Jaguar has been on a roll with a surprising number of new vehicles coming to market, the first of which will be the completely redone XF. While the newest Jag features fresh exterior skin, much of what’s new is hidden from sight. The big story is a new aluminum-intensive architecture that offers considerable weight savings as well as improved vehicle dynamics. Sitting in the center of the Jaguar lineup, the XF will be joined by the all-new XE entry-level sedan as well as the F-PACE performance crossover. The XF moves up the ladder in terms of size and luxury, making room for the new XE at the base of the Jaguar lineup. Offering up a premium interior, stylish lines and great performance, the XF is meant to go head to head with the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The XF carries forward expected Jaguar styling cues — there will be no mistaking it for any other vehicle. The grille is slightly larger than the outgoing XF, and the flush LED headlights give the XF a modern look, recognizable in the light or darkness. While the silhouette carries the similar coupe-like styling as before, the new XF looks cleaner with a wider, more aggressive stance. Some might thing the style is a bit too simple, but that is by design.
“In creating the all-new XF, as a design team we have been driven by discipline, the discipline of simplicity. Every exterior line on the XF has a clear purpose – nothing is superfluous. Achieving that simplicity takes time and requires great determination; it’s all too easy to add lines to a car, but much harder to add character by leaving lines out,” said Ian Callum, director of design at Jaguar.
The all-new XF can be purchased in four different trim levels: Premium, Prestige, R-Sport and S. All are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive; adding AWD increases the price by $3,000.
The XF Premium has a base price of $51,900 and comes well equipped with such amenities as 8-way power seats, aluminum and gloss-black trim, 8-inch capacitive touchscreen display, Meridian 380-watt sound system with 11 speakers and HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and automatic climate control with solar sensing and air filtration. Xenon HID headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera and power moonroof are also standard.
With a base price of $56,500, the XF Prestige upgrades the Premium with leather seats, 4-way power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and steering wheel, GPS navigation, keyless entry and front and rear parking aids. The Prestige also gets 19-inch alloy wheels and interior mood lighting.
Not to be confused with the high-performance ‘R’ models in the Jaguar lineup, the R-Sport gets sporty styling but no performance upgrades. Priced at $60,650, the R-Sport stands out with full LED headlights, adaptive front lighting, side power vents, body-colored side sills and rear spoiler. The R-Sport also gets rear cross-traffic detection, blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.
The top of the XF lineup at launch, the XF S is priced at $62,700. Upgrades over the R-Sport include gloss-black side sills, red brake calipers, 12-way power seats, Adaptive Dynamic suspension and Adaptive Surface Response (AWD models only). The S also gets a more powerful 380-horsepower supercharged V6 engine.
InControl Touch Pro
Jaguar adds a new optional high-tech infotainment system for the XF that features a standard 8-inch touchscreen or the optional InControl Touch Pro with a 10.2-inch widescreen display. InControl Touch Pro employs a solid-state drive, a quad-core processor, and runs on an ultra-fast Ethernet connection. Jaguar claims the system delivers incredible graphics, fast response times and truly exceptional performance. Unfortunately this new system was not installed on the XFs we tested, so we’ll report on this new system at some point in the future.
Under the Hood
The only engine currently available for the new Jaguar XF is a 3.0-liter supercharged engine. Output is 340 horsepower in all versions of the XF except the S which sees a bump to 380 horsepower. Torque remains the same for both versions at 332 lb-ft. Both reach 60 mph in about five seconds, but the more-powerful XF S is about one-tenth of a second faster to sixty. Both can achieve a top speed limited to 155 mph.
Improved Fuel Economy
All XFs are equipped with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. There are dedicated Sport and Eco modes, and the transmission is designed to adjust shifting to match driving style. With an improved coefficient of drag and reduction of about 265 pounds compared to the outgoing version, fuel economy is improved by about 9 percent. The EPA rates the RWD at 20 mpg city / 30 mpg highway. The AWD will cost you about 2 mpg on the highway. These numbers seem to be accurate – in the R Sport RWD we saw about 26 mpg in mostly high-speed freeway driving.
The interior of the new XF has a much more modern feel than the outgoing model. It still comes alive when you push the start button — the gearshift knob rises from the center console and the vents in the dash rotate open automatically.
Like the Jaguar XJ, the XF features a line of wood trim that flows from each front door along the bottom of the windshield. While this is a nice design element, the door sills feature hard plastic that angles into the dashboard, making for a very uncomfortable place to rest your arm. The XF can also be equipped with a head-up display that shows the speed and navigation instructions in front of the driver. An added bonus — the Jaguar HUD is still visible when the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses.
Seats are very comfortable, both front and back. Front seats offer excellent support and are quite attractive. Spending several hundred miles behind the wheel was a breeze — the XF would be an easy car to take on a long road trip. Seats can be heated; however, it is annoying to have to go through the touch screen to turn them on or off.
The new XF is about .3 inches shorter in length than its predecessor but the wheelbase is two inches longer, which allows for a roomier interior with more space specifically for rear-seat passengers. Two passengers in back will be very comfortable – three will fit but it will be a little cramped.
The standard user interface is fashioned after a smartphone and is quite intuitive. Large buttons represent audio, navigation, climate control, etc. The buttons update with information about that particular function. Buttons along the side of the screen offer quick access to most needed functions. The system was sometimes slow to respond, especially when plugging in a destination.
On the Road
The new XF looks great with a very comfortable interior, but our favorite part of this updated sedan is how it drives. With either engine acceleration is strong with downshifts happening very quickly. The paddle shifters felt a bit slow to respond; however, letting the car shift on its own seemed to work just fine.
With rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the XF feels solid and planted, making it a great choice for just cruising down the freeway or attacking a winding stretch of mountain road. As driving enthusiasts, we prefer the “Dynamic” driving mode which makes the steering quicker, suspension tighter and the transmission more responsive. Many vehicles with a “sport” mode feel end up keeping the transmission in a lower gear which can get annoying – the Jag only does this as needed which means you can leave the car in dynamic mode without greatly affecting fuel economy.
Stability control works well without being intrusive. We spent several hours driving in extreme rain with standing water and the rear-wheel-drive XF was perfectly stable in acceleration, corning and cruising at high speeds.
Right for You?
The new 2016 Jaguar XF provides an excellent mix of attractive style, comfortable interior and fun-to-drive attributes — all the makings of great sport sedan. There are a number of strong competitors in this market segment, but the Jaguar stands out with its updated design and can certainly hold its own when it comes to impressive performance. So if you’re looking for a new sport sedan that thoroughly enjoyable to drive and may be a bit more exclusive than your neighbors’ BMW or Mercedes — the Jaguar makes a great choice.
Bottom Line: Jaguar hits the mark with the 2016 XF Sport Sedan.
Pros: Attractive design; great performance; comfortable interior.
Cons: Slow responding interface; interior not as plush as expected.