A Brit of all right

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS -

VALUE

The Jag is around the money of its Euro ri­vals but the op­tions list is ex­ten­sive and ex­pen­sive. That’s not an is­sue in the base vari­ants but when you’re buy­ing the best XF the Brits have yet re­leased, you ex­pect some in­cluded niceties. As it stands the de­fault gear doesn’t in­clude sep­a­rate air­con for those in the rear, nor do buy­ers step up from the eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen to the 10.2-inch job with­out se­lect­ing a $2630 bun­dle that in­cludes a dig­i­tal driver’s dis­play. Paint costs up to $4120.

COM­FORT

This is where the XF starts to re­deem it­self. The adap­tive dampers are among the best in the busi­ness in terms of lim­it­ing ag­i­ta­tion in the oc­cu­pants or the car. Bi­tu­men speed humps are a blem­ish on the road, though not even the Jag can fully ab­sorb the hit from those cursed sharpedged metal humps start­ing to spread. The seats are shaped to hold you in while cor­ner­ing with­out crush­ing your torso on the straight.

SAFETY

Five stars for the XF and all mod­els are fit­ted with au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing. Be­yond that, driv­ing aids are a $4270 op­tion for adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop and go, lane-keep­ing and blindspot alerts and rear cross-traf­fic warn­ing. Struc­turally the al­loyframed XF is hard to fault, earn­ing a 92 per cent rat­ing from ANCAP for adult pro­tec­tion in the crash tests. Ob­ses­sive­com­pul­sive types may want to note two points were de­ducted on the side im­pact test af­ter both doors un­latched.

DRIV­ING

Un­til Jaguar’s Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Op­er­a­tions fin­ishes work, the S is the pin­na­cle of the XF range. The su­per­charged V6 is good for a 5.3-sec­ond run to 100km/h and en­cour­ages week­end jaunts on roads less trav­elled. Turn in and steer­ing feel are as good as any car this size can man­age and — un­less you’re put­ting the boot into the en­gine mid-cor­ner — grip is prodi­gious. The eight­speed auto is well cal­i­brated in nor­mal driv­ing mode but is less con­vinc­ing in the sports set­ting, though it makes more noise.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

The twin-turbo six-cylin­der bet­ters the Jag for pace and fuel use and ships with many items that are op­tions on the Brit­built ve­hi­cle in­clud­ing the ac­tive driv­ing aids, big screen and dig­i­tal dis­play.

An E-Class is still the de­fault op­tion for those with lux­ury cruis­ing in mind and the E400 shares the Beemer’s traits of bet­ter per­for­mance and a higher level of stan­dard gear.

VER­DICT

Both Ger­mans are no­tion­ally bet­ter value but can’t touch the XF when it comes to turning heads. The XF S is for those who en­joy the road less trav­elled, lit­er­ally and in terms of ve­hi­cle choice. On that ba­sis, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

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