There was a time when cars from Jaguar used to look very boring. All business, and no fun – that was the sort of vibe that Jaguar portrayed. Well, not anymore. I’ve just picked up the keys to a Jaguar XF-S and I find it an incredibly good looking car. And I’m not the only one – the XF seemed to appeal to both men and women alike. Surprising indeed, especially since there have been very few well designed British cars.
Let’s quickly go through the styling. The XF you see in these pictures is the 2012 XF that SISMA Auto (sole distributor of Jaguar in Malaysia) launched earlier this year. It is what you would call a mid-life facelift, and has definitely helped to improve the overall looks of an, admittedly, already good looking car. While exterior changes are kept to a minimum, subtle tweaks such as the addition of LED lights prove to be quite a significant plus. As this car was the ‘S’ model, there is also a modest rear spoiler along with subtle S-badgery on the rear.
Step inside the XF and the first thing you notice is the superior cabin quality – no other German rival comes close, it really is that good. With the XF, it is clear that time was spent to make the cabin a little sportier. Close the door as you drop into the driver’s seat and the Engine Start buttons glows red. When you do just that – the gear knob selector rises and the air-cond vents rotate outwards. Definitely cool, and will certainly entertain your guests. There is a fair amount of wood trim, aluminum and chrome – all of which work together very well (although I do think that wood trim is a bit old school). Cabin lights are all touch sensitive – glide your fingers through the housing and the lighting slowly comes alive. Perhaps my only gripe with the interior was the in-car entertainment/sat-nav system which I felt was a little difficult to grasp, and had a slow response time.
It might not be apparent, but Jaguar takes safety pretty seriously. The XF was put through the EuroNCAP crash test in 2010 and scored four stars (out of a maximum five) in overall safety. This was seen as rather disappointing, especially considering how its German rivals did better. When the XF received its mid-life facelift, it was once again put through the EuroNCAP crash test. Although overall rating remained at four stars, there was significant improvement in pedestrian safety (from 43% to 62%). Quite a remarkable improvement by any measure. How was this achieved? Well, there are actually two airbags under the bonnet. Talk about doing everything to improve on safety…
Power in this XF comes in the form of a lightweight 3.0L twin-turbo V6 diesel mill. Outputs are impressive – 275PS and 600Nm delivered via updated ZF 6-speed auto to the rear wheels providing a zerotohundred sprint of just 6.4 seconds. Impressive for such a big, hefty (1,820kg) saloon. The twin blowers work sequentially – small turbo at low revs and second, larger turbo that kicks in past 2,800rpm, and helps to save energy and improve economy. Mash the accelerator and there is a whisper of turbo lag, and very little drama. Power delivery is incredibly smooth and linear, but it is the engine’s mid-range that impresses the most; the XF really has phenomenal overtaking abilities. Select Sport mode and you feel the car shifting with increased urgency – although truthfully, you never really feel that you are travelling as quick as the numbers suggest.
Part of the experience with owning a British car is to experience wafting. There are very few surface imperfections that would unruffle the XF; road pimples, stray branches, road bumps, all are dealt with minimal fuss, thanks to its superior damping control. Where the XF suffers is in the handling department. I’d imagined that the XF would attack a corner in similar fashion to its German rivals, but I was unfortunately very wrong – approach a corner at speed, brake hard (and the brakes are really quite good), and you feel the rear end giving way ever so slightly. It just lacks confidence, and I wasn’t comfortable pushing it to its very limits (this is after-all a massive luxo-barge!).
At the end of the day, the XF Diesel S is a very well balanced vehicle. It looks fantastic on the outside as well as on the inside, enough to appeal to the younger generation. Because this is an oil burner, it also provides better economy than its petrol equivalent (I managed ~350km on RM60 of diesel, driven relatively hard). Good for city cruising or highways runs, the XF has the added benefit of rarity amongst a sea of Beemers and Mercs. Unless you need power in the rawest form (in the 500PS supercharged XFR guise), this XF Diesel has more than enough grunt for the average Joe.
To view all pictures of the Jaguar XF-S Diesel, click here
. Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S
• Top Speed
: 260km/h (tested)
: 3.0L twin-turbo diesel V6
: 275PS / 4,000 rpm
: 600Nm / 2,000 rpm
: 1,820kg (kerb weight)
• Fuel Economy
: RM509,888 (OTR excluding road tax and insurance)