.
The economy of the vehicle is astounding: the best I’ve achieved is 4.7 litres per 100km, and it’s never been higher than 7.9 litres per 100km, in spite of some spirited driving at times. The range is in the order of 900-1100km per tank, depending on how and where you drive.
Handling is exceptionally good, though the ride is more firm than passengers generally expect in a luxury car. However, the steering is responsive with a reasonable amount of feel (slightly lighter than it should be, but fine in most circumstances). Passengers are generally very impressed with how the car is put together, and only very tall passengers would complain of lack of head or leg room. The front seats in particular (different seats are fitted to the Premium Luxury) are very supportive and extremely comfortable on long drives.
Whilst the technology isn’t on par with the offerings from its competitors, and the touchscreen can be slow until you get accustomed to it, the overall equipment levels and functions are as expected. The upgraded stereo (with subwoofer in the boot) produces crisp and clear sound, and is a joy to listen to, and handles a multitude of sources (it even plays DVDs). All of the other features and switchgear are understated and yet functional – so much is handled automatically that the driver can be more involved in driving rather than piloting a computer interface.
Servicing the vehicles is a rare event: once every 26,000km or once a year. The last service was minimal, and costs were no different to any other large car in Australia. Reliability has been exceptional: Jaguar has improved markedly (the latest JD Powers survey has ranked Jaguar equal first with Lexus) and the car itself has experienced no rattles, niggles or faults, apart from a replacement fuel filler cap solenoid which began sticking.
In all, the car still puts a big grin on my face, and the ownership experience has been exceptional. I’d buy another one in a heartbeat, although the F-Type coupe is just around the corner!