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2016 Jaguar XF: First Drive Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Jason Fogelson October 2015

Every automaker tries to capture, convey and convert buyers with emotion. The 2016 Jaguar XF represents another step in the emotional direction for the venerable British company. The XF is all-new for 2016, taking over from the first-generation large performance luxury sedan, which ran from 2008 to 2015. More than 75 percent of the parts on the vehicle are new to XF, including body, chassis, suspension, engine, transmission and interior components.

Exterior Evokes Emotion

Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum and his team transformed XF from an attractive sedan to a powerful, dynamic vehicle.

Up front, a more upright open-mouthed grille boasts a proud Jaguar medallion. Big intakes in the lower fascia look ready to gobble up air, and sleek full-LED headlight arrays are ready to slice into the night. A prominent power bulge on the hood looks like it can barely contain the horsepower beneath. The 18-inch wheels (19-in and 20-in also available) are pushed out to the corners of the vehicle, giving it a great stance with a short overhang front and rear. The base of the windshield has been pulled back from the front axle, enhancing the long hood line. The roofline slopes back, emulating coupe styling with a blacked-out B-pillar and daylight opening defining the greenhouse. Strong body lines give the impression of motion. Around back, LED taillights display signature shapes that identify the XF as part of the Jaguar lineup.

The XF is a gorgeous automobile, with a beautiful level of fit and finish. It's the kind of car that will call you out to your garage to admire it, even when you're not going for a drive. That's emotion.

Feelings in the Interior

As good as the XF looks from the outside, slipping into the driver's seat evokes another level of feeling, and that's luxury. Supremely comfortable seats with visible stitching on the leather edges offer support and power adjustment. As befits a performance car, the seating position is low and precisely aligned with the controls. Press the start/stop button on the center stack, and the XF comes to life. A splash screen appears on the touchscreen monitor (8-in standard, 10.2-in or 12.3-in optional), the instrument panel illuminates, the gear selector knob rises from the center console and the air vents rotate up into position. It's a little showy, but fun and organic-feeling.

The dashboard is surrounded by a rim that wraps around the interior, creating a cockpit-like feel. All around, high quality material and surfaces abound. Metallic finishes with tactile textures dress panels, and leather is used liberally to wrap protrusions.

Technology abounds in the cabin. Ten-color ambient interior lighting allows for a customized feel. Jaguar InControl Touch Pro infotainment is available, replacing physical buttons with capacitive touch controls at the bottom of the touchscreen. The screen is configurable like a smartphone, with downloadable apps and other features available. An optional head-up display is also an option.

Thanks to a longer wheelbase, rear-seat passengers benefit from ample legroom, and the coupe-like profile doesn't impinge on headroom, even for tall adults. The second row can fold flat in a 60/40 split, allowing for longer cargo to overflow the 19-cu ft. trunk into the cabin.

Emotions Connect to the Road

The meaningful emotional connection of the XF takes full form when the new engine roars to life and the car rockets down the road. An all-new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with direct injection is provided in two different states of tune -- 340 hp/332 lb-ft of torque for the XF 35t models, and 380 hp/339 lb-ft of torque for the XF S models. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels, or to all four wheels with a rear-wheel bias on all-wheel drive models. Jaguar claims the 35t models boast romps of 0-60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds, and 5.1 seconds for the S. The feeling of a big sedan rushing to speed is exhilarating.

XF's suspension was reworked, too, with a double-wishbone front and integral link rear setup incorporating a sophisticated passive damping system that adjusts on the fly. Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics System is available. The system monitors body and wheel, adjusting damping in response for a smooth, controlled ride. Combined with very well-tuned electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, the XF carves the road like a much smaller, lighter car. Some time on the race track revealed a very agile, controlled and fast car that loves to run.

Emotional Choice

Jaguar has made a concerted effort to price the new XF in the heart of its competition. XF 35t Premium starts at $51,900; Prestige starts at $56,440; R-Sport starts at $60,550; and XF S starts at $62,700. Add $3,000 to any model for all-wheel drive.

The competition is stiff. If you're considering an XF, you owe it to yourself to drive the BMW 5-series, the Audi A6, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Cadillac CTS and other sedans. You might find your emotional match among those excellent vehicles.

If you bring a 2016 Jaguar XF into your life, be prepared for a love affair that will have you searching for fast roads and pulling off at scenic viewpoints to admire the sights -- and to admire your gorgeous car.

To gain access to this information, Autotrader attended an event sponsored by the vehicle's manufacturer.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Jaguar XF: First Drive Review - Autotrader