The 2010 Jaguar XF is a new model, replacing the old S-Type in Jaguar's lineup. In the past, I have not been a big Jaguar fan, but this mid-sized, rear-wheel-drive sedan offers a nice new alternative to luxury imports such as the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS, and Audi A6. After a week long test drive, the Jaguar XF ranks near the top of my list in the luxury sedan category.
The big news for 2010 is the addition of two new 5.0 liter V8 engines that produce 385 horsepower in the XF Premium ($56,150) I test drove, and the other is a supercharged version producing an incredible 510 horsepower. The 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 is carried over from the 2009 first-year sedan. All three V8s come with Jaguar's six-speed ZF automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which is one of the best automatics in the industry. The rear-wheel drive, 5,000 pound XF, 385-hp 5.5-second-to-60-mph V-8, will outperform many of the lighter sport sedans in its class. With electronic systems like Active Differential Control and Adaptive Dynamics shuffling power between the rear wheels and adjusting suspension and steering firmness, the XF is one fun car to drive. The drivetrain is smooth and the six-speed automatic is lightning quick. Even the fuel economy with an EPA estimated 16/23 city/highway, is better than any current V8-powered car in the class, and better than some six-cylinders. The 4 wheel disc brakes and the responsive steering add up to a very impressive driving experience. It feels lighter and more agile than some of its competitors, and it performs like a sport sedan when driven aggressively.
The exterior of the XF brings a racy new look and marks a new direction for Jaguar, but it also continues some of the styling themes that have identified Jaguars for decades. The roofline and the shape of the side glass give the impression of a sporty, two-door coupe. If you're intrigued by the photographs, you'll like it better when you see it. I had many people turn and stare at the XF as I drove it this week. The swoopy styling does have its drawbacks. Even though the XF is larger than its competitors in most every dimension, the lower roofline and the rake of the rear glass mean rear headroom is tight. On the upside, the XF's trunk is larger than any competitor's, and a folding rear seat gives more storage capacity.
What starts on the outside continues right on into the inside as well. I like the interior design of the XF, for both its look and overall function. The wood, wool and leather create the feel of an expensive clubroom. The cabin of the Jaguar XF delivers everything you'd expect in a contemporary luxury sedan, and then some. The XF Premium adds many features, including double-stitched, soft-grain leather on the dash and door panels. The $57,000 Premium adds blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and ventilated front seats. The XF cabin is high-tech also. The overhead lights, for example, work simply with a touch. Not a switch or even a click of the light lens itself, but just a soft touch. The same with the glovebox latch, which isn't really a latch at all. It's a spot on the wood trim where you lay a finger. In general, the XF's features and controls are easy to use and understandable. That's in contrast to so many luxury cars that seem to give you more gadgets than you need and then make them hard to operate.
The 2010 Jaguar XF should be a big hit with luxury car buyers. It has new appealing looks, its smooth and comfortable, with the features buyers expect in this class. Perhaps best of all, it accelerates quicker and handles as well or better than some of the best cars in its class. The XF's interior is luxurious, and less confusing or annoying than some of its competitors. The 2010 XF offers some powerful V8 engines, and they get excellent mileage for cars with this performance. The new Jaguar XF measures up in just about every respect, and its over-the-road performance is excellent. In my estimation, the XF is one of the most appealing cars in its class.