Jaguar XF 20T Prestige Review: Ageing Well
The Jaguar XF has got Jaguar’s 2-litre turbo petrol engine. Does it still put a smile on your face?
The Jaguar XF is the oldest among the crop of Luxury/luxury sports sedans. Jaguar has given the XF a slew of updates over the years, amongst which is the new 2-litre turbo-petrol engine. There is a slew of new features as well. So has this aging beauty still got the fight?
Yes, I’m sold on the looks.
Jaguar has always been known to churn out achingly gorgeous cars. And the XF is no exception. The XF came to India in the last decade. It got a facelift in 2011 and the current-gen XF was unveiled in 2015. The design has evolved over the years to its present form, and there’s barely anything to complain about. Despite carrying a familiar form for years, the Jaguar XF pleases the eye.
The grille is now sleeker and wider than before. So are the headlights, which now are LED units. They have a dagger-like shape and look like an art-work of glass. The front is pretty aggressive with the bulges on the long bonnet. The side profile is classic, clean lines with a bulging shoulder at the C-pillar, which is my favorite bit of the side profile. The front quarter panel also geats a faux vent with chrome accenting, with Jaguar inscribed on the chrome plaque. But it could do with bigger tires, as they look small over the long side profile. The alloy wheel design is marvelous though and grew over me the more I stared at it.
The rear is highlighted by the long, sleek tail lamps, that seem connected by a chrome strip between them. They look like an evolution of the F-Type’s tail lights and make the Xf look wider than it is, from the rear. Dual mufflers peeping out of the black bumper insert sign off a gorgeous rear-end of the XF.
The interiors though…
The interior is where the Jaguar XF shows a but of the age. Not that it feels too old, but it is a touch too sensible for its class. It is finished in the classic beige-black combination and has piano black and wood veneer inserts. There is a 10-inch touch screen infotainment system sitting at the center of the dash. The XF gets all the modern infotainment features like Android Auto/Apple Car Play, navigation the lot. And it gets a Meridian surround sound system as well, which has to be one of the best OEM music systems in the market. Surprisingly, the Jaguar XF gets analog dials for the speedometer and the tach. Other information is displayed on a digital screen between the two analog units. My favorite bit on the interior is the surround effect the starts on the door panel, encircling the dash to merge into the other front door, highlighted by wood veneer finish. It is also seen on the flagship XJ and feels like a luxury yacht’s deck.
The seats are covered in perforated beige leather covers. The seats get a 10-way adjustment which feels a number too small, given the fact that a Skoda Superb gets 12-way seat adjustment. So unacceptable, eh? But the seats are very well supportive and comfortable for long journeys as well. The rear seats are fixed in this base Prestige trim, but you get 40:20:40 split seats in the higher Portfolio trim. With a near 3 meter wheelbase, the legroom is good at the rear, though not class-leading. There is also a panoramic sunroof on offer, which further enhances the ambiance.
The XF gets a Four-zone climate control as well, but only on the higher trim. The tester we had skipped on it, though it gets an Air Quality Sensor. Other highlights include the heartbeat pulsating effect for the Start/Stop button. The Air Vents rotate to open when you start the instrument cluster and the rotary gear selector rises in the center when the engine comes to life.
Overall, the Jaguar XF’s interior is a good place to be in but feels a bit dated compared to its competition.
The Driving Experience
Rewarding is how I’d describe the XF’s driving dynamics.
Let’s talk a bit about the engine first. It is Jaguar’s Ingenium 2 Litre turbocharged Petrol mill. developing 197 hp and 320Nm of torque. And the max torque is spread at a wide rev range of 1500-4000rpm. The engine is paired with an 8-Speed automatic transmission. The gear changes are precise and the transition is almost unnoticeable. The engine noise is barely audible at low revs and as the revs build up, you hear a sweet four-banger note that urges you to keep the throttle pinned. And unlike the F-Pace we drove a while back, there is no waiting in between you pressing the throttle hard and the transmission shifting the cogs. So overtaking is a breeze on highways. What I’d ask for though, is a bit more torque in the higher rev range. There is a strong pull between 2000-3500 rpm and then it feels sharply waned off near the 4000rpm mark. Of course, for those craving a bit more punch from their XF, a 250Hp 2L four-cylinder engine is available on the Portfolio variant.
The XF is a good mix of supple ride and precise handling. The suspension feels soft yet stable at low speed, soaking all the imperfections of the road. The damping is beautifully done, and you notice how the suspension firms up gently after the rebound after going through a pothole or a speed-breaker. At higher speeds, it feels taut and complements quick steering inputs very well. The steering feedback for some reason is lesser than that in the F-Pace but isn’t numb. Probably, its the 17-inch tires with a generous side-wall that improves ride quality at the cost of a bit of the feedback.
To sum it up, the Jaguar XF 20T is a great luxury barge to be chauffeured around in and to occasionally blast down empty streets.