The decadent abundance
Last week I tested an excellent mid-size luxury sedan with a very economical diesel engine, which made my review quite easy. This week, I face the opposite end of the scale and a bit of a problem. You see, the beautiful Jaguar XF to which I currently hold the key has a rather thirsty, supercharged petrol V6.
Fuel consumption and carbon emissions are the current headache of the motoring industry and while I advocate the reduction of both through improved technologies, I’m not a fan of engine down-sizing. The wanton culling of motors with big cylinder counts and capacities seems ridiculous to me.
CO2 tax and congestion charges favour small engines but they are targeted at a car’s potential, not its actual usage. Theoretical tax vs real mileage. D’you see what I’m getting at? It’s not the beeeg gas guzzler that’s decimating Mother Nature, it’s anybody who drives a lot.
Which leads me to this supercharged Jag V6. Just like other luxury sedans with impressive motors, chances are that it won’t be chosen to commute 30,000km per year. No, you’d buy a diesel econo-box for that. Gorgeous XF’s like this one will be ordered by a landed gent (or lady) who does 10,000km annually. Tops.
Should they suddenly require something more frugal, Jaguar is happy to help with an equivalent V6 turbo-diesel and a smaller four-cylinder turbo-diesel in the XF range. These are part of Jaguar / Land-Rover’s clever engine line-up which consists of turbocharged petrols and diesels, as well as supercharged petrols.
Pardon me if it sounds like I’m trying to defend the XF and its generous engine, that’s because I am. Although this motor has the mandatory vee-formation twitches (especially when cold), it uses eight smooth automatic gears to deliver its 250kW (340hp) in a most delicious double-cream, velvety fashion.
Everything is silky soft, quiet and comfortable.
The same goes for its steering input, cabin materials and ride quality. Everything is silky soft, quiet and comfortable. The gigantic wheels and low-profile tyres on our test car would spell hard jolts in other makes of car; but not the XF. It glides along serenely at any speed over any surface.
Aha, you may think, so it’s completely spongy and hopeless in the corners! Not even slightly. Our XF test car sailed through a mountain pass at considerable speed with almost no body roll. Turn-in isn’t immediate but cornering grip is excellent, as are passenger comfort and seat support.
We also took this cat by the scruff of the neck and whipped it through tight bends engaging Sport Mode, reduced ESP and shift paddles. The V6 sounds raspy at higher rpm’s and the back got twitchy so the XF actually has a fun side, too. To the average Jag owner described above, such dynamism will surely be jolly exciting.
However, I bet that they would be more interested in the car’s low-speed manners, and rightfully so. The motor sounds its best in the first third of its rev range and the very faint whine of that supercharger means that you needn’t shift down to pick up the pace. With all that torque, it cruises and overtakes effortlessly.
I’d like to add my 2 cents about the XF’s design, which I regard as sublime. Even the pre-facelift models looked stunning to me and I predict that these cars will age relatively well. Yes, the interior with its deep dashboard can feel cramped but even as a very tall human specimen I would prefer to call it “cocooned”.
Sumptuous leather, generous wood panelling and delicate trim items take care of Jaguar tradition while animated vents, the world’s freakiest gear lever, blue cocktail lighting and a comprehensive touch-screen infotainment system with Meridian high-quality speakers shout modernity.
The Jaguar XF is a bizarre blend of old and new, comfort and agility, style and power. Priced between N$742,400 and N$813,600, the supercharged V6 petrol probably ranks among the most thirsty sedans you could buy but it has something that most new cars don’t: a decadent abundance of power and comfort.
0-10km/h: 0.54 seconds
0-20km/h: 1.00 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.54 seconds
0-40km/h: 2.03 seconds
0-50km/h: 2.53 seconds
0-60km/h: 3.03 seconds
0-70km/h: 3.71 seconds
0-80km/h: 4.41 seconds
0-90km/h: 5.13 seconds
0-100km/h: 5.93 seconds
0-110km/h: 6.93 seconds
0-120km/h: 8.00 seconds
0-130km/h: 9.15 seconds
0-140km/h: 10.23 seconds
0-100m: 6.28 seconds @ 103.28km/h
0-200m: 9.33 seconds @ 131.73km/h
0-300m: 11.85 seconds @ 152.15km/h
0-400m: 14.12 seconds @ 165.61km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.67G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box