DOES AN on Rivals
The year has kicked off in rather dramatic fashion, not because of boffins proving that gravitational waves theorized by Einstein actually exist, but because of some exceptional drives. Beginning with track time at Kyalami in a 911 Turbo, followed by a stunning road drive in the 2.0 MX-5, and just last week, a spin down the Seabird Coast in Jaguar’s new alu-enhanced XF range. While the latter drives might pale in comparison with the dramatics of the 911 Turbo on track, their ability to thrill at more modest price points should not be overlooked. One can credit much of their brilliance to significant weight drops, arguably the best way to enhance performance and dynamics simultaneously.
None of these will be big sellers - under 100 units each for 2016 - but their ability to satisfy in myriad ways makes them special. It’s of note that these three are essentially all rear drivers, two purely so, the other with a tendency to push more from the rear than drag from the front.
XF has always been a decent steer, and unfortunately that’s one aspect that has gone backwards. But the move from hydraulic to electric steering has never resulted in a more nuanced wheel, rather just a few ticks less on the emissions front. That said, this remains a great car to thread down a testing road, with weight evenly spread over each axle, and rear drive architecture meaning easy throttle adjustability of line. It dives into corners with relish, the front planted (thanks to double wishbone suspension and torque vectoring by braking) and while being medium in size this feels more like a compact at the helm. Perhaps the cabin contributes to that, featuring Jaguar’s stylish ‘Riva hoop’ design, a semicircular trim line that connects the doors and dash in a flowing manner.