Cat’s eyes on future
Permission to buy: Jaguar aims to boost market share with the XF as big Aussie sedans ride into the sunset
THIS is not the XF I had in mind at first. I pondered the Ford Falcon classic model with the XF name, built from 1984 to 1988.
It was a time when Ford was riding high and, seemingly, could do no wrong — the XF Falcon had helped topple the Holden Commodore and the victory was sweet.
Jaguar has similarly high hopes for its latest XF, not to knock out the German prestige competitors but to increase its share of luxury four-door sales as the big Aussie-built sedans ride into the sunset.
As with other high-end marques, Jaguar is anticipating the end of local manufacturing will give customers “permission to buy” a luxury badge.
The thinking is that if you buy a car with a fancy badge, you’re no longer taking away local jobs.
The XF, Jaguar’s second sedan arrival in less than 12 months, replaces the XF introduced in 2007.
It looks remarkably like its smaller sibling, the recently released XE (another classic Falcon designation, coincidentally). I had to park one next to the other to pick the differences.
On the XF, the headlights have a slightly different shape and internal design, the taillights have two semi circles each side and, from the side view, the XF has an extra window behind the rear doors. If the XF badge on the boot isn’t a giveaway, the twin exhaust tips will distinguish it.
Common parts? The door handles and mirrors are shared with the XE and a lot of the switchgear inside is used on other Jaguars.
However, the rest is bespoke, even if it looks as if the part is shared with another model.
And so to the driving, which is a pleasing experience.
The all-new aluminium body is about 100kg lighter than its steel predecessor and the structure is stiffer, which means the suspension can do its job better. Imagine a car that had gone to Pilates. If the core is strong, the limbs can work at their best.
Meanwhile, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo tested has ample urge — it got my heart racing and, if it came to guessing, I would have picked a larger capacity.
As is the case with car electronics these days, there are any number of driving modes from (I’m paraphrasing) “coma” to “manic”.
I settled for Comfort. If you want manic, simply push the pedal on the right.
The engine hooks up well to the eight-speed auto. It’s never far away from being in the right gear to capitalise on the engine’s epic amount of turbocharged torque.
Even on its low-profile tyres, the XF delivers quite a comfortable ride, taking bumps with aplomb. Jaguar fits conventional rubber whereas some rivals have run-flats with thicker sidewalls that flex less over irregularities.
The two front seats have ample adjustment and the XF has much more rear legroom than the cramped XE. It will be an easy upsell for buyers concerned about back-row comforts.
The cabin looks modern and the controls are well laid out. It’s no match for the classiness of
JAGUAR XF R-SPORT 25t
$89,800 plus on-roads
3 years/unlimited km
$1350 over 5 years
12 months/16,000km 6 airbags, 5 stars
2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 177kW/340Nm 8-speed auto; RWD
7.5L/100km 4954mm (L), 1987mm (W), 1457mm (H), 2960mm (WB)