The big cat now has enough grunt to challenge Mercedes and BMW performance cars, writes NEIL McDONALD
IT MIGHT not look it from the outside, but Jaguar has been quietly improving its XF sedan, focusing on performance, economy and refinement for next year. Thankfully, little about the XF’s classy lines has been changed.
The big news is that buyers have a choice of two all-new direct-injection Gen III 5.0-litre V8s and a twin-turbo V6 turbodiesel.
For Jaguar buyers hunting in AMG and M territory, the company also now has a highperformance supercharged XFR.
The newest XFs are expected to continue the brand’s modest local resurgence since the stylish sedan arrived late last year.
Since that launch the average age of a Jag buyer has dropped, according to Jaguar Australia general manager Chris Lidis.
‘‘The average is 44 and this has helped drag down the traditional buyer profile, which has fallen from 55 to 49 across the brand,’’ he says.
More than 500 XFs have been sold and the car has single-handedly underpinned Jaguar’s local sales.
The four-model line-up opens with the volume-selling 3.0-litre petrol V6. It remains largely the same, with much of the XF makeover reserved for the powertrains.
All are mated to six-speed sequential automatics with the V6 petrol developing 175kW at 6800 revs and 293Nm at 4100 revs.
The V8s are almost all new. Just two carryover parts remain from the 4.2-litre, a cylinder head bolt and supercharger tappet.
The XF’s chief program engineer, Kevin Stride, says the engines are solely Jaguardesigned and developed and have nothing in common with the latest V8 Fords in the US.
It is the 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel S and the new V8s that are sure to ignite interest.
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel replaces the previous 2.7-litre engine. It is 33 per cent more powerful than the smaller diesel but also 10 per cent more economical, with a combined fuel economy figure of 6.8 litres for 100km.
Importantly, too, the engine emits 179g/km CO2 emissions, which is 10 per cent less than the 2.7-litre engine.
The diesel develops 202kW at 4000 revs and 600Nm from 2000 revs, only 25Nm shy of the supercharged 5.0-litre V8.
Jaguar has managed to extract the performance through two parallel sequential turbos that deliver seamless power at both low and high revs. The aim is to eliminate any turbo-lag at any speed.
The new 5.0-litre supercharged V8 XFR replaces the previous range-topper, the supercharged 4.2-litre V8.
Both V8s employ direct injection. The naturally-aspirated version delivers 283kW at 6500 revs and 515Nm at 3500 revs. The supercharged engine ups the ante to 375kW at 6000 revs and 625Nm from 2500 revs.
According to Jaguar, the naturally-aspirated V8 delivers 11.1 litres/100km with a CO2 figure of 264g/km. The supercharged engine delivers 12.5 litres/100km and 292g/km.