The Jaguar XF: A Wildcat Perfect For The Modern Driver

·6-min read

For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred the agility of sports cars to the luxurious trappings of executive sedans.

Perhaps it’s a question of age as well, for I find myself leaning towards, shall I say, more mature offerings in the market. But as I approached the Jaguar XF, purring somewhat demurely in the parking lot (it’s a smart feature that allows you to cool the interior cabins remotely by smartphone), I found its low, but not aggressively so, stance somewhat appealing.

Having owned cats for the better part of my life, I’m well familiar with the performance capabilities of a feline – able to go from zero to instant action the minute it spots prey or misplaced sock that resembles a mortal enemy. What I’m trying to say is that for the unacquainted, it’s easy to be dismissive of the new Jaguar XF.

In fact, it wasn’t even the model I was scheduled to review, but having no other models available, this was offered. What I discovered surprised me: inspired design, intuitive new technology, modern luxury, and surprising performance all packed within the new Jaguar XF.

Cat-Like Agility

It’s uncommon to get into a brand new vehicle and feel perfectly comfortable with how it handles or even brakes. That’s because a period of muscle memory has developed with whatever vehicle you’re currently operating while the handling characteristics of the new model often differ so markedly from your existing car that it takes a period of acclimation.

This was not the case with the new Jaguar XF. Upon gripping the matte leather clad steering wheel, I immediately felt a comfortable familiarity with the vehicle as the push of the start/stop instantly adjusts the seat into a pre-set driving position. Some mirror adjustments and a gentle foot press later and off we went.

As far as luxury sedans go, acceleration was probably the first surprise. I’m more accustomed to a lumbering start, but the XF has Jaguar performance at the heart of its DNA. It’s not “push you into the back of your seat” acceleration but it’s noticeably “grunty”, it doesn’t ‘roar’ per se, it’s more like the quiet acquiesce of obligation as you nudge your cat off the sofa – it complies with a leap seemingly without effort thanks to Mild-Hybrid (MHEV) powertrains.

Capable Performance

Jaguar XF
Jaguar XF

Offering exceptional dynamics and performance with improved efficiency and refinement, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine comes in two power outputs, 250PS and 300PS. The 250PS variant produces 365Nm of torque, delivering 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds for the XF RWD model; that said, acceleration does not give you the sensation of uncontrolled “lift off”, thus you never feel the need to tap the brakes, acceleration is rapid yet smooth.

That said, even if road conditions do make braking necessary, sensibly adjusted and calibrated brake callipers make it feel you’re fully in control of how and when you need to make a complete stop. Around turns, ‘Torque Vectoring by Braking’ provides controlled independent braking to maximise capability through even the tightest corners, reducing understeer and delivers sports car-like agility. The XF’s steering transitioned adeptly between low speed lightness and high-speed heft.

Again, it is performance quite unexpected of a rather stately if masculine luxury saloon. Furthermore, its handling characteristics and ease of use are a translatable experience to the carpark: 28cm longer and 4cm taller than the Jaguar XE, the new XF is not exactly a small car but it is agile like one.

There was initial hesitation navigating the tight on-ramps and car lots of my mother-in law’s HDB multi-storey carpark at first, but paranoia soon gave way to confidence as I found that the saloon had an even tighter turning radius than your typical small Japanese sedan. I got into many parking spots with ease even if it was cramped opening the doors after.

Versatile Handling

All XF models feature the latest JaguarDrive Control featuring Comfort, Eco, Rain-Ice-Snow and Dynamic modes, which can be chosen manually by the driver based on the road conditions. The settings, selected through a new rotary dial next to the all-new Drive Selector, adapt the XF’s steering, transmission, throttle and (when specified) Adaptive Dynamics settings. Dynamic mode delivers a more responsive driving experience, while

Eco tunes vehicle settings to encourage a more efficient driving style. Even in Dynamic, the new XF is almost silent at expressway speeds, and the combination of the XF’s expertly calibrated electric power steering and the serene manner in which it traverses the smoother MCE roadways and the older, rougher PIE expressways show-off the genius and level of thought gone into providing such an exemplary driving experience.

Key to the new Jaguar XF’s dynamic capabilities is its advanced suspension design, mated to its inherently rigid aluminium-intensive architecture. At the front, a double wishbone suspension layout, similar to the F‐TYPE sports car, contributes to class-leading handling while the Integral Link rear suspension provides lateral stiffness without compromising ride comfort.  Its spirit of performance is matched by the new front bumper, all-LED headlights, new grille and new rear bumper that deliver a more assertive presence.

High-Tech Features

Featuring Jaguar’s next-generation Electronic Vehicle Architecture, EVA 2.0 supports a range of new technologies to ensure the vehicle is future-ready.

Though the latest Pivi Pro infotainment technology accessed through the all-new 11.4-inch curved glass HD touchscreen is impressive with almost all major features (navigation, media, Airplay, etc) available to access or view from the home screen in two taps or less, it is the Jaguar InControl Remote app that is the most exciting.

Compatible with most Android and Apple iOS smartphones, the app truly allows you to be in control of your Jaguar from anywhere in the world with a data connection. From setting the perfect cabin temperature in advance with Remote Climate Control (it activates the car’s air conditioning system before you reach the vehicle) to finding your new XR fast in the gargantuan carparks of Suntec city with Remote Beep and Flash, perhaps it is Vehicle Status Information that allows you see car data like fuel levels and door and window status that would give you the most peace of mind.

The new Jaguar XF is truly designed to be yours right off the dealer’s car lot.

(Images: Jaguar)

The post The Jaguar XF: A Wildcat Perfect For The Modern Driver appeared first on Augustman Singapore.

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