CAR Online reader Andrew Edwards won a place on the international launch of the Jaguar XF in our exclusive competition last autumn. See what he made of the new executive cat in his first drive report filed from the Monaco launch.
Andrew is a 33-year-old engineer from County Durham whose daily drive is a Ford Focus. But he’s a regular CAR reader and his dream car is a Ferrari 250 GT California. Should be a good judge of this crunch new Jaguar, then.
Do you agree with his verdict? Rate his story below and be sure to give him any hints and tips by clicking ‘Add your comment’.
Read CAR Online’s Jaguar XF drive here. And here is Andrew’s test verdict…
Say hello to the Jaguar XF. The most important car in Jaguar’s history and one the car maker hopes will break the default triumvirate of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Not only that, right now Ford is flogging Jag in an all-hands-on-deck attempt to fix its financial woes. Pressure? What pressure?
Shouldn’t it look, well, more like a Jaguar?
There’s nothing retro in the XF’s design Ian Callum and his team have created, but it does echo Jags of old in elements of its design: the inset grille; the bonnet fluting; proportion and stance; all are found on other members of the breed.
Compared to the sharper, lower and lither CX-F concept, you may feel slightly short-changed, especially with the front end. From the rear though, the XF is achingly, gut-wrenchingly gorgeous and in silver, at sunrise in Monaco, had me reaching to cover my lap.
The style is carried over to the interior too. A lowered (stitched leather) dash, raised console, blue halo lighting for switchgear and the pure theatre of the rotating vents and rising gear selector on start-up make it distinct and special. It’s a very tactile affair, touchy-feely in all the right places and in its Jaguarsense proximity switches, not touchy-feely at all. Simply pass a finger in front of the glovebox or interior light and they open or flick on. Fresh. Uncluttered. Nice.
Click ‘Next’ to continue reading Andrew’s road testThat’s all very well, but does the XF drive like a Jaguar?
Driving the 2.7 V6 diesel and SV8 petrol – the extremes of the range – the shared DNA is evident in the way they ride and handle. Severe, north-face-of-the-Eiger speed humps were tackled like only Jags can, albeit felt more in the SV8 on its firmer suspension.
Yet the SV8 is never uncomfortable and on roads around Nice and Monaco the XF was never short of confidence when pushed, the supercharged 416bhp V8 serving up exactly what you’d expect: big smiles all round.
The V6 diesel is softer and noticeably less powerful than the SV8, and in my view the better car for it, having all the poise needed for real-world driving at a fraction of the price. It was never unsettled, feeling secure and fluid from hairpin to hairpin, and later on French autoroutes it calmly and serenely dispatched the miles back to Monaco like a Jaguar should.
Crunch time. Should I get a Jaguar XF?
Jaguars define glamour and emotion. Period. The drive through Monaco en route to the hotel before climbing out to admire six or seven XFs behind us in convoy was a true moment of clarity: short of a Rolls or Bentley there is nothing in the mainstream to beat this car for glamour and emotion. For all of their collective worth, it is a trick the Germans can’t match.
Really, there are two questions you need to ask yourself:
1) How much risk you want to take at the 19th hole
2) Do you follow the herd?
The XF is an extremely good car and, in diesel form, utterly brilliant in execution. Boxes are ticked and bases covered. It has flair, ingenuity and above all, striking good looks. That it happens to be from an iconic, (albeit foreign owned) British manufacturer just adds to the gloss. This car was designed to take Jaguar back to the top. It deserves to do so.