Factor in a well-engineered body structure, and the XF is exactly what it should be: smooth, quiet and responsive. It feels lighter and more agile than some of its competitors, and it bears up like a sport sedan when driven aggressively. The XF comes with a choice of two V8 engines. The base engine is Jag’s familiar 4.2-liter V8, delivering 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The upgrade is a supercharged version of the 4.2, generating 420 hp and 408 lb-ft and surpassing nearly all competitors in output. Both V8s come with Jaguar’s six-speed ZF automatic transmission, which is one of the best automatics money can buy. The XF will be offered in three trim levels, starting with the normally aspirated Luxury, which is better equipped than most base models in this category. Then there’s the racy new look. The XF 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 are intended to create the impression of a sporty, two-door coupe more than a four-door sedan, and to a considerable extent it works.
The XF 4.2 Luxury ($49,200) is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 delivering 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Luxury is one of the best equipped base models in this class, with features like rear park assist, passive keyless entry and start and a power glass sunroof included in the price. The standard seating is bond-grain leather, with satin-finish walnut and aluminum trim, a 320-watt, eight-speaker stereo and 18-inch alloy wheels. The XF 4.2 Premium Luxury ($55,200) has the same normally aspirated V8 as the standard model, with even more luxury features.
This essential Jaguar character is defined by the XF’s face, and centered on a prominent grille that launches nearly all of the lines flowing rearward across the car. The grille itself is quintessentially British woven mesh, trimmed with chrome and reminiscent of the racing Jaguars that have performed so well in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In profile, the XF is defined by a single, uninterrupted line that flows from the front bumper to the rear edge of the trunk lid.
The excellent aerodynamics help keep the XF stable at high speeds, reduce wind noise inside and reduce fuel consumption at a given speed, compared to a car with more drag.
The 4.2 SC might be the XF for ruffians, but the Luxury and Premium Luxury models aren’t exactly slouches. Their six-speed automatic works just as well in typical driving, even if it doesn’t seem to hold first or second gear as diligently as the SC does when used in manual mode. The normally aspirated V8 delivers power in the same linear fashion, and it’s even smoother, and the acceleration can still be exhilarating. We’d peg 0-60 mph times in the low six-second range, which is more than respectable by just about any standard. The normally aspirated XFs also deliver better mileage: 18 City, 26 Highway, according to the EPA.
Luxury buyers expect extra smooth, quiet operation for the money and the XF holds up its end. It starts with that solid underlying structure, which is the first defense against vibration and harshness inside the car. From there Jaguar adds more measures, including a double bulkhead in the front of the cabin and rubber mounted subframes for the suspension, which minimizes the transfer of road vibration inside.
Vehicle Category Luxury Cars
Model Lineup Jaguar XF 4.2
4.2 Premium Luxury ($55,200);
4.2 SC ($62,200)
Engines (standard) 4.2-liter dohc 32v supercharged V8 with variable valve timing
Engines (optional) 300-hp 4.2-liter V8; 420-hp 4.2-liter V8
Transmissions (standard) 6-speed automatic
Transmissions (optional) 6-speed automatic
Safety Equipment (standard) Dual-stage front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags, curtain-type airbags for all outboard seats, front and rear park assist with graphic display, electronic stability control, antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), tire pressure monitor
Safety Equipment (optional) Reverse view camera, radar-managed blind spot monitor Basic Warranty4 years/50,000 miles
Base Price MSRP49200