Jaguar’s XF redesign: stunning

“I believe the all-new XF is the best looking car in its class,” averred Ian Callum, director of design for Jaguar. While he’s not exactly an unbiased observer, he won’t get much of an argument, at least from us. The Jaguar XF, redesigned for 2016, is even more shapely than its predecessor. Among its rivals, only the stunning Mercedes-Benz CLS comes close – and it costs significantly more than the XF.

The XF is Jaguar’s entry in the midsize luxury segment, and at base “Premium” level, it’s competitively priced at $51,900. Our Rhodium Silver test car was a 35t R Sport with rear-wheel drive and a higher price point of $60,650, before options that raised the bottom line to $73,485.

For many decades, Jaguars have been fast, powerful, quiet, luxurious and easy on the eyes. They have not been noted for fuel efficiency. But the XF, which benefits from extensive use of aluminum body panels and frame members, is rated at 24 mpg city, 30 highway, when equipped with the 340-horsepower, supercharged V-6. An “Intelligent Stop-Start” system, which shuts off the engine during extended stops and restarts it quickly when the driver removes his foot from the brake pedal, boosts the car’s fuel economy and reduces its emissions. (Drivers who are more focused on quick, seamless performance than economy can turn this system off.)

Engine options include a 380-horsepower version of the V-6 and, later this year, a 4-cylinder diesel engine that’s expected to deliver up to 40 mpg.

Inside, the XF is roomy and luxurious, with lavish touches like the pulsing starter button and the transmission dial that rises from the center console as the engine starts. The trunk is enormous, for a midsize sedan, at 19.1 cubic feet, though the opening is on the small side.

The option packages, which added nearly $12,000 to the test car’s sticker price, included a number of desirable features such as cooled front seats, heated rear seats, electric rear sun blinds, four-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, park assist, autonomous emergency braking and proximity camera system. A blind-spot monitor and rear camera are standard on all XF trim levels.

The XF is fast, nimble and quiet, but curiously, the test car was not quite vibration-free. We attributed that trait to the transmission’s tendency to settle into the highest possible gear to save fuel; or it may have been an idiosyncrasy in the test car.

For 2016, Jaguar has lowered prices, lengthened warranties and is adding the 2017 XE, a compact luxury sedan with many its big XF brother’s styling cues. Management hopes these changes will boost sales and improve confidence in the line’s reliability, always (not always fairly) a sticking point for many would-be customers. The strategy seems to be working. Although never a large-volume seller in the United States, Jaguar saw a 12 percent increase in XF sales February 2016, compared with February 2015.

Steven Macoy ([email protected]) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.

2016 Jaguar XF 35t R Sport RWD

Price: $73,485

Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, 340 horsepower, 332 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with shift paddles

Drive: rear-wheel

Weight: 3,770 lb.

Suspension: double-wishbone front, integral-link rear

Wheels: 20-in. Star Alloy

Tires: front, P255/35R20; rear, P285/30R20, all-season

Seating capacity: 5

Luggage capacity: 19.1 cu. ft.

Fuel capacity: 19.5 gallons

Fuel economy: 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway

Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline

 

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