With the XF having spent roughly equal amounts of time in town and on the open road recently, Iíll get the cheesy metaphors out of the way now. The past month has been a game of two halves for Jaguarís executive saloon and Iíve sensed that this once caged beast revelled in being set free from the urban jungle.
City running has thrown up a few pleasant surprises, though. Despite this XFís sporty bias, ride comfort remains good. Itís not old school XJ good, but itís better than I expected it would be on 19-inch alloy wheels. The carís cabin is also a nice place to spend some quality time, even when stuck in gridlocked traffic. The carís upgraded audio system delivers a sophisticated sound and, crucially for me, provides glitch-free DAB reception. And while a huge improvement over Jaguarís previous offering, the more I use the carís infotainment screen, the more I yearn for a widescreen display thatís a little less, well, wide. Make no mistake, it looks great, and the user interface is friendlier than before, but this upgraded 10.2-inch option means youíre viewing the map through a letterbox. Now, Iím not advocating Jaguar ape Tesla with its huge portrait format ëslabí, but Iíd like more screen real estate north and south.
Still, I have friends who have fallen for the cinematic experience, proving itís a matter of taste. Likewise the carís distinctive red and black leather; my eyes have finally adjusted to the bold colour combo, and it contrasts well with the straight-laced silver exterior. Everyone, me included, agrees that the XFís optional (bundled with the upgraded infotainment) ëvirtualí main instrument display is stunning; crisp, clear and surprisingly configurable.
Enough geeking-out though, as the XF also serves as a sports saloon. Jaguar trades heavily on the driver enjoyment angle, and this high-power four-cylinder variant doesnít disappoint. If you normally stick to ëEcoí mode to reign in performance and boost economy, thatís the first thing to disable if you want to motor. The full blown customisable ëSportí mode is better suited for long committed stretches, mind. Switch the gearbox to Sport, grab the shift paddles and away you go. True to form the XF does go, although Iíll never really get used to the four-cylinder engineís rumble. Blame downsizing for that, or you could dig deep for the flagship six-cylinder variant. No matter, on the move the XF is quite the entertainer. Itís no point and squirt machine, but it wonít hesitate to remind you of itís rear-wheel drive layout ñ for a big car it can be a frisky one. Work with it and much ground can be covered quickly, all with a big smile. The eight-speed gearbox isnít the quickest though, which is why you need to be bold with the paddle shifters. Iím not sure company executives should be allowed to have this much fun.
|Date arrived:||23rd August 2016|
|Mileage to date:||3,205 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||65.7mpg (official combined) 50.5mpg (on test)|
Powered boot can be opened and closed remotely. I wish more car firms allowed the latter. Well done Jaguar!
I’m still not sure about the cool blue backlighting promoting an executive cabin ambience. Someone at Jaguar is a serious Tron fan.