eXquisitely Finessed

BY Burnpavement

The first XF was a landmark car for Jaguar, overhauling the brand’s image and keeping it afloat during financial struggle. Now that its tour of duty is complete, a new XF is here to lead the charge.

About 10 years ago, Jaguar’s cars had a reputation for having fine ride and handling qualities, but also featured styling that looked like a 1970s time warp. The XJ, S-Type and X-Type – all of them bore a strong resemblance to the very first XJ saloon from four decades prior, and as such suffered from an image that was more frumpy than fashionable. All that changed with the XF in 2007, the first contemporarily styled Jaguar saloon in eons, which helped turn Jaguar into one of the coolest automotive brands around. Now, eight years on, an all-new XF is making its debut in Singapore.

The new XF is part two of Jaguar’s current three-pronged product offensive aimed at capturing sales from Ze Germans; first there was the compact XE sedan which we reviewed earlier, and early in 2016 will see the arrival of the F-Pace, Jaguar’s first SUV. Already the results are showing: in just three months since its launch in September, the XE has already accounted for 20% of total Jaguar sales in Singapore! This tripartite group is important for Jaguar also because it debuts a number of advanced technologies that will sustain the company’s products in the near future.

Anyway, on to the XF. Jaguar is the latest company to employ a scalable platform architecture for its models to achieve greater economies of scale. As such, the XF uses a larger version of the XE’s aluminium platform, and additionally shares the same engine and a similar suspension setup.

The move to this new platform means the new car is both lighter (up to 140kg) and stiffer (28%) than before, and also more spacious — the car’s overall length has been reduced but the wheelbase extended, to provide what Jaguar claims is class-leading amounts of rear seat space.

Powering the XF will be a range of four-cylinder and V6 engines that can also be found across the whole Jaguar-Land Rover range. At the moment, the XF will only be available in Singapore with the familiar 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder used in the Range Rover Evoque, XJ and outgoing XF, with outputs of 240bhp and 340Nm. In time to come though, other variants will be available, ranging from a 180bhp 2.0L diesel, up to a 380bhp supercharged V6 in the XF S. A hot-rod supercharged V8 XFR will almost certainly be expected in the future, as well as a ’Sportbrake’ wagon version.

As if the exterior wasn’t handsome enough, the interior of the new XF provides drama and style that its German rivals can’t match. Just like the original, the new car features the same theatrical engine start-up sequence: press the starter button and the air vents swivel open, and the rotary gear selector rises out of the centre console before the engine growls to life.

Compared to the old car, the dashboard has also been de-cluttered and simplified, with more functions now controlled via the standard 8-inch (or optional 10-inch) InControl Touch infotainment system. Just like a smartphone or tablet, the system can be ’swiped’ or ’dragged’ to control its various features, such as music and navigation functions. A 380W 11-speaker sound system by Meridian is also standard on local cars.

The XF is currently available in two different trim levels, Prestige and R-Sport, with the same equipment options but a different bodykit, rims and interior trim. To celebrate its launch, the 2.0L Prestige model is available at a special price of $229,999 and comes with five year complimentary servicing and accessories worth over $6000. Audi, BMW and Mercedes watch out; there’s a new cat prowling these streets.