On Sale: Spring 2008
Expected Pricing: $70,000-$90,000?

The 2009 Jaguar XF, a totally new four-door sedan, goes on sale in North America in Spring 2008. Jaguar retailers are taking orders now.

The XF signals a new design and engineering direction Jaguar will be taking in the coming years, the company says. Jaguar designed the XF to exude the visual excitement of a coupe in a four-door sedan with room for five adults. The interior is designed to look contemporary but uniquely Jaguar with luxurious materials, sophisticated instruments and calm mood lighting.

The Jaguar XF looks thoroughly modern. Park it next to a BMW 5 Series or anything else in its class and the other car suddenly looks dated. It has presence.

Surprise-and-delight features include a start button that pulses red like a heartbeat when getting into the car and air conditioning vents that close for a flush appearance when getting out. Premium audio, voice-activated controls, a blind spot monitor, front and rear parking aids, a rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control are available.

The XF is designed to perform as both sports car and luxurious long-distance cruiser. The chassis was designed to be lightweight and rigid for a refined ride and excellent handling.

The six-speed automatic transmission features shift-by-wire control with a sequential-shift system designed for rapid and smooth shifting. Drivers can select gears manually via paddles on the steering wheel and can switch from Park to Reverse to Drive and other shift modes via a rotary knob. This system, called JaguarDrive Control, allows selection of Dynamic and Winter modes that match shift strategies, throttle progression and Dynamic Stability Control settings to mood and conditions.

Three trim levels will be available: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Supercharged. They will look identical, except the Supercharged model will be identifiable by its big 20-inch wheels.

The standard engine is a 4.2-liter V8 capable of 0-60 mph performance in 6.2 seconds, according to Jaguar, with top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. That's impressive acceleration performance. A supercharged version of this engine boosts 0-60 performance to just 5.1 seconds, very quick indeed. V6 and diesel versions available in the UK are not expected to be part of the U.S. model mix.

The XF brims with active safety features. Among them: Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, anti-lock brakes, Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control, Understeer Control, and Engine Drag Torque Control.

The XF was designed to occupy the role of the original XJ Series 1 and was inspired by the old XJ6, which is smaller than today's XJ. It will compete with the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS 300, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6. The Jaguar XF measures 195.3 inches long, 73.9 inches wide, and rides on a 114.5-inch wheelbase. The XF is just slightly longer and wider than the A6, and the Jaguar's wheelbase is relatively long for the class.

The sleek, coupe-like design of XF is intended to push it away from the boundaries of the three-box style of a traditional sedan. A sweeping silhouette inspired by the XK and relatively short front and rear overhangs give the XF a sporty appearance. The big grille and strong shoulders are designed to suggest Jaguar. The grille's woven mesh is designed to give it a quintessentially British appearance. A big growler badge in the grille, a chrome leaper on the rear, and Jaguar nameplates over vents adorning the front fenders tell us this is a cat.

But there's no question the XF is a departure from previous designs and we wonder whether people will know it's a Jag. In addition to the sleek body design, the headlights and taillights are thoroughly modern. Modern cues include a rising waistline and high tail for smooth aerodynamics and trunk space that rivals the best of the class.

Pricing won't likely be announced before the XF goes on sale in the spring and it's hard to guess how much it will be. The XF with V8 retails for 44,500 pounds sterling in the UK, while the Supercharged model retails 54,900 pounds; exchange rates put that at $89,614 and $110,557 respectively, but it's unlikely it'll be priced that high in the U.S. The Jaguar S-Type, which the XF replaces, retails for $56,000, while the supercharged S-Type R retails for $65,000.



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