Some brands tend to tug at the emotional strings more than others when it comes to the ‘one day’ dream of ownership. The desire to tell the time from a Rolex is right up there with the ambition to make the morning commute in a Jaguar.
It’s the discerning gentleman’s choice, a proper statement that you've chosen a marque born out of Second World War-era Britain, famous for producing sporting cars with stunning, timeless looks. As Don Draper said of 1960s era Jags, they are “at last, something beautiful you can truly own”.
And with the 2015 Jaguar XF range currently in runout, there has never been a better time to aspire to a big cat. The all-new XF model is on track for arrival in Australia in early 2016.
The last of the 2015 XF stocks are being offered with zero per cent finance packages, bundled on-road costs and negotiable pricing that tips the value equation solidly in the Jag’s favour.
The XF was launched in 2008 and given a facelift in 2011 that still looks sharp today. Our test car was also fitted with the optional ($7100) Style-Edition pack which further improves the look of the car.
The package includes the Aerodynamic bodykit, 20-inch black ‘Kalimnos’ design wheels as well as the sunroof and Meridian stereo system upgrade. To help make your statement, Jaguar offer 12 colour options, which of course includes British Racing Green, with our car looking particularly stunning in Italian Racing Red paint.
If you want to further Jag up your Jag, you can even go to the length of equipping Union Jack motif valve caps for the wheels. Rule Britannia!
Inside, the lovely features that made the XF stand out at launch are still present. The motorised vents that hide when the car is switched off and the rotary gear selector that rises from the console are as impressive as ever, as are the piano-black and chrome treated trim elements.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, as well as being electrically adjustable as part of the Style-Edition option. It’s a very pleasant cabin, but not a hugely modern one.
The recessed seven-inch touch screen looks and feels particularly dated, as does the very basic instrument cluster. More disappointing is the tactility of the plastic paddle shifters on the steering column. You can feel the seam from the plastic weld, and they feel light and cheap – not what you would really expect in a car like this.
There are none of the new safety technology and driver assistance systems working for you either. Something that key category competitors, particularly the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, have made such a focus in the past few years.
The back seats feel both comfortable and sporty – you sit very low in the bench – and while there is enough room for adults, it's not the best in the class. Plus, the 60/40 folding seats are bizarrely an option (part of the Style-Edition pack) that normally costs $1000.
To the boot, which at a reasonable 500 litres (with a space saver tyre under the floor) is enough room for a couple of big cases, or more key for the Jag driver… ample space for a couple of golf bags.
On the road, the cabin is impressively quiet (just 62dB at 100km/h) and the ride is compliant and pleasant both around town and on the highway.
Tony recently looked at the somewhat disappointing 147kW XF 2.2 Diesel, but this is the 202kW/600Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6. It is a smooth and pleasantly punchy powerplant that offers response throughout the rev range.
Jaguar claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of just 6.4 seconds, and while we didn’t feel the need to put this to the test, there is more than enough oomph to keep you smiling, wherever you are headed.
Mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the Jag is an enjoyable thing to punt around, and feels like what its sporting heritage might suggest. You can even pop it into Dynamic Mode via the chequered flag button on the console for more aggressive shift calculations and a sharper throttle response – but to be honest, the car was still solidly enjoyable in its standard mode.
What is more impressive though is the fuel economy. We regularly saw the car sit at or below Jaguar’s claimed combined cycle consumption of just 6.0L/100km. At 100km/h on the highway, the engine sits lazily around 1200rpm and consumption drops closer to the 5.0L/100km mark.
All of this is well and good, but the best part of having a Jaguar is exactly that, having a Jaguar.
My uncle has a British Racing Green Jag X-Type – not the most famous or brilliant model in the marque’s history, and a product of a brand that lost its way for a while. It may have more in common with an old Ford Mondeo than a Mk-II or XK120, but there’s still a leaper on the bonnet and a key that says Jaguar – and for my uncle, that is what is important.
On paper too, the 2015 Jaguar XF might not be the ‘best’ car in the segment, but it too has the one thing that other brands simply will never have – the Jaguar name.
While list prices of the XF range start at just under $75,000 for the 2.0-litre petrol, and considering our car as tested should cost $103,000 before on-road charges, some impressive deals can be had.
To put the V6 Jag’s bang-for-buck into perspective, to get similar power and torque from a BMW 535d M-Sport (230kW/630Nm) would see your shopping start at $127,000 before options and on-road costs.
Jaguar is officially bundling drive-away pricing at the moment and we even did a ring around a few dealers to find that a car like our XF V6 Diesel here could be had on the road for around $90,000. That is a lot of value for a car that ticks many of the boxes you need from a luxury, executive saloon, combined with the personal statement that only a Jaguar can make.
So while we wait for the next batch of the new Jags to hit our shores – stay tuned for our first international drive of the 2016 XF, and the local launch of the smaller 2016 XE later this month, as well as the new F-Pace SUV’s official unveiling in Frankfurt in September – a solid deal on a runout XF might just answer your ‘one day’ calling.
As for a car that is equal parts John Steed and Jason Statham, for the right moment in life, there is nothing quite like a Jag.
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