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Motoring: 2016 Jaguar XF, not for city drivers

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

As long as you drive more on highways than you do in the city, the 2016 Jaguar XF is perfect for you.


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 21st, 2016



The first XF model came on the scene back in 2007 and was the start of a new era at Jaguar. No longer would its family cars be given the classic look; the XF offered sleek, modern styling that was quite unconventional for this British manufacturer.

The interior received a similar modern treatment, with features like rotating air vents, an automatic pop-up gear selector and a pulsating ‘Engine Start’ switch; this was a step into the future for Jaguar.

The move was quite successful, as the XF sold around the world, easily eclipsing the sales numbers of the S-Type, the model it replaced.

Well, it’s been quite a while since the XF first entered the market, so now it’s time for an update; only this one is not as easy to spot.

From a distance, the 2016 Jaguar XF looks fairly identical to the outgoing model. Walk up a bit closer and you’ll notice the difference in its details; for example, new lights, grille and bumpers. The new XF is a quarter-inch shorter than the outgoing model.

However, the wheelbase is 51 millimetres longer than before, and not only does that create more interior room, it also gives it the visual impression of being longer.

A huge change is found under the skin. Whereas the old XF was largely made out of steel, the new XF is largely made out of aluminum. The end result is that the 2016 XF is roughly 200 pounds lighter than the model it replaces, and the lower weight results in better handling and slightly better fuel economy.

I recently spent a week with the 2016 XF, in “S” trim, which means that under the hood is a 3.0 litre, supercharged V6 motor that produces 380 horsepower and 332 pounds per foot of torque. This is the most potent version of the XF currently; there are no supercharged V8 missiles currently offered, although eventually there will be a diesel model. The base models currently also offer a 3.0 litre, supercharged V6, but tuned to just 340 horsepower.

New for the Canadian market, all XF models come only with allwheel drive. All new XF models also only get one gearbox, a ZF eight-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted pedal shifters. This is perhaps the sharpest, quickest, smoothest automatic gearbox in the business and it helps make this swift sedan even quicker. The popular zero to 100 kilometres per hour sprint is taken care of in just 5.3 seconds, and the top speed is electronically limited to 250 kilometres per hour.

Speed is one thing, how the car feels underneath you in another. This is an area in which Jaguars are typically good, and this new XF is no exception. The ride not only soaks up the bumps well, but its composure at high speeds inspires confidence.

But it’s not perfect. While the ride is good at highway speeds, at slow speeds this new XF feels much stiffer than before, and therefore, it doesn’t glide nicely over cracks and potholes.

The stiffness also highlighted something that rattled; either this tester wasn’t built as it should or these new models are just not as relaxing as a Jaguar should be.

In short, if you do most of your driving in the city, you’re probably better off looking at a different car.

The 2016 XF also features engine start and stop, to help you save a bit of fuel. These systems are generally not good in daily use, and the one in the Jaguar is really not good at all. As for any fuel savings there really aren’t any as I averaged 12.0 litres per 100 kilometres in my test week, which makes it among the thirstiest mid-size luxury sedans on sale today.

On the highway, the fuel economy improves a bit, sipping premium fuel at an average closer to 10.0 litres per 100 kilometres, but on the highway this car performs so well, you don’t really care about economy.

When you’ve settled in your journey, you’ll notice that the interior of this new XF is a nice place to be in. There is plenty of space front and back and the layout has also been improved. The item that needed most attention was the infotainment system, which has been somewhat improved over older Jag models. It is still a touch screen and it is now clearer than it used to be, but it is no match for the infotainment systems found in Audis and BMWs. The Meridian sound system is perfect though, one of the clearest sound systems I’ve ever tested.

In summary, the 2016 Jaguar XF is a nice car, just not a home run in my view. It still needs some more refinement to make it better and some V8 grunt to make it more entertaining. It is priced well in its segment though, with the base sticker set at $61,400; while the current top trim “S” model is yours from $72,900.
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