Here's what's standard on the 2015 Jaguar XF Luxury AWD: three-stage heated and cooled front buckets seats covered in perforated leather; the 825-watt sound system; 340-horsepower, supercharged V-6 mated to an eight-speed gearbox; and all-wheel-drive. Here's what's not: heated windshield. That's an extra $350.
Really? In Canada with its bitter winters? A top-end ride like the XF should kit out with a heated windscreen. And while Jag is at it, the time is ripe to bring the whole car into line with the rest of Jag's lineup.
The XF is Jag's oldest car. It's pretty but not gorgeous like the endlessly award-winning F-Type.
On the other hand, Jag's "Instinctive" AWD moves torque front and back as needed – up to 50 per cent to the front wheels – and there's a Winter mode that preloads extra power to the front wheels to overcome snow.
In the nastiest conditions, the system does as advertised, without giving the XF the feel of a pickup. In most conditions, the XF has the responses of a rear-drive luxury car. The V-6 sings rather than howls and the gearbox moves up and down the ratios beautifully. So the drive is excellent.
Despite the styling update for 2012, however, the look is a little behind the times – at least as Jag designs go. Slot this four-door beside an XJ with its smooth flanks and rakish lines and, aside from the grilles, they don't look like they're from the same family. Beside the F-Type, the XF is the adopted stepchild. This is what happens to older designs when the new ones are stunning.
As for the cabin, it's roomy, comfortable and boasts some elegant and conversation-starting touches like the pop-up chrome gear selector. Love it. The seats are properly padded at the base and back, but for a car that can handle corners, there is a lack of side bolstering. Roll hard into and out of an apex and you'll slip side-to-side.
The touch-screen infotainment controls are uncomplicated, but slow to respond. You're tempted to tap the screen twice, waiting for action. The graphics are clean, but unspectacular. Rear seat room is good.
The 2015 XF suffers from the burden of high expectations. Blame the F-Type. It's so wonderful, we expect all Jags to be the same.
You'll like this car if ... you want a ritzy ride but you have had it up to here with the Germans who dominate this segment.
- Base price: $67,500
- Engine: 3.0-litre V-6, supercharged
- Drive: all-wheel drive
- Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.9 city/8.8 highway, using premium fuel.
- Alternatives: Lexus GS, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Acura RL, Audi A6, Cadillac XTS, Infiniti Q70, Kia K900, Hyundai Genesis, Volvo S80
- Looks: This is a handsome car sharing showroom space with a couple of spectacular designs. So the negative here is a relative one. In the world of cars, the XF is looker. In the world of Jags, not so much.
- Interior: More side bolstering for the front buckets is needed in a performance sedan that can carve apexes with aplomb. The touchscreen is slow to respond and the graphics are uninspiring. The better news is that the cabin space is open and airy, the long-distance seat comfort is excellent, the overall design is lovely and the pop-up chrome gear selector is inspired.
- Technology: Jag brought all-wheel drive to the lineup for 2013 and this is a good system. It delivers extra grip when needed; yet the rear-drive feel is maintained.
- Performance: The supercharged V-6 is lovely. It sings when asked, pumping up power in an instant without any jumpiness. The car is terrifically fast, leaping to 100 km/hour in 6.4 seconds. And it will hold a line in a fast corner without scaring you or the passengers.
- Cargo: Trunk space is okay. You can get the golf clubs back there with room to spare.
A lovely high-end sedan that will bring you plenty of pleasure – and it's available with several thousand in discounts.