A Brit of all right
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.