2010 Jaguar XF Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
October 3, 2009

The 2010 Jaguar XF betters its class-leading rating at TheCarConnection.com with a sizzling XFR edition.

Editors at TheCarConnection.com drove the 2010 Jaguar XF and XFR to write this hands-on road test. In addition to editor's impressions and opinions, this review compares the 2010 Jaguar XF with other vehicles in its class. The companion full review adds a summary of opinions from other respected automotive sites to bring you the best information from around the Web.

High Gear Media obtained a press vehicle from Jaguar for the purposes of this road test.

New last year, the Jaguar XF lineup marks a clean break from the overtly traditional Jaguar shapes of the past. At the same time Jaguar changed hands itself-from Ford to India's Tata-the very essence of the cars shifted as well. So far, the XF has been a success, and for its sophomore season the XF adds a pair of new V-8 engines, one charged with 510 horsepower. Prices start from $52,000 for the base XF Luxury; perched atop an XF Premium Luxury and a Portfolio edition sits the exotic-performing $80,000 XFR.

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The 2009 XF replaced the stuffy X-Type in the Jaguar lineup, and its svelte shape's an instant classic, with all the catlike cues and curves that should have been in Jaguar's styling notebook for the past decade. There still are mesh grilles and classic proportions, but you almost expect to see the Jaguar XF in an Infiniti showroom with its softly sculptured roofline, faceted hood, and smartly irregular headlamps. From the back, it's as close to an Aston Martin as any sedan comes (apart from Aston's own Rapide). XFR sedans get stronger chins, four tailpipes, and bigger wheels. If possible, the XF's cabin delights drivers even more than the exterior. It seems to have been lifted from the front desk at a chic London hotel. There's aluminum and wood trim, to be sure, as well as a groovy puck-shaped shifter knob that rises to attention when the ignition button's pressed. At the same time, vents roll open to life, and ambient lighting begins to glow. Jaguar considers it the car's "heartbeat," and it's a clever wake-up call to the reinvigorated design all around.

Stealthy, gripping performance is the new XF's calling card. The 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 carried over from the first-year sedan is joined in 2010 by two 5.0-liter V-8s. One brings with it 385 horsepower, the other a supercharger and an astonishing 510 hp. A sole six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters works with all three. The rear-drive XF simply gets better with each step up the performance ladder; you'll never miss a beat with the 300-hp version and its 6.3-second stomp to 60 mph-that is, until you sample the 385-hp, 5.5-second-to-60-mph V-8 or the shatteringly fast XFR, which drops the 60-mph dash in a Viper-like 4.7 seconds. The larger V-8 cars also top out at 155 mph. The drivetrains are deceptively smooth, the shifting invisibly quick, and even fuel economy is a cut above the class at 16/24 mpg, 16/25 mpg, and 15/23 mpg. Light, direct steering and capable brakes add up to a joyful driving experience, and with 20-inch tires and electronic systems like Active Differential Control and Adaptive Dynamics shuffling power between the rear wheels and adjusting suspension and steering firmness, the 5,000-pound Jaguar XF out-nimbles some of the less weighty sedans in its class.

Its luxurious cabin has ample space for front passengers, but sensible-shoes drivers will want to look past the Jaguar XF for a vehicle with more rear-seat room. In front, driver and passenger sit low in leather pockets with good side support and power adjustments that multiply with each pricier model. Behind them, the rear seats may as well be used for luggage; it's slightly larger than the four-door it replaced, but the Jaguar XF's dramatic styling cuts into backseat room with no apologies. It's packaged more like a four-door coupe than a family sedan, but the trunk is large for the class, and the rear seats fold down for access to the trunk. The console and doors have enough small-item storage, even a deep cup holder. The lavish materials inside set a new high-water mark for Jaguar. Leather trim is double-stitched, and LED lighting mixes with choice wood and metallic trim to turn the cabin into a most atmospheric space.

At this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet performed crash tests on the Jaguar XF. Neither has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance industry-funded research group. Six airbags are standard, along with stability control and electronic assistants like a rearview camera. Unlike other sedans in its class, the XF doesn't offer an all-wheel-drive option.

All 2010 Jaguar XF sedans are built with luxury in mind. Standard equipment on the $52,000 Jaguar XF Luxury includes a sunroof; automatic climate control; a keyless entry and ignition system; an electronic parking brake; leather upholstery and walnut trim; heated front seats; Sirius Satellite Radio, a six-CD changer, and a navigation system all controlled via a large LCD touch screen in the dash or by voice commands; and Bluetooth connectivity. The $57,000 Premium Luxury model adds the 5.0-liter V-8, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and ventilated front seats. The Portfolio edition offers the 5.0-liter V-8 with distinct leather and suede upholstery, along with ebony dash trim. The $80,000 XFR fits the supercharged V-8; 20-inch wheels; a heated steering wheel; adaptive cruise control; and a Bowers & Wilkins audio system with HD and Sirius Satellite Radio and integration for audio players. Most of the XFR's audio offerings are options on lesser models, along with 20-inch wheels.

9

2010 Jaguar XF

Styling

The 2010 Jaguar XF lineup presents a handsomely modern shape complemented by a stunning interior that brings Jaguar back to luxury relevance.

Reviewers are universal in their love of the new 2010 Jaguar XF's exterior and interior styling.

Edmunds credits its "crouching stance" and "coupelike roof," which taper into a fastback-style tail, but thinks the nose is "somewhat quirky." Though both Edmunds and Automobile comment on the XF's passing resemblance to the Lexus GS series, Automobile asserts that similarity gives the new Jaguar a little less "drama than you'd expect...nice but not stunning." Without the Jaguar hood ornament, they argue, you wouldn't know which company built the new XF. Kelley Blue Book contends the "unorthodox" look has a "sleek, flowing profile." Edmunds also appreciates the distinct appearance, noting that the Jaguar XF "brings a welcome does of character to a segment dominated by cold, calculated and sometimes dour German entries."

For Jaguar's XF lineup, 2010 marks the introduction of the Jaguar XFR, a high-performance version of the already-sporty Jaguar XF range. Cars.com reports "the XFR is distinguished by aerodynamic treatments" that give the sedan an even more aggressive look, and reviewers at the Los Angeles Times love the "wickedly sculpted hood." Left Lane News points out that the 2010 Jaguar XFR "gains a subtle but unique bodykit and quad tailpipes," as well as a few distinguishing exterior badges. Also new for 2010 is a Portfolio package, which Cars.com calls "an ultra-luxury version" and Edmunds says features 20-inch wheels that "are infinitely more attractive than the Supercharged's bulbous, plastic-looking rims."

From the rear, the high-mounted LED tail lamps looked similar to an Aston Martin, Cars.com says, which is easy to understand once you realize that Jaguar's chief designer is a former Aston employee. Motor Trend sums up the exterior critiques: "Make no styling judgments until you've seen the XF in person...in the metal the XF radiates a modernity and sexiness that simply don't translate to the printed page."

Inside, Automobile declares "the XF's interior really scores," and "the cabin overflows with neat details, such as the gear shifter, covered HVAC vents that rotate to open, a start button that pulses red when you enter the car, and blue lighting around the instruments and dials." The tech mavens at CNET are "most impressed by the dashboard components," like that clever shifter dial that reminds TheCarConnection.com's editors of a high-end audio system. It's the combination of "traditional cues with contemporary touches," in Cars.com's words, that gives this new Jaguar an ambience completely different from the larger XJ sedan-and any Jaguar before it. Cars.com describes the interior as combining "traditional cues with contemporary touches," and Edmunds agrees; they rave that the 2010 Jaguar XF features a "stunning interior that seamlessly blends retro and modern design cues."

TheCarConnection.com's car experts think the 2010 Jaguar XF is without question the most attractive car Jaguar has assembled in decades. There's nothing heavy-handed or retro about the look. Quite the contrary-it is an extraordinarily modern interpretation that traditional luxury benchmarks like Audi should note well.

9

2010 Jaguar XF

Performance

German sports sedans, take notice-the 2010 Jaguar XFR is a serious competitor in the class, and the upgraded engines in the lower trims keep them up-to-date.

Reviewers across the Web are unanimous when it comes to the 2010 Jaguar XF's performance: It's surprisingly strong, they agree. In order to better compete with the high-performance models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz (M and AMG, respectively), Jaguar introduces the supercharged, 510-horsepower Jaguar XFR, which brings this Jaguar lineup into cheetah territory.

Last year's Jaguar XF Supercharged is replaced by a higher-output version with a larger engine, and a number of other powertrain changes have taken place for the Jaguar XF. Chief among these is the new Jaguar XFR, which Cars.com says features a "5-liter supercharged V-8, [with] 510 horsepower [and] 461 pound-feet of torque." Last year's 4.2-liter, 300-horsepower V-8 soldiers on in the base version, while Premium trims of the Jaguar XF get a new 5.0-liter V-8 that puts out 385 horsepower.

Even with the single remaining 4.2-liter engine in the base trim, Edmunds notes the XF will rush to 60 mph "in just 6.2 seconds," while the higher-output variants provide increasingly quicker acceleration times. In the new Jaguar XFR, which rushes from 0 to 60 in just 4.7 seconds, Los Angeles Times reviewers find that stepping on the gas makes it appear like "all other traffic slowed and stopped as [they] went screaming past." The naturally aspirated V-8 in the Premium version pushes the Jaguar XF to 60 in 5.5 seconds, and Left Lane News reviewers "appreciate the mid-level naturally-aspirated V8 more than the XFR" since it "seemed so well matched to the capable and stiff chassis." Last but not least, the Supercharged trim propels this agile cat from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds, just two-tenths of a second behind the XFR.

The automatic transmission on the 2009 Jaguar XF-there is no manual option-is a slick, futuristic piece of styling and operation. Coupled to steering-wheel-mounted paddles, the shift knob is unlike anything in any new vehicle tested by reviewers. At startup, Car and Driver reports, a knob rises on the console, and gears are selected on the rotary dial. "It's a great act, like the deployment of some James Bond just-in-time gizmo." But the shift paddles do most of the work, and with them, Popular Mechanics asserts, "the shift-by-wire 6-speed automatic is smoother-shifting than many sequential gearboxes, but it offers a standard automatic, sport automatic or sequential manual modes." It's "a significant improvement over the old Jaguar J-gate shifter," they say. Motor Trend agrees, calling the new shifter "brilliantly quick." In the Jaguar XFR, with the transmission in sport mode, Los Angeles Times reviewers remark that the gearbox "gets downright feisty, with epic rev-holding at the engine's red line and Ducati-like upshifts."

Even with V-8 power and an automatic gearbox, the 2010 Jaguar XF gets strong fuel economy for its class, at 16/25 mpg for the base engine and 16/23 for the 5.0-liter V-8. The 2010 Jaguar XFR checks in with a 15/21 mpg rating, which isn't outrageous considering its performance capabilities. For comparison, the Lexus GS 460 gets 17/24 mpg, the BMW 550i hits 15/23 mpg, and the Mercedes-Benz E550 checks in at 15/22 mpg.

When it comes to ride and handling, Edmunds reports that the XF's "smooth and hushed demeanor" doesn't cut out its responsiveness; "there's a stronger connection with the mechanical soul of the car than expected," they say. "This is no pompous land yacht," Kelley Blue Book agrees. "The 2009 Jaguar XF drives like a sports car." The upgraded Jaguar XFR boasts improved driving dynamics, though Edmunds laments the "dearth of communication between the tires and your hands." Left Lane News, on the other hand, states that the Jaguar XF lineup features "firm, beautifully weighted steering that's just a bit soft on feel at turn in."

8

2010 Jaguar XF

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Jaguar XF is built with great attention to detail, even if its backseat is a cramped place for adults.

The 2010 Jaguar XF achieves a stunningly high level of craftsmanship, but sensible drivers will want to look for a vehicle with more rear-seat room, road testers from enthusiast and consumer car Web sites report.

Car and Driver says the XF is 2.2 inches longer than the old Jaguar S-Type, the car it replaces. But the slinky new shape cuts into its usefulness, particularly in back. The effect is more sports car than sedan, but it's comfortable for front passengers: "You're belted into a big easy chair, your elbows and trousers cosseted by fine leather," they report. Road & Track thinks the shape is too tall to give the XF "a completely sporting aesthetic," but their focus is on sports cars and Jaguar's heritage.

Motor Trend complains that "its rear compartment is not its strong suit," and refers to the XF's "all-but-unuseable rear buckets." They also assert that it feels more "like a roomy four-door coupe than a true five-passenger sedan." Edmunds notes that "the rear doors are wide for ample access and there are nearly 38 inches of rear headroom and 36.6 inches of rear legroom." However, Edmunds cautions that "the backseat is especially cramped with tall folks up front." And both Road & Track and Car and Driver say the XF's trunk is large for its class; "with folding rear seats, the XF is indeed practical for a luxury sedan," Road & Track comments.

The 2010 Jaguar XF's craftsmanship leaves little to be desired, according to the reviews researched by TheCarConnection.com and our own time spent behind the wheel. Automobile calls the XF's quality "as good as anything in the class," while Motor Trend takes note of its seats' "flawless twin-needle stitching" and says the cockpit has "more hand-rubbed tree than in any Jag in decades." Cars.com raves that "the leather and wood trim feels like it comes from a hand-built chest," while the glitzy Portfolio trim ups the luxury ante with "contrast leather-trim stitching, a suedelike cloth headliner," and other materials upgrades. Popular Mechanics picks out details like "aluminum finishes and Motorola Razr-inspired phosphor blue ambient lighting" as its favorites, while Road & Track says that lighting "transforms the car from fancy restaurant to a swanky blue-neon nightclub."

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2010 Jaguar XF

Safety

With a base price north of $50,000, the 2010 Jaguar XF should come with a healthy dose of safety equipment, and the sporty sedan doesn't disappoint.

The 2010 Jaguar XF has a long list of standard safety equipment, which most reviews around the Web note. Edmunds reports that the gear includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, active front headrests, and side and curtain airbags. "The Supercharged adds a blind spot monitor to the list," they point out. Along with the aforementioned safety gear, Cars.com observes that "traction control and an electronic stability system" come standard on the 2010 Jaguar XF. For those interested in automatic cruise control, Cars.com states that the Jaguar XF features an "adaptive cruise control" system with the ability to "determine if a collision is imminent and alert the driver."

At this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet performed crash tests on the 2010 Jaguar XF. Neither has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance industry-funded research group.

TheCarConnection.com will revisit the XF's safety rating when crash data becomes available.

The sole omission from the 2009 Jaguar XF's safety gear seems to be all-wheel drive. In its class, Edmunds says, the XF faces competitors like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M45, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, most of which offer all-wheel drive, potentially "an advantage for those who have to deal with slippery weather conditions."

10

2010 Jaguar XF

Features

The 2010 Jaguar XF builds upon the successful panoply of electronics on last year's model, including the wonderful touch screen navigation system.

The 2010 Jaguar XF has all the features you'd expect to find in a high-end luxury sedan-and some that you don't find even in the most exclusive ultra-luxury vehicles.

Edmunds details the five different trim levels available, starting with the Luxury edition, which comes with 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather interior, 10-way power front seats, and a premium sound system with an auxiliary audio jack. The Premium Luxury package "adds 19-inch wheels, heated 16-way power front seats, upgraded leather, a navigation system with voice activation, and keyless ignition/entry," while the Supercharged edition gets the 470-hp V-8, 20-inch wheels, "an active suspension (dubbed ‘CATS')," and satellite radio. The 2010 Jaguar XF Portfolio debuts with ultra-deluxe upholstery and unique interior trim pieces, while the Jaguar XFR sports a number of "R" badges throughout the interior.

Optional equipment includes a heated steering wheel and active cruise control.

Automobile says the "long list of electronic driver aids" includes "voice control for audio and telephone, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, a tire-pressure monitor, and an electronic parking brake."

Last year's optional sound system was a 440-watt Bowers & Wilkins system, a "favorite among audiophiles," according to Kelley Blue Book. "The Bowers & Wilkins sound system has precise and crisp sound output at any volume level." For 2010, Jaguar upgrades the premium system even further, and Left Lane News finds that "the optional...audio system cranks out a reasonable 525 watts for 2010, a decent 85 watt bump" over last year's model. Reviewers rave about the sound quality, with Left Lane News observing that it "produces clear sound and tight bass - not ideal for hip-hop, but great for pretty much anything else."

The 2009 Jaguar XF's navigation system also incorporates iPod/iPhone control for music, Motor Trend says. A tap on the touch screen and you're controlling the flow of tunes through a target on the display that Motor Trend says "was inspired by The Who's Quadrophenia album cover." Popular Mechanics likes the navigation touch screen, but points out that "it does require more pressure than other manufacturers' systems, and that can be annoying at times." With so many fancy electronic features, some consumers might be tempted to write off the 2010 Jaguar XF as gimmick-laden, but Los Angeles Times reviewers warn that jumping to such a hasty conclusion would be a mistake: "the more you live with the car the more you appreciate the subtle momentousness of the cabin electronics," which seem like "theater, or, more precisely, stagecraft."

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April 17, 2015
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I have loved the looks of this car since I first saw the spy photos and after having owned it for a few years I still get many compliments. The car is the supercharged 470 HP and the performance is great... + More »
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