Editors at TheCarConnection.com drove the 2010 Jaguar XF and XFR to write this hands-on road test. In addition to editor's impressions and opinions, this review compares the 2010 Jaguar XF with other vehicles in its class. The companion full review adds a summary of opinions from other respected automotive sites to bring you the best information from around the Web.
High Gear Media obtained a press vehicle from Jaguar for the purposes of this road test.
New last year, the Jaguar XF lineup marks a clean break from the overtly traditional Jaguar shapes of the past. At the same time Jaguar changed hands itself-from Ford to India's Tata-the very essence of the cars shifted as well. So far, the XF has been a success, and for its sophomore season the XF adds a pair of new V-8 engines, one charged with 510 horsepower. Prices start from $52,000 for the base XF Luxury; perched atop an XF Premium Luxury and a Portfolio edition sits the exotic-performing $80,000 XFR.
The 2009 XF replaced the stuffy X-Type in the Jaguar lineup, and its svelte shape's an instant classic, with all the catlike cues and curves that should have been in Jaguar's styling notebook for the past decade. There still are mesh grilles and classic proportions, but you almost expect to see the Jaguar XF in an Infiniti showroom with its softly sculptured roofline, faceted hood, and smartly irregular headlamps. From the back, it's as close to an Aston Martin as any sedan comes (apart from Aston's own Rapide). XFR sedans get stronger chins, four tailpipes, and bigger wheels. If possible, the XF's cabin delights drivers even more than the exterior. It seems to have been lifted from the front desk at a chic London hotel. There's aluminum and wood trim, to be sure, as well as a groovy puck-shaped shifter knob that rises to attention when the ignition button's pressed. At the same time, vents roll open to life, and ambient lighting begins to glow. Jaguar considers it the car's "heartbeat," and it's a clever wake-up call to the reinvigorated design all around.
Stealthy, gripping performance is the new XF's calling card. The 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 carried over from the first-year sedan is joined in 2010 by two 5.0-liter V-8s. One brings with it 385 horsepower, the other a supercharger and an astonishing 510 hp. A sole six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters works with all three. The rear-drive XF simply gets better with each step up the performance ladder; you'll never miss a beat with the 300-hp version and its 6.3-second stomp to 60 mph-that is, until you sample the 385-hp, 5.5-second-to-60-mph V-8 or the shatteringly fast XFR, which drops the 60-mph dash in a Viper-like 4.7 seconds. The larger V-8 cars also top out at 155 mph. The drivetrains are deceptively smooth, the shifting invisibly quick, and even fuel economy is a cut above the class at 16/24 mpg, 16/25 mpg, and 15/23 mpg. Light, direct steering and capable brakes add up to a joyful driving experience, and with 20-inch tires and electronic systems like Active Differential Control and Adaptive Dynamics shuffling power between the rear wheels and adjusting suspension and steering firmness, the 5,000-pound Jaguar XF out-nimbles some of the less weighty sedans in its class.
Its luxurious cabin has ample space for front passengers, but sensible-shoes drivers will want to look past the Jaguar XF for a vehicle with more rear-seat room. In front, driver and passenger sit low in leather pockets with good side support and power adjustments that multiply with each pricier model. Behind them, the rear seats may as well be used for luggage; it's slightly larger than the four-door it replaced, but the Jaguar XF's dramatic styling cuts into backseat room with no apologies. It's packaged more like a four-door coupe than a family sedan, but the trunk is large for the class, and the rear seats fold down for access to the trunk. The console and doors have enough small-item storage, even a deep cup holder. The lavish materials inside set a new high-water mark for Jaguar. Leather trim is double-stitched, and LED lighting mixes with choice wood and metallic trim to turn the cabin into a most atmospheric space.
At this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet performed crash tests on the Jaguar XF. Neither has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance industry-funded research group. Six airbags are standard, along with stability control and electronic assistants like a rearview camera. Unlike other sedans in its class, the XF doesn't offer an all-wheel-drive option.
All 2010 Jaguar XF sedans are built with luxury in mind. Standard equipment on the $52,000 Jaguar XF Luxury includes a sunroof; automatic climate control; a keyless entry and ignition system; an electronic parking brake; leather upholstery and walnut trim; heated front seats; Sirius Satellite Radio, a six-CD changer, and a navigation system all controlled via a large LCD touch screen in the dash or by voice commands; and Bluetooth connectivity. The $57,000 Premium Luxury model adds the 5.0-liter V-8, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and ventilated front seats. The Portfolio edition offers the 5.0-liter V-8 with distinct leather and suede upholstery, along with ebony dash trim. The $80,000 XFR fits the supercharged V-8; 20-inch wheels; a heated steering wheel; adaptive cruise control; and a Bowers & Wilkins audio system with HD and Sirius Satellite Radio and integration for audio players. Most of the XFR's audio offerings are options on lesser models, along with 20-inch wheels.
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Jaguar XF betters its class-leading rating at TheCarConnection.com with a sizzling XFR edition.