A cooler cat



THERE’S A LOT to like about the new Jaguar. Under the thoughtful ownership of the Tata Corporatio­n this luxury marque has once again been winning awards (and hearts) with its engineerin­g and design. And it’s working for Tata too, with the UK-based Jaguar Land Rover one of its best divisions by revenue growth – and booming profitabil­ity and sales in the US and Asia.

Probably the most successful of the new breed, with more than 200,000 vehicles sold since 2008, is the XF, an executive sedan that stands up to its European rivals in performanc­e. The model has spawned a variety of sports and stationwag­on versions and an updated version is due later this year.

We had the 3.0D S turbocharg­ed XF diesel for the weekend (how we suffer) and thought we’d break it down for your viewing pleasure.

The first thing to note is the shape which hints at the old Jag styling – especially in the long, tapered bonnet – yet is far sportier and more aggressive than its overweight predecesso­rs. Much has been made of this new Jag look which was pioneered in the XF by designer Ian Callum and now can be seen throughout the Jag range. The best of British has been retained in the finishing, from the stitching in the seats to shark-like gill vents.

Does the driving live up to its styling? I was warned by the host to take it easy in the Friday traffic and a short blast to the motorway gave me pause for thought. With incredible power under the hood the machine leapt from the traffic lights and I was immediatel­y reminded of the surprise I felt the first time my foot hit the accelerato­r of a BMW M5. Responsive, throaty, with no lag off the mark, the XF is like an eager tiger cub, trying to bound its way ahead of its competitor­s.

The car sits firm on the tarmac, with minimum roll and sharp steering response. It’s equipped with traction control that includes a sports mode for stiffening the suspension so you can really feel the road, if that’s your thing.

Being a man of family persuasion I packed the sedan with kids and gear for the obligatory weekend sports duties and found plenty of room for balls and bags and boots and bodies. There’s also enough trunk space for two golf bags.

I found the XF an intoxicati­ng mix of style, space and grunt. And with some jealous looks from the workmates, what more could an executive ask for?

Here’s what else you need to know about the XF.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand