New-look Jaguar XF saloon and Sportbrake arrives with lower entry price | CAR Magazine

New-look Jaguar XF saloon and Sportbrake arrives with lower entry price

Published: 06 October 2020 Updated: 06 October 2020

► Facelift and tech upgrade for XF
► Mild hybrid kit for new engine range
► Same changes but lower price for Sportbrake

Jaguar’s XF goes into 2021 with a freshened-up body, a significantly upgraded interior, a tentative step into electrification and a big reduction in the entry price for the range.

The British rival for the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-Class gets a drastically pruned line-up, aimed at making the purchase process more transparent. The customer’s choices have been streamlined from 64 to 28 derivatives, with three engines, one transmission and five spec levels.

Prices for the saloon now start at £32,585, down 18% from £34,995. (The E-Class saloon starts at £39,055 and the 5-series saloon £38,600.)

Scott Dicken, JLR’s UK sales director, says: ‘We’ve really thrown ourselves in with the big boys. Taking BMW and Mercedes on in this segment of the marketplace is a big challenge.

‘We’ve looked at what customers buy, at the specifications which are most popular. These are also the specifications which are optimised from a residual value point of view, and these are the derivatives that we’re offering to our customers.

What’s under the hood?

The entry-level model has a new 2.0-litre mild-hybrid diesel, replacing the conventional turbodiesel. At 202bhp it’s 24bhp more powerful, with claimed lower emissions and fuel consumption. A starter-generator, connected to the engine by belt, captures energy from coasting and braking and stores it as electricity in a new 48-volt lithium-ion battery under the boot and rear seats. That energy is deployed as torque when needed to help acceleration and the stop-start function, thus reducing the load on the diesel engine.

XF front tracking

It’s available with rear- or all-wheel drive. The other engines, both 2.0-litre petrol fours, are a rear-wheel-drive version making 247bhp and an all-wheel drive 296bhp version.

What else has changed?

The revised exterior design features new LED headlights, a new grille, and new bumpers front and rear.

Inside, more has changed. The new-look cabin has new seats and improved connectivity, built around an 11.4in HD curved-glass touchscreen. It’s the first car in the class with Active Road Noise Cancellation (as also found on the 2021 F-Pace), aimed at improving refinement and reducing fatigue. The system constantly monitors road noise and sends out a signal to counteract it.

XF interior

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and a head-up display optional. There’s improved air filtration and ionisation

There’s still an estate, right?

The same design and tech changes apply to the Sportbrake, but the start price doesn’t enjoy such a dramatic pruning. It’s now £35,990 (vs the previous entry price of £37,415). The E-Class estate costs from £41,055; the 5-series estate £41,155.

XF sportbrake rear

Why no plug-in hybrid for the XF? Dicken says: ‘E-Pace and F-Pace are demonstrating where the growth is. Our priority in investment has been to electrify our SUVs. We sell more of those products, and that’s the area of the marketplace which is growing, which is where we’ve prioritised our initial investment. The primary driver of electrification is the fleet market.’

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By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions