Jaguar XF R-Sport 35t a thoroughly talented and charismatic executive express
Jaguar’s XF range has just been refreshed, with the British brand hoping the mid-size luxury sedan will claw away some of the market segment traditionally held by the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Jaguar offers the XF in four trim levels: Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and XF S and four-cylinder diesel, four-cylinder petrol, supercharged petrol V6 and a twin-turbo diesel V6 engines are available, depending on the the specification level chosen.
We sampled a Jaguar XF R-Sport 35t, which is fitted with the supercharged 3 litre petrol V6.
What we like:
- That V6
- Head turning design
Not so much:
- Styling too similar to baby XE
- Engine is gutsy but performance can feel diluted
- Rear head room can be tight for tall passengers
- Not a lot else
The Jaguar XF’s interior styling largely resembles that of its of its Jaguar XE sister – clean and elegant lines, neatly laid out switch gear and an intuitive infotainment system. Choose your XF in R-Sport trim and your car will be fitted with an “R-Sport” branded steering wheel and metal tread plates.
All materials are beautiful to the sight and touch, and the design is very British, elegant and understated and revolving air vents in the dashboard are a subtle throwback to the previous generation XF.
The interior of our test car was swathed in a raunchy combination of black and red leather, which accentuate the car’s sporty intentions. While the basic design of the XE and XF interiors are similar, the key difference – a part from a modestly different dashboard, of course- between the XE and XF is the sense of space.
Front passengers enjoy ample space all round and rear passengers can indulge in legroom that allows them to stretch and luxuriate on long journeys. Rear occupants over six-feet tall may find their heads pressed up against the roof lining if sitting bolt upright.
The seats are comfortable too, offering generous proportions, ample back and under thigh support all round and electric adjustment for front passengers, with memory presets for the driver. The driver can further tailor their driving position – which generally offers excellent visibility – with the aid of an electrically adjustable steering column.
The boot is 505 litres in size.
Under the Bonnet
The Jaguar XF R-Sport 35t is fitted with Jaguar’s 3.0 litre supercharged petrol V6 that produces 250kW @ 6500rpm and 450Nm @ 4500rpm. The engine is an ideal suitor to the XF’s suave and yet athletic persona.
Performance is brisk, with the 0-100 km/h dash dealt with in a rapid 5.4 seconds with the eight-speed automatic swaps gears almost seamlessly, and drivers are able to choose their ratios via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Although the drivetrain is undeniably rapid, it is never ruffled, never coarse and always asserts the XF R-Sport 35t as a dignified luxury sedan with a sporty edge, rather than an out and out European muscle car.
Yet in our opinion, although the engine’s muscularity and refinement unquestionably impress, it is the car’s exhaust note that had us utterly enamoured with the engine. At low revs the V6 emits a soft growl, as the revs climb the growl morphs into a soft bark, bury the accelerator into the thick, plush carpet and watch the tacho needle swing past the 3,500rpm mark and the now snarling engine has a whining supercharger as its back-up vocalist.
Our test car was also equipped with Jaguar’s optional Adaptive Dynamics system ($2400), which allows the driver to dial up additional responsiveness from the engine and transmission when Dynamic Mode is selected.
The result is grin inducing, and the distinctive engine noise gives the XF bundles of personality, which may not only tug at the heart strings of Jaguar purists, but potentially customers who are looking for a more engaging drive.
The official fuel consumption figure on combined cycle is 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres, however we found 10.6 litres to be more realistic, even with the assistance of the stop/start system.
On the Road
Hit a twisty stretch of tarmac and the XF R-Sport handles as well as it sounds. Corners are devoured effortlessly and the big cat maintains utmost composure at all times. The ride is excellent too, with virtually no road imperfections creeping into the cabin, despite the XF R-Sport riding on sports suspension and the optional 19inc “Blade” wheels, that enhance the XF’s visual aggression.
The steering feels perfectly weighted, direct without being twitchy. Our test car was also equipped with Jaguar’s optional Lane Keep Aid and driver drowsiness system ($1060) which we thought felt a little jerky and disjointed and preferred to drive with the system switched off.
Further, the optional automated parking system ($1710) ease the sting of parallel parking.
The Jaguar XF is covered by Jaguar’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Name: Jaguar XF R-Sport 35t
Engine: 3.0 litre supercharged petrol V6, 250kW @ 6500rpm and 450Nm @ 4500rpm
Price: $104,800 plus on road costs
Options: Storm Grey paint ($4,000), sliding panoramic roof ($3200), Adaptive Dynamics ($2400), Advanced Parking Assist ($1710), Reverse Traffic Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring ($1420), Blade alloy wheels ($1300) and Lane Keep Assist with drowsiness detection ($1060).
Country of Origin: England