The XF was the first effort by the then new owners of Jaguar, Tata, who purchased the company from Ford when they didn’t have a clue what to do with it. That might go down in the annals of history as the most fortuitous purchase in history, as look what Tata have done with this famous and much-loved, iconic British brand. They rebuilt it into a Stuttgart-threatening monster.
The effect of the original XF was pretty seismic as it was well built and drove beautifully. For me, a tad of an old man’s car, but that has been erased by the rapidly changing range of cars Jaguar now offer.
The new XF is predominantly aluminium and therefore lighter, yet bigger inside. The new Ingenium engine appears in this model for the first time and the difference is obvious. It drives beautifully, is stable and sure-footed, smooth and agile and looks gorgeous. I really like the seating position. Not quite sure what it is about it, but there is the feeling of lying down and calmly pointing it where you want it to go and eating up the miles.
Inside, the roofline and wheelbase have been fiddled with, therefore conveying a sense of space. With 24mm more for the passengers’ knees and 15mm for their shoulders, it now has the rear space that it should always have had, and that sense of space has been realised. The seats are supportive and move wherever you want them, and the 10-inch InControl touch screen offers everything needed, including touch screen navigation, which, l really feel, is the way to go. All this is backed up by a quad-core processor that likely has more computing power than the one used to send Neil Armstrong to the moon.
Outside, the overriding rule is that it should be instantly recognisable as a Jag. Tick. And this is the first Ian Cullum-designed Jag to replace a Callum-designed Jag, after his F-Type replaced the XK -a sad sad loss and a great gain. The body is very slippery in a drive for efficiency; order it in the right colour, with the right wheels (and the big engine), and this is a very handsome car.
The 296bhp engine is a world-class drive, and all six-cylinder XFs get configurable dynamics, which quickens shift times on the eight-speed auto and remaps the throttle response and steering. Sure, it has borrowed some stuff from the XE parts bin, but only the good stuff, it would appear.
It is a very good all-rounder and only back-to-back comparisons will tell if we have a new class leader. What a perfect excuse for me to arrange the XF, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and E-Class Merc together. On paper it has a lead as it is cheaper to insure, predicts a higher residual value and offers two five-year service plans - a 50,000 miler costing £525 and a 75,000 miler for £750.
That, if nothing else, shows that this car is aimed squarely at the business sector; add in around 50mpg in normal driving and you can see that Jaguar might have a case for the title. Throw in the optional four-wheel drive and, finally, Germany has a contender.
A little corker.
Model tested: XF 3.0 V6 S
Power: 271 bhp
Performance: 0-62 - 5.1 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
Economy: 34.0 mpg combined
Base price: £32,300.00
As tested: £59,780.00