By on October 22, 2009

Rowr!

If there’s a counterpoint in this test to the GS350′s robotic rationality, it’s the Jaguar XF. If the Lexus makes perfect sense to the kind of people who see car buying as an equation to be solved, the XFR is the only choice for right-brained aesthetes. It screams sex appeal like nothing has since Sofia Loren could steal your virginity with once glance from the silver screen. And yet, as with most beautiful things, a hard look past the exterior reveals things you might wish you didn’t know. Love at first sight can be a blessing and a curse.

Take a moment to savor the XF’s looks – sleek, elegant, and beautifully tailored. The XF is the best-looking Jaguar since the old XKE, possibly because it’s the first time Jaguar has attempted an all-new look since the E Type came out. The XF also breaks a more recent Jaguar tradition – instead of all-aluminum construction, it utilizes a conventional steel structure and sheetmetal. This adds some mass, but it also undoubtedly keeps the price down. The XF starts at a reasonable $52,800, and unlike BMW, most of the goodies you expect in a car like this are standard. jaguar_xf_interior

The XF’s interior also breaks with Jaguar’s past. The usual wonderful-smelling leather and wood trim are there, gracefully echoing the original XJ, but the interior design has been updated to match the XF’s sharp new suit. The result is a sweeping, elegant dashboard swathed in wood and genuine aluminum that looks smashing, and works commendably well. At least until you hit the ignition switch. When that happens, a round aluminum knob about the size of a hockey puck pops out of the center console; this is the shifter, and you twirl it back and forth to change gears. When the XF is turned off, the knob disappears into the console. This arrangement is easy to use, but feels like an unnecessary gimmick, as do the ignition-keyed vents, and the sensor-driven latch for the glovebox, which you wave your finger over to operate.

Call me cynical, but is Jaguar far enough removed from its days as a synonym for unreliability to get away with gimmickry like this?

Other ergonomic details are fine, including the standard touch screen control system, which proves you don’t need a million buttons or MMIDrive-style silliness to use the navigation system or change a radio station.

The wide, comfortable driver’s throne offers decent ergonomics, simple and stylish instrumentation, and a fat, grippy steering wheel with paddle shifters. From the captain’s position, the illusion that love at first sight might last forever is well-perpetuated. As a passenger hauler however, the XF comes up short compared with some of its competitors. The coupe-like profile limits rear headroom, and while the rear seating is comfortable, space is at a premium.

jaguar_xf_official2The XF’s base engine is a carryover from Jaguar’s days as a Ford subsidiary, the 4.2 liter V-8 originally found in the old Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-type. While adequately powerful – 300 hp is underfoot – and blessed with a wonderful engine note, the 4.2 suffers from a very narrow power band and a too-low redline of 6000 rpm. This, combined with the XF’s stout curb weight, gives the car’s power delivery a most inelegant “on-off” feel – probably the only true sour note in the XF’s driving experience. For a few more bucks, Jaguar offers a new 5.0 liter V-8 with 385 horsepower, and for a lot more bucks, it also offers the far more potent XF Supercharged and XFR models, with 470 and 510 horsepower, respectively. But the base powerplant is certainly adequate, particularly at this price. And as long as you’re in love, adequate is, well, adequate.

In contrast, it’s hard to have any major reservations about the steering and chassis dynamics. Though definitely tuned for a silky ride, the XF’s steering and chassis setup make it feel eager and quick on its feet, especially compared to the numb joylessness of the Lexus. The current BMW and Audis are machines of pure sport, always seeking that edge which urges you to drive faster, and rewards you when you do. The Jaguar philosophy has more to do with poetry in motion. The XF allows you to drive almost -but not quite- as fast as the BMW, but that misses the point. There’s an elegance to the XF’s dynamics that the two pure athletes fail to capture. While the Germans were playing gym-rat at the Nurburgring, the XF was prowling the winding roads around Monaco: the XF doesn’t lack capability, it’s merely too refined to demand a flogging to the last tenth. In an age of speed cameras and expensive speeding tickets, this may be a surprisingly rational reason to choose the Jag.

Of course, there’s the price as well. The XF’s  $52,800 base price includes equipment you’ll pay a lot extra for on any of its German competitors – leather seats, navigation, a keyless “comfort access” system, and many other features. The test vehicle stickered out at $53,900, with the only option being an upgraded sound system – very reasonable for this class. Should you worry about cost of ownership? Probably, but it won’t make much of a difference if you’re already head-over-heels in love.

Beautiful, athletic, easy to live with and graceful – not to mention a fairly cheap date – the XF is quite the seductress, as long as all-out performance capability isn’t your bag. Still, as Jaguar’s ads once claimed, “gorgeous gets away with it,” and this XF bats its eyelashes into third place.

Performance: 3/5

XF’s powertrain is amply powerful and sounds sweet, and paddle shifters are a great addition, but the V-8’s power band is narrow.

Ride: 5/5

The XF has a posh, elegant way of dealing with any road surface

Handling: 4/5

Definitely tuned for comfort, but Jaguar baked in quick reflexes and commendable amounts of feedback.

Exterior: 5/5

Sleek, sexy and elegant

Interior: 3/5

Beautifully styled and made, and user-friendly as well; needless gimmickry and poor rear-seat room cost points

Fit and Finish: 4/5

Looks and feels more handmade than any other car in this test, but exterior finish is not up to the German standard

Toys: 4/5

Great feature quotient for the money, but some of the really good stuff, like ventilated seats, require expensive package upgrades.

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70 Comments on “Import Sport Sedan Comparison: Third Place: Jaguar XF...”


  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Nice car overall but I can’t quite help but feeling that this line has lost some of it’s Jaguar DNA and soul.

  • avatar

    I was underwhelmed by the driving experience of the 2009 XF. Too much understeer, not enough sport. But I’ve read that the 2010s with the 5.0 handle better.

    On the reliability front, TrueDelta had reliability stats for the XF far ahead of any other source. And, initially, those stats were off the chart awful.

    They’ve improved since then to simply worse than average, just a bit over 100 repair trips per 100 cars per year.

    No stats for the 2010 yet–I’m getting the sense that sales are way down despite the new engines.

    For reliability stats, and to read more about our research:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    Lemmy-powered

    Nice legs — shame about the face.

    At best, the front end almost looks as good as the previous generation Subaru Legacy. At worst, as has been said, it’s got Chevy Monte Carlo eyes.

  • avatar
    salhany

    Of course, there’s the price as well. The XF’s $52,800 base price includes equipment you’ll pay a lot extra for on any of its German competitors – leather seats, navigation, a keyless “comfort access” system, and many other features.

    Am I reading this right? On a $50K BMW or Audi, leather seats are optional? That’s insane, and somewhat insulting.

    I really, really like the XF. Love the looks, love the newly modern and classy interior, love the suppleness of the ride. When I see them on the highway I am always impressed with their presentation.

    I do wish Jaguar had avoided some of the electronic gimmickry in the car, though; was the twist-transmission knob really necessary? If that thing breaks it’s off to tow truck-waiting hell. I would have had a modern auto-shifter there (NOT the old J-Gate).

  • avatar
    KixStart

    In profile, and especially around the midsection (vent aside), that car looks rather like a Lexus.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    Nice car overall but I can’t quite help but feeling that this line has lost some of it’s Jaguar DNA and soul.

    Trouble is, the Jaguar DNA was becoming as inbred as a European royal family.

  • avatar

    it’s the first time Jaguar has attempted an all-new look since the E Type came out.

    CoughXJScough!

    is Jaguar far enough removed from its days as a synonym for unreliability to get away with gimmickry like this?

    GM is getting this lesson now. Pre-British Leyland (1968) Jaguar was legendary for reliability. The absorption into BL began a long slide into oblivion through indifference and cost-cutting. Their reputation was destroyed far faster than it will ever take the market to forget and forgive. Ford basically fixed that, at HUGE cost, but that reputation will dog Jaguar forever, as proven by your question.

    As to the specifics of your question the entire realm of cars today has gotten FAR too gimmicky for its own good.

    In an age of speed cameras and expensive speeding tickets, this may be a surprisingly rational reason to choose the Jag.

    Two weeks ago I got a Speeding Ticket… in Montana. Montana! This is obviously a sign that the end of times is nigh. Next Redflex will be setting up speed cameras on the Autobahn!

    Sigh…

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    “Nice car overall but I can’t quite help but feeling that this line has lost some of it’s Jaguar DNA and soul.”

    I’ve seen so many older Jaguars broken down in the rain along the Gardiner Expressway, that losing that “DNA and soul” would be a positive selling point.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    the Ford bean counter’s last hurrah–the exterior de-contenting between the C-XF concept and the XF production.

    sigh.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    agree with this review… way too much gimmicks… what the hell is wrong with a wiggle gate or even straight PRNDL type auto

    also besides the XFR the gun choice is the diesel which isn’t available in the US i believe?

    270hp but a massive 460lb/ft torque… plenty to shift the 4,200lbs or whatever it is

    i love the styling but it has bits and pieces of mazda 6 and japanese in there i just can’t shake

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I find the XF boring and plain looking and will be pedestrian-looking by the time your lease is up. Look at the new Sonata, Regal. These cheapo mass-market cars which will be everywhere have more interesting style cues than the Jag! All swoops and stuff, but the Jag’s really slab-sided and shapeless aside (a very Lexus-like attribute: IS, GS, ES) from the Astin Martiny tail. On the other hand, the GS is muscular and looks like it’s about to leap! Never driven it, but the engine choices look very, very nice.

    Isn’t the platform based on the old S? Which is from the 90s?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “On the reliability front, TrueDelta had reliability stats for the XF far ahead of any other source. And, initially, those stats were off the chart awful.

    They’ve improved since then to simply worse than average, just a bit over 100 repair trips per 100 cars per year.”-Michael Karesh

    First, let me say that, like in the Lexus review yesterday, I agree with this review’s ratings and overall place (third) from the view point of the auto enthusiast. A prudent buyer that wants reliable transport would probably put the Lexus ahead of the Tata-Jag!

    Second, interesting (and dismal) reliab stats above. Those who derisively talk about the reliability of “German” cars without any distinction (maker, class) probably need to be told that, with the possible exception of Audi, the Jag. with all the alleged Ford or not Ford improvements, is still a dog, Reliab-wise.

    I am curious if the Alpha and other data concur with my impression re german cars that

    1. VWs (and to some extent Audis) are far less reliable than Mercs and BMWs

    2. There are differences between classes (the old 190 was far worse than the E and esp. the old S class, the 7 is more reliable than the 5 and 3 and especially the M’s, the regular 7 more reliable than the sports version, etc)

  • avatar
    iNeon

    So, let me get this correct– You don’t use the key in the ignition switch or glove compartment, but you do use it to turn on the panel vents?

    What world is this we’re living in? I want to go home.

  • avatar
    Joshua Johnson

    GM is getting this lesson now. Pre-British Leyland (1968) Jaguar was legendary for reliability. The absorption into BL began a long slide into oblivion through indifference and cost-cutting. Their reputation was destroyed far faster than it will ever take the market to forget and forgive. Ford basically fixed that, at HUGE cost, but that reputation will dog Jaguar forever, as proven by your question.

    Thank you Chuck for pointing out the dangers of being a ward of the state. Whenever people question my purchase of a Jaguar, I am sure to educate them on the dangers of government ownership versus private ownership; bean counters are bad, but government bean counters are worse. Add in meeting all union demands, and you have a recipe for a negative long-term outlook.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    I’ve driven the 2010 5.0 version and this engine was immensely satisfying. Well, it was just plain satisfying until I found the sport button. It felt a bit constipated when giving it the berries, so I poked at the buttons until I hit the right one for sport mode. Then the acceleration became rich and free, instantly thrusting into serious illegality on the nighttime boulevard. I decided right there that I had no need for the ‘R’ version.

    I got a lease quote, found it to be on the high side, and realized that Jag is suffering from lower residuals than the competition. Certainly wasn’t a ‘deal’, but then either are BMW’s these days. I’m thinking about just writing a check for the whole car. But as the author of this article said “Should you worry about cost of ownership?”, I thought that I’d rather lease and not worry about the maintenance and residual value in 5 years. Obviously the leasing company is worried too. I think the lease deal eats up much of difference in price between this car and a BMW. Perhaps I can bargain it down more.

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    I’ve shopped at all of the marques under consideration in this comparison (save Infiniti), and generally ask the finance guy what percentage of his new car business is in leases. The smallest number I’ve heard is 70% (there’s no Porsche here but our local dealer estimated 90%).
    So all of the discussion re resale, reliability etc. is largely irrelevant to the majority of people actually driving these cars out of dealerships. And yes, resale values are theoretically relevant to residual values on a lease, but a second reality is that virtually all of these cars have “special” lease deals available at virtually all times with fantasy-land
    residuals. And that remains the case today even after the massive writedowns taken on leases over the last year by auto lessors.
    A quick glance at Jaguar’s website confirms that the real price shoppers for this car will consider is not the $54K quoted in the review, but $599/month for 36 mos. Or $699 for an upgrade to the 5.0 V8.
    Since subvented leases are what realworld drivers of these new cars will mainly consider, I suggest you include them in your reviews.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Joshua Johnson
    Comment:
    GM is getting this lesson now. Pre-British Leyland (1968) Jaguar was legendary for reliability.

    Are you sure it was not legendary for UNreliability? BEcause I have seen videos with the entire history of jag, and they were always able to offer, back then, high-performance, very fast for their time, cars, at prices much lower than that of their competition, and the way they were able to do it is by offering poor quality and reliability, poorly put together vehicles. There is no free lunch, you know.

  • avatar
    colin42

    Those who derisively talk about the reliability of “German” cars without any distinction (maker, class) probably need to be told that, with the possible exception of Audi, the Jag. with all the alleged Ford or not Ford improvements, is still a dog, Reliab-wise.

    The Jag is British designed and build (and owned by TATA of India) It is in no way a “German Car”

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Those who derisively talk about the reliability of “German” cars without any distinction (maker, class) probably need to be told that, with the possible exception of Audi, the Jag. with all the alleged Ford or not Ford improvements, is still a dog, Reliab-wise.

    The Jag is British designed and build (and owned by TATA of India) It is in no way a “German Car”

    And who in the world said that the Tata-Jag was German? it most certainly is not! It is much inferior than most or all German Luxury cars, AND, what’s more important, it is much less RELIABLE. That was my point, the peoplw who disparaged German cars must have thought they are as bad as Jags, if you took what they said as fact..

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    NoSubstitue:

    The $699 lease special is not special at all. Nor are the specials found at other brand dealers. They are simply an arrangement of low mileage allowance, lower spec car, and fairly high prepayment to get the price down to $x99/mo. Changing the mileage to to a more reasonable 15K (for average drivers) and adding a desirable options like that great stereo system, will bring the car to $62K and add $200 to the monthly price.

    I still might do it, but what bothers is to pay 65% of the price of a car for three year’s rental. This number used to be under 50% 10 years ago when residuals were higher.

  • avatar
    colin42

    Autosavant

    And who in the world said that the Tata-Jag was German?

    Err you did!

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    No I did not, and I already said I did not. You quoted me already, I repeat the quote:

    Those who derisively talk about the reliability of “German” cars without any distinction (maker, class) probably need to be told that, with the possible exception of Audi, the Jag. with all the alleged Ford or not Ford improvements, is still a dog, Reliab-wise.

    I put “german” in quotes above to contrast it with the English-Indian Jag-Tata, which I pointed out as a far, farf less reliable and durable class of vehicles.

    You really thought I did not know the nationality of Jag?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Take a moment to savor the XF’s looks – sleek, elegant, and beautifully tailored.

    Wow … I am speechless.

    IMO, the XF is the ugliest of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Jaguar. I think the late 90s XK8 is about as good as exterior styling can go.

    But this thing looks downright ugly. Bland body + ugly headlight + odd nose.

    On wsn’s scale of beauty, the GS is the best here. Followed by the E, and then 5, M, A6, XF.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    JGlanton :
    October 22nd, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    NoSubstitue:

    The $699 lease special is not special at all. Nor are the specials found at other brand dealers. They are simply an arrangement of low mileage allowance, lower spec car, and fairly high prepayment to get the price down to $x99/mo. Changing the mileage to to a more reasonable 15K (for average drivers) and adding a desirable options like that great stereo system, will bring the car to $62K and add $200 to the monthly price.

    I still might do it, but what bothers is to pay 65% of the price of a car for three year’s rental. This number used to be under 50% 10 years ago when residuals were higher.

    Depends on the car. In a lease, you pay for depreciation plus interest, and the interest rate is typically below market. You also get a guaranteed resale value at the end of the lease – if the car is worth more than that, you have equity, and if it’s worth less, you don’t lose money.

    My brother is getting ready to turn in his ’06 Chrysler 300. Think he’s regretting the lease? If anything, it’s Chrysler who’s regretting it.

    Leasing isn’t for everyone. Specifically, if you put a lot of miles on a car, or like to keep cars until they die, you’re far better off doing a standard purchase. But if you drive normal miles, and like to have a new car every couple of years, leasing is the ONLY way to go.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    “this is the shifter, and you twirl it back and forth to change gears. When the XF is turned off, the knob disappears into the console. This arrangement is easy to use, but feels like an unnecessary gimmick,”

    These design are super brilliant, except on the console is a kind of dirt trap, little bits & pieces of refuse will fall into there, unless u vacuum her quite often.

    Even if the electric motor is super reliable, not with standing the dirt it can rendered the Knob hiding inside just like a frightened Turtle. Or shrinkage as George Costanza from Seinfeld calls it.

    If the untoward does happen is there other ways of gimping the car home? Are the paddles still able to paddle her home or time to call Dr Hook?

    But any sizeable dirt jammed in there will burn out motor real fast, then the dealer demand the whole centre console has to come out.
    Kind of history repeats itself again, Flat deck paegant.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    wsn :
    October 22nd, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Take a moment to savor the XF’s looks – sleek, elegant, and beautifully tailored.

    Wow … I am speechless.

    IMO, the XF is the ugliest of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Jaguar. I think the late 90s XK8 is about as good as exterior styling can go.

    But this thing looks downright ugly. Bland body + ugly headlight + odd nose.

    On wsn’s scale of beauty, the GS is the best here. Followed by the E, and then 5, M, A6, XF.

    Well, that’s why Baskin Robbins makes 31 flavors… :)

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “On wsn’s scale of beauty, the GS is the best here. Followed by the E, and then 5, M, A6, XF.”

    Can’t be serious.

    The GS has rather poor exterior. If it was not for Bangle, I’d have the BMW as no. 1. (its previous 5)

    My ranking on exterior styling is

    1. Audi
    2. BMW
    3. JAg
    4. Merc
    5. Infi-Lexus (tie)

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    JGlanton : “The $699 lease special is not special at all. Nor are the specials found at other brand dealers.”

    Yes they are. Try punching the same deal into each website’s “estimate payments” page. The “non-special” monthly lease payment with the same cap. cost reduction and annual mileage will be materially higher.

    Take the soon to be reviewed 535 xDrive. The current (not especially special) special lease deal is $589/mo. with a $3700 cap reduction and 10K miles a year. The same car, same cap reduction, same annual miles without the “special” lease is $685/mo. And that’s not a particularly great deal as subvented leases go.

    What was really hard to pass up was the deal being offered last month on ’09 Porsches. .58 residual and .00145 money factor (3.5% interest)
    on top of $20K discounts off MSRP. Those are WAY below market numbers.

    And the metal’s still not moving.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    I’ve seen at least one, possibly two XFs tooling around my neighborhood.

    For me, the XF works far better in person than in photos.

    This post’s opening photo simply doesn’t do the car justice. The third photo gets about 2/3rds of the way there.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    On the Jag’s reliability – some thoughts:

    When I was a kid, “unreliable” cars were ones that wouldn’t start, broke down all the time, self-destructed with use, or rusted out in a few years.

    My dad had a ’73 Citroen SM (boy, did we find out what SM meant with that car), and it was a complete POS that leaked fluid like a sieve, required constant tuneups, and wouldn’t start. My dad dumped the car after the engine grenaded itself at 3500 rpm in 2nd gear.

    He also owned a ’80 Eldorado whose electronic brain fried itself on I-70 between Terre Haute and Indianapolis.

    On the subject of Jags: my father in law owned a late ’70s XJ12 whose throttle would stick in the wide-open position when it was driven on the freeway in freezing weather. Safety issue, anyone?

    When I was growing up, my neighbor owned a XKE that started about half the time, and had an exhaust that was so low-slung that he deposited it on the curb in front of his house at least twice.

    During the same time frame, there were Aspens that rusted through in two years, exploding Pintos, Vegas with melting engines, and all manner of atrocious quality and reliability issues.

    THAT’S unreliable, folks.

    Today, I think reliability is a more relative term. Cars have improved to the point where cases like the ones above are very rare.

    And because most cars are so reliable, the curve is set higher, so cars that are basically reliable, but need repairs somewhat more frequently, may show up as “unreliable” in today’s surveys. In fact, these cars may just be more finicky than unreliable. Put differently: because most cars are “A” students when it comes to reliability, the “B” students might as well be flunkouts.

    I suspect the Jag XF falls in that category. If I bought the car, I’d have no illusions about it needing more maintenance than a Corolla. I’d also expect plenty of electronic weirdness. But I wouldn’t expect it to go dark, or strand me. I think the same is true of the German cars, which are a little more high-maintenance than, say, a Lexus, but are far from unreliable when push comes to shove.

  • avatar

    I am baffled by the gushing about the XF’s styling. I was unimpressed by it in photos, and when I saw one parked on the street, I walked around it, studying it curiously, and was unmoved. It was tasteful and inoffensive, I suppose, but it could easily have been a Buick, or any other mid-price near-luxury make. The gimmickry makes me nervous, given Jaguar’s reputation, and it generally fails to generate any want-it vibe.

    Jaguars had disastrous reliability even before British Leyland, but for somewhat different reasons. Sir William Lyons was a major-league cheapskate, and he scrimped on everything the customer couldn’t see or feel on a test drive. Jaguars were very attractively priced, given their performance and equipment — especially in Britain — but with very complex specification and lowest-bidder parts, the results were inevitable.

    Before the BL merger, Jaguar’s workmanship was generally very good. British Leyland, however, was constantly at war with its labor force, and build quality dropped off dramatically. Moreover, a lot of the Jaguar old guard who were familiar with the eccentricities of Jag mechanical design were retiring or dying off. British Leyland was also pressuring Jaguar to cut costs, and any profits Jaguar earned tended to be siphoned off to staunch the blood loss elsewhere in the BL empire.

  • avatar
    saponetta

    I drove one an XF when they had only been out a few months. Like most people I was wowed by the gimmicky interior. To jags credit, their gimicks are unexpected, these aren’t typical japanese gimicks. My main complaint was due to my lack of knowledge of the car. I assumed the v8 was the optional engine with a 6cyl standard. The v8 totally underwhelms. When you opt for a V8 merc, audi, bmw in this class you get a great engine. But overall the car had a seemingly well built interior, and was tons more athletic than older jag sedans. Also, as mentioned in the review, this car is a great value compared to the 3 germans. It comes with a lot of GOOD standard equipment. This is a car I could walk in and buy a price leader and be happy with the car short of the pathetic base v8.

  • avatar
    probert

    “That was my point, the peoplw who disparaged German cars must have thought they are as bad as Jags, if you took what they said as fact..”

    It’s usually not the cars, it’s the drivers.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, I wrote the comparo, but I’ll tip my hand on styling results, as Yours Truly saw them…

    1) Jaguar
    2) Audi
    3) Lexus
    4) Mercedes
    5) Infiniti
    6) BMW

    The surprise for me was the Lexus – I think the design really hangs together, particularly in dark colors.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    The Jaguar demographic just doesn’t fit me. To me it’s about as appealing as a Mercedes E class. Nice to look at, comfortable to drive, but not much else. Again….my opinion.

    I would like to cheer this car, but I cannot get over a friend of mine who frequently claims to be a recovering Jaguar XK owner. More shop time than drive time and he still refuses to tell me how much he dropped on repairs just to keep it running.

  • avatar
    bimerguy

    This is such a nice comparisson that I have been following. Well, Finally the jag finished #3, it deserves it. This is a sexy thing, refined and cool in some way. Like I said before, This car would be perfect for my wife. Now remains the A6 and 535xi..I cant wait to see the final results. The new A6 just came out so is competing with the so outdated 535xi. Excellent honest review, I think the A6 will finish top though.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Mike,

    I’m with you on the styling.

    Lexus cars are better than inoffensive in appearance. Backhanded compliment blah, blah. It looks good. Too bad it’s a bore to drive.

  • avatar

    Thinking about the Lexus floormat incident (and relatively universal response that driver should have disengaged to neutral), I wonder if the hidden gear selector is a (small) potential problem. Can it retract while the engine is on?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    Decades ago I owned a 1966 MKII Jaguar and it gave me no trouble but everyone I met asked me about the high cost of spares and repairs. This was before British Leyland but the reputation that I noticed was definitely NOT one of high reliability.
    P.S. I have never since driven a car that sat so well on the highway at 80mph.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    This is a good looking car, for a Toyota. But as a Jaguar its design falls flat. And, as a Toyota, there is no compelling reason to buy/lease an XF over the real thing, although many reasons (quality) not to. That being said, I commend the interior designer’s overall restraint. It is good to see an interior not designed by JVC boombox engineers, although the ergonomics in actual use are another story. But it’s all moot, as I expect the company to be out of business in a few years. But anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Aren’t reader’s of TTAC missing a key point here? Jag have a seriously competitive car. It’s a big achievement for Jag to do this. They are ahead of Mercedes now! In the UK this car is now the top selling car in it’s class. Yet a few years back Jag was struggling down there with Lexus (who are a sales flop in Europe).

    In the UK it does win all the road tests. But that’s not altogether British bias. One leading German car mag has also crowned it top of the class. When did any non German car maker last achieve that? Lexus never has to the best of my knowledge.

    I adore this car and I’m ashamed to say I love the gimicks. The car makes you feel special and has charm. I find BMW’s and Audi’s too sterile by contrast.

    Looking at the top 3, then it’s looking fairly close. It simply comes down to taste and things like leg room.

  • avatar
    schmitty8225

    I didnt know a Chevy Malibu with ghetto rims and horrible headlights equate to good looking, yet a Mercedes gets 3. It just aint right.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I don’t know. I still have not gotten over my initial disappointment with the styling. I still think it looks like a generic amalgamation of the GS and the M from the side and like a wierd cross between a Taurus and Buick from the front, although the rear is very nice. The chassis, despite being a generation old is quite capable and was updated for this car, so that shouldn’t be an issue. However, I would have major qualms about the reliability, especially given the new ownership.

  • avatar

    For some reason the body shape reminds me mostly of a Pontiac G6.

    The interior is lovely, even through the knob is sorta cheesy. Obviously since TTAC is aimed at enthusiasts they are putting the sportier cars ahead, but I question this choice – what enthusiast isn’t just going to go get an M3 over a mid-range 5? If you are stepping up a class, you are probably looking for more luxury, for commuting, and for hauling your family around.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    @Autosavant

    The “all Audi’s are unreliable” meme is a tired stereotype. Yes, Audis were lousy in the ’90s and in to the early ’00s, but they’ve made huge strides since then and are now ranked better overall than both BMW and Mercedes. Don’t forget that Merc had its own quality disaster for a decade or so, which they’ve just started to recover from. I believe at one point, Mercedes had more lemon law buyback cars than the rest of the luxury industry.

    The A6 is FAR more reliable than the piece of garbage that is the XF. It’s too bad, the XK and the XJ were actually doing pretty well (if you believe JD power, anyway) and then the XF came along and ruined the party. I would suggest looking at the 2009 VDS report. See how close Audi is to Honda? See how BMW and especially Mercedes are nowhere near Honda? VW still sucks, but Audi will eventually be the MOST reliable German brand.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    The cliché in styling these days is that a good-looking car’s pictures don’t do it justice. Not here.

    I saw an XF on the highway the other week and was shocked at how ugly it is when it leaves the screen or printed page.

  • avatar

    When the XF first rolled out, I, like many, thought it was a bit too conservative in appearance, too Buicklike. But it’s grown on me and I now place it up there with the 5 series for being elegant, muscular, and sporty.

    I’m still not sure that I like it as much as I did the S-Type. The S-Type R makes my eyes widen every time I see one.

    http://escapefromjersey.blogspot.com/

  • avatar
    jhwool

    I have driven the Jag and I think it is a classy ride, better than the others in this group. It’s main problem is a small rear seat and iffy build quality. I am currently in my second M35. For the money it is hard to beat. Both cars have been dead reliable with components holding up well and still driving like new at 50,000 miles. I have had A6′s in the past. The interiors hold up well, but mechanically they seem to begin falling apart at around 30.000 miles.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Meh. It looks more like a generic Lexus than the one you tested.

  • avatar

    I love the new Jaguar. I just wish it had the interior space of a new E-class.

    Its a sexy car with great interior and exterior appeal. In fact, with a body kit, it could be as sexy as a DBS.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Styling of course is completely subjective but I like it. The few I’ve seen on the road look just enough different from everything else to be distinctive IMO. Not a big fan of the shifter or interior electronics though, sounds to me like purposeless add ons which would be completely capable of causing problems further down the road. I don’t necessarily think the Tata ownership is a big negative either especially with this car as it had to have been 99.9% developed under Ford ownership and is still built in an English Jaguar factory. When our S Type lease expires a year from now I’m sure we’ll give it due consideration.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I’ve seen a few XFs in the wild, and while I don’t think the styling is bad, or even bland, it doesn’t do a whole lot for me. As compared to the S type, which the XF is logically the successor to (so why not the XS, well, other than the unfortunate pronunciation of the acronym in today’s economic times…) it appears to be an evolution of the model’s styling cues.

    I do take issue with saying that the XF is the best looking Jaguar since the E type, or even worse that the new XJ is anything other than a huge disappointment from a styling perspective. The previous gen XJ wasn’t just one of the best looking Jaguars, but perhaps the best looking luxury sedan on the the market.

    A Jaguar should be svelte, sophisticated, fluid, and stately all at the same time. It should encompass the pomp and presence of a Bentley or Rolls while at the same time looking lithe and speedy. The older XJ did that with ease, the new XJ, and to a degree the XF, not so much.

    I realize styling is subjective, and I may stray from the crowd as I think Bangle did a great job to BMW, and I love the X6, so I am not against progressive styling, but when Jaguar already had the perfect exterior design for a sedan, why did they have to mess with it?

  • avatar

    I think the shifter knob was a stupid idea. If they wanted an I-drive knob they shoulda linked it to the controller and given the car a shiftstalk or shift paddles.

    It is an original idea, but I could never trust that it would never fail someday.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Jaguar IMO without question needed fresh newly restyled replacements for both the XJ and S Type. Both were too long in the tooth as their lack of sales clearly showed. While I agree that the XJ was the prettiest sedan ever a manufacturer can not successfully sell the same body style forever. IMO Jaguar made a big mistake with the last generation of XJ’s by differentiating them so little from the generation before and their lack of sales clearly showed that. You could hardly tell the difference in the two, not exactly an incentive to purchase a new one. As distinctive as the S Type is it was also the same car for too long. I like both new models, it will be interesting to see how they fare.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Screw them all.

    What you really need to do is bring out an old Volvo 240 and challenge all these vehicles to a tried and true sledgehammer test.

    By the way, I have dibs on the Mercedes.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Don’t think I like the shifter, but I’m glad its different. The Styling also, even thought its very conservative and unexciting really. It sounds (reads) like a very good car though. Perhaps the one for me.

    I think I like all cars in this test. The A6 in the top spots though, kinda seems like the other cars are not so great. Although perhaps the A6S is much better then the standard V6 one.

  • avatar
    V6

    i can understand why they went with the rotary knob. everyone would have cried and moaned if they ditched the J-gate, so they decided they had to go with something completely knew and different that nobody else had aka the new j-gate

    also, i thought the XJ and current XK were the only jags that use aluminum construction. pretty sure the s-type and x-type didn’t

  • avatar
    Ronman

    The only thing i can stick against this car is the ESP, it never shuts off. this car has so much sideways potential…an XF coupe has to be made.

    haven’t driven the R yet but can’t wait to see what it would do in Comp mode.

    other than that, the XF would be my choice in this segment….

    One more thing… all the other cars so far in this comparo are powered by 6 cylinder units, you don’t mention the V6 option on the XF. would appreciate if you could update it…

  • avatar
    vento97

    When I was a kid, “unreliable” cars were ones that wouldn’t start, broke down all the time, self-destructed with use, or rusted out in a few years.

    Thank you – my sentiments exactly. Nowadays if a light-bulb burns out prematurely, the car is deemed reliable.

    Whining, complaining and pointing fingers have replaced personal responsibility and some elbow grease…

  • avatar

    Ummm…could someone please tell me why turning off ESC is such a big “con” nowadays. Isn’t the whole point of ESC to keep cars from sliding out of control or going into spins?

    Hasn’t ESC been shown by NTHSA studies to be a direct cause of reduced fatalities in car accidents?

  • avatar
    Lemmy-powered

    @ above:

    ESC definitely needs an easy over-ride for getting unstuck in snow, unless it is programmed to recognize instances when wheelspin is needed.

    Also, I thoroughly enjoy the ability to make a quick 180 in the snow in my older Miata. Can’t do that with ESC!

  • avatar

    @above

    My friend/coworker made a quick 180 in highway traffic in a car without it.

    She’s no longer with us.

    One of my aunts made a quick 180 on slick pavement in a Ford Thunderbird. She’s ok – drives a Jaguar Stype now.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    NulloModo :
    October 22nd, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I realize styling is subjective, and I may stray from the crowd as I think Bangle did a great job to BMW, and I love the X6, so I am not against progressive styling, but when Jaguar already had the perfect exterior design for a sedan, why did they have to mess with it?

    That’s where I’d disagree with you. I think they had the perfect sedan design – for the 1960′s. The market had moved on.

    I think the XF manages to convey a Jaguar “feel” – elegant, sexy and yet traditional – in a 21st century design.

    Now, if they’d only get rid of that piece of piano-black cladding on the XJ’s rear pillar…WTF were they thinking?

  • avatar

    Great looking car to my taste. I watched the episode of Top Gear where Clarkson reviewed it. He liked it. My issue with these luxury cars is they are too big for a practical use in the city. Why doesn’t someone make a smaller car that’s as luxurious as these boats? The smaller Jags and Mercs and BMWs are watered down versions of their big brothers.

  • avatar

    I don’t worry that an Indian company has Jag. Rather, they will do a great job. They understand what it is, and anyone who has seen the way the Indians take care of the ex=brit colonial steam trains…..

  • avatar
    LeaperNYC

    For anyone actually planning to buy a car in this class, here’s what you ought to know about the XF*:

    Looks: Utterly gorgeous in the skin, photos just don’t do it justice. Unless you’ve driven a Jaguar or a $250k+ exotic before, you have never experienced anything like the adulation you will get for this car wherever you go. Learn to be wary of parking valet autolust.

    Performance: Mechanically identical to the justly famed, and much costlier, Jaguar XK/XKR sports car. Wide torque band in the superchargeds. Absolutely loves a winding, fast road. Lots of ricers will bait or tail you on the highway- when this gets tedious, distancing yourself is happily never a problem.

    Ride/ handling balance: Near perfect, like nothing else – this is what fine British mechanics are all about. 550i owners will complain of the harsh ride in their 19″ wheels, you’ll be comfortable and stylish on your 20″s. No noisy run-flats either .. so beware of potholes.

    Interior: Strongly appeals to both sexes and all ages. Seamless blend of modern British verve with timeless British luxury. Blue lighting and aluminum accents plus lots of soft leather and mirror-matched wood. Navi / phone/ rear camera / iPod integration is outstanding. In this age of automatics and paddle shifters, why haven’t those ugly, protruding shifters disappeared from ALL cars?

    Corporate Ownership: Tata is a more desirable parent than was Ford – financially solid; more focused on brand, engineering and the long term; less on cost and volume.

    Downside: Need a separate beater for everyday (esp Northeast winter) local driving.

    *Have owned my ’09 XF Super for a year and 9k miles now. I tested each of the 5 named competitors, as of a year ago, multiple times. The competition has clearly improved since then but amazingly, so has the XF (new engines and trim levels, improved quality per TrueDelta, and lower sale prices).

  • avatar
    salhany

    @LeaperNYC, any problems with the XF’s reliability just yet? C&D had a few issues, True Delta says there’s a lot of minor problems, and the folks on the XF boards are reporting quite a few issues as well. Curious on how your experience has gone in that regard.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    ponchoman49 :
    Nice car overall but I can’t quite help but feeling that this line has lost some of it’s Jaguar DNA and soul.

    That ‘DNA and soul’ went long ago, when British Leyland had their way with Jaguar.

    Ford stemmed the rot significantly, and I hope Tata can succeed in their attempt to resurrect the old Jaguar brand quality – ‘grace, space and pace’ at a reasonable price. I think it is a remarkable improvement that Jaguar is again being considered seriously in this segment, rather than as a punchline to a sad joke.

  • avatar
    LeaperNYC

    @salhany, you asked about reliability in my Jag. Let me first clarify that anyone buying a European supersport sedan is in for a most un-Toyota-like ownership experience. My lowlights of the past year were:

    1. Dealer called me weeks after purchase re rear diff recall. Apparently this recall applied to exactly 8 VIN #s on the East Coast – interesting they can track so finely. Anyway, dealer rep came over to pick up the car and returned it the next day: quite painless.

    2. Blew a flat on Tobin Bridge (I-93 South) pothole in Boston last winter, causing 2 wheel rims to bend out of shape. Fully replaced under tires & rims supplemental warranty (glad I listened to the dealer on that $600 upsell.) Have been much more mindful of road surface since then.

    3. Call from NYPD on a Sunday morning in May, saying they had arrested an unlicensed driver in my car. Turned out a building employee had gotten crazed, stolen my key, and “borrowed” the XF for a late night teenage illegal car meet in Harlem. He’s facing multiple convictions. His choices that night from our building garage would have included an 80s Ferrari and M5, as well as LS460, A8, S550, G500, H2, S2000 etc.

    And for completeness, let me also list the highlights:

    1. Won its category at a Jaguar association concours d’elegance. Picture a sunny lakeside garden studded with ~60 gorgeous feline forms all cast from metal over the decades. For those anxious about brand DNA, rest assured the XF fits in (and extends its lineage) perfectly.

    2. Selected to compete in Bob Lutz’ CTS-V challenge at Monticello racing ground this week. Apparently the 120 applicants also included many boys in M5s .. too many..

    3. Lastly a recurring highlight : any time I’m driving on a freshly laid blacktop on a sunny day, preferably with curves and Hudson views, playing my “British Invasion” iMix thru the peerless Bowers & Wilkins speakers.

    So @salhany, not exactly a “lot of minor problems” but an eventful year for sure. To summarize, Jag is competitive on reliability and A VERY CLEAR 5 ON DESIRABILITY.

    Happy driving everyone.

    (See my comments under the companion 535xi review)

  • avatar

    Not only interior but also exterior are designed so carefully. I love this car.


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