Range-opening XF V6 loaded with Jaguar charisma
What you get Specifications
There’s a sense of occasion about driving a Jaguar.
And that holds true whether the car is the range-opening front-wheel drive X-Type or the svelte XKR Coupe which costs a shade under four times as much.
The X-Type might share its basic platform with the previous generation Ford Mondeo but drive one and it’s every inch a Jaguar with superb road manners, a solid air and a luxury car feel.
Recent Jaguar development may have been funded by Ford but the cars still retain traditional British touches. The Ford influence has mainly been for the better, with tighter build quality and the commonsense design that’s the hallmark of current Blue Oval products, certainly in terms of ergonomics and vehicle controls.
Jaguar’s new owner, Indian vehicle maker Tata, says it will retain the brand’s traditional values and is even talking of reviving the F-Type open-topped sports car project that Ford shelved as it concentrated on building cars intended to return a solid profit.
Jaguar seems to be in good hands which has to be good news for car fans. Like Porsche, Ferrari, Bentley, this is a brand with a strong heritage and sporting appeal running richly in its veins.
Jaguar’s XF is a cornerstone of the brand’s future and is selling well, picking up prizes and accolades as it goes. The newly-announced R version will take it into the performance sedan stratosphere.
But the subject of this test is the base model of the range, the petrol-powered V6, though there’s nothing basic about it.
We’ve sampled three of the mainstream XFs, from the petrol V6 through the petrol V8 to the supercharged SV8: the one we’ve yet to drive is the 2.7-litre diesel which sells for the same money as the petrol V6.
Though they’re similar, each has a distinct character, and if we were to be asked which we liked best we’d go for the naturally-aspirated V8. It rides better than the supercharged car but offers all the performance most people are ever going to need.
And it does so with reasonable fuel economy. Its highway and overall fuel use ratings aren’t that much greater than the V6’s (7.6 litres/100km highway to the V6’s 7.5; and 11.1 litres/100km overall compared to 10.5 for the V6).
Where the V8 takes a hammering is in the city, where official tests rate it at 17.3 litres/100km when the V6 is returning 15.8.
Its performance is much more potent than the V6’s, with 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds to the V6’s 8.3 (the diesel is said to do the sprint in 8.2 seconds).
But the V8 is $25,000 more expensive than the V6. Price is the V6’s strength, though at $114,990 it’s not cheap; but for that you get a nicely-equipped car with fine road manners, lots of feel-good factor and adequate performance.
The 3.0-litre V6 is a willing engine, developing 175kW at 6800rpm and peak torque of 293Nm at 4100 revs, the latter paling against the diesel’s 435Nm which puts even the V8 in the shade by 24Nm.
To get the best out of the V6, you need to use some revs and when you do the it responds instantly and with an air of keen-ness, the exhaust note rising into a glorious shriek.
Acceleration is brisk rather than neck-straining but the XF V6 is an effortless motorway or open-road tourer, carrying its occupants in great comfort and commendable silence.
Handling is very good, and grip on the wide, 245/45 R18 tyres is unshakable. The steering offers good feel and the finely-tuned chassis delivers crisp and accurate turn-in to corners.
The XF V6 will tackle with real relish a winding road that changes direction continuously, though you sometimes find yourself wishing for a bit more power and thrust to match the exhaust’s stirring soundtrack and keep up vehicle momentum.
The six-speed ZF automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and sweetly but, when pressing-on, we found ourselves using the manual shift function – operated by paddles mounted on the steering wheel – more often than we did in the V8.
The leather-upholstered seats offer good comfort and excellent lateral support, and front and rear cabin occupants have plenty of legroom.
The cabin is typically Jaguar with a tasteful mix of leather and woodgrain accents, though we found the standard satin finish American Walnut veneer a little bland. We’d shell out the extra $500 to upgrade to Burr Walnut veneer.
The MP3-compatible, 140-watt, eight-speaker, six-disc CD sound system is excellent, delivering crisp and clear reproduction from music ranging from opera through jazz to hard rock.
You can upgrade to the 320-watt Jaguar Premium Sound set-up with sub-woofer or go the whole hog and fit the SV8’s 440-watt, 13-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound. The Premium system costs $1800, the B&W is $5000.
But unless you’re a real audiophile, we’re pretty sure you’ll find the standard V6’s stereo just fine.
The added-cost option we’d most likely order would be the $1600 parking pack which includes front sensors and a rear-view camera. It’s a boon on the V8 (where it’s standard) and helps you keep the bodywork’s delicious curves from harm.
XF Jaguars have many nice touches but the ones we like most are the rotary knob which controls the auto gearbox and rises up from the centre console when you switch on the engine, and the electric parking brake which is much preferable to a foot-operated one.
You just touch the top of a lever on the console to release it; gently pull up on the lever to engage the brake. Though, really, we’d be just as happy with an old-fashioned handbrake lever.
The XF V6 is a nicely-balanced car, with an appealing blend of fine handling, good comfort and luxury, supple ride and stunning looks. It’s a nice car to drive and be in – and, yes, nice to be seen in.
Jaguars have long been aspirational cars for New Zealanders, from the days of the splendid 1950s Mark 9 through to the current XKR, offering lovely lines and an air of real class. The XF is the heir to the magnificent Mark 2, and fills the role extremely well.
Were the budget fat enough we’d opt for the V8 but – performance apart – the V6 delivers much of what its more potent stablemate does for $25,000 less.
It’s a satisfying car to drive, with lots of character and equipment – no budget version this – lots of true Jaguar charisma and that glorious exhaust note: and it will look sensationally good sitting on the driveway of any house.
autotrader.co.nz rating: four out of five.
What you get for your money
Jaguar’s XF 3.0 V6 is a well-equipped luxury car, with a high level of fit and finish and a real feel of elegant quality.
Exterior equipment includes halogen headlights with automatic on/off, the windscreen wipers are rain-sensing and switch on or off automatically, and the taillights are LED.
The power exterior mirrors are heated, and the bright mesh grille and side windows have chrome surrounds. There’s a rear parking aid with touch screen visual indicators.
A tyre pressure monitoring system is an added-cost option.
In traditional Jaguar style, the XF V8’s cabin features wood veneer highlights. Satin American Walnut is standard, but Burr Walnut can be ordered at extra cost.
Upholstery is bond-grain leather, and the dashboard and doortops are finished in stitched bond-grain leather. The electronically-adjustable driving seat has two memory settings for the steering wheel angle, exterior mirrors and seat height and backrest angle.
The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel carries controls for the sound system, cruise-control, phone and the optional Jaguar Voice warning system.
Paddle-shifters for the six-speed ZF automatic gearbox’s manual mode are fitted to the steering wheel.
The steering wheel is electrically-adjustable for tile and reach, with entry/exit tilt-away.
Added cost options include a Winter Pack with heated front seats and steering wheel.
The automatic climate-control air-conditioning has filters and dual zone temperature control.
The power windows have one-touch activation and an anti-trap function; there are three front seat cupholders and two in the rear, and 60/40 sp [lit-folding rear seatbacks.
The driver information centre includes a dual function trip computer connectivity. An electrically-operated sunroof is an added-cost option.
Standard audio fit on the 3.0 V6 is a 140-watt, six-disc, eight-speaker system with MP3 compatibility. A 320-watt Jaguar Premium Sound System with eight-speakers, a sub-woofer and six-disc CD stacker is an $1800 option, or you could go the whole hog with a Bowers & Wilkins 440-watt, 13 speaker plus sub-woofer and Dolby amplifier for $5000.
Safety kit includes front and side driver and front passenger airbags and cabin-length side curtain airbags.
The ABS anti-lock braking system has electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist which increases stopping power in crises.
If you specified all of the added-cost options, including the Bowers & Wilkins sound you could add $27,700 to the XF 3.0 V6’s price, taking it to $142,690.
Opting for the Jaguar Premium sound instead but retaining all the other options would give a delivery price of $139,490 (see pricing paragraphs for detailed information)
Specifications of the Jaguar XF V6
Type. four-door sedan.
Engine. 3.0-litre (2967cc) petrol V6. Four valves per cylinder. Maximum power, 175kW at 6800rpm. Peak torque, 293Nm at 4100rpm. Engine meets Euro 4 emission standards.
Transmission. Rear-wheel drive. Six-speed ZF electronic automatic gearbox. Sequential-shift manual mode with steering wheel-mounted paddle gearshifters. Traction control. Trac Dynamic Stability Control.
Brakes. Front, 326mm ventilated discs. Rear, 326mm ventilated discs. Electronic park brake.
Wheels. 18-inch diameter alloy. Venus design.
Tyres. 245/45 R18.
Performance. Top speed, 237km/h. 0-100km/h, 8.3 seconds (Jaguar’s figures).
Fuel economy. City, 15.8 litres/100km. Highway, 7.5 litres/100km. Combined, 10.5 litres/100km (Jaguar’s figures).
Dimensions. Length, 4961mm. Width (excluding mirrors), 1877mm (including mirrors, 2053mm). Height, 1460mm. . Wheelbase, 2909mm. Front track, 1559mm. Rear track, 1605mm. Kerb weight, 1679kg. Fuel tank capacity, 69.5 litres. Boot capacity, 500 litres. Towing capacity, 1850kg (braked trailer). Turning circle, 11.48 metres.