It was a sort of relief. I mean, red and sport definitely go together but after a series of reds in the past few weeks, it was good to see a sporty car sporting any colour other than red. Don’t get me wrong, I love those reds and the cars that wore them. But the Jaguar XF Supercharged Premium Luxury definitely looked its part in the new stratus grey.
So I opened the door and there – greeting me inside were very comfortable looking leather seats in soft greying leather with a combination of, you guessed it, strawberry red and black!
UPSIDE: Very powerful, exemplary handling, excellent music system, dramatic cabin dynamics, smooth paddle shifts
FLIPSIDE: Very comfortable, narrow boot entry, layered navigation control
PRICE: Jaguar XF begins at AED 169,000. Luxury Sport is at a reasonable AED 199,000. Jaguar XF premium luxury is AED 279,000. The test car should be even more!
I was pretty happy taking the Jaguar XF Supercharged on a long drive. 340 hp of power, and 450 Newton metres of thrust can gobble up miles and miles of tarmac in no time. And in fact, it can make pleasurable skating rinks out of winding roads, especially with the traction control off. Whether it is long, sweeping bends or sharp corners, the Jaguar XF holds its stead even if you push the Speedo to challenging limits.
The powerful 3.0L engine of the XF supercharged is mated to an 8 speed ZF transmission, which offers a sport mode and paddle shifts, and the smoothness of an almost seamless gear shift. At a settled 120 kmph, the tachometer rested on a calm 1,500 rpm – that is so much a subdued rage.
Test speed 0 – 100 in 6 seconds flat. Fuel used for 100 km: 12 L
Once you shift from the D to the S mode, pressing the rotary knob down, you hear a transformation happening in the underbelly, the subdued drone suddenly shifting to a ready-to-leap sort of growl. The paddle shifts are very responsive and even if you click it a couple of times, it responds quickly and yet so smoothly! For those wanting more gratification in the auto mode have the little chequered flag on the console for added power.
Ever since the avant garde set in, the new XF has turned the old S type and the X type into classics sooner than one would expect. With narrow cat like eyes, air intake grills, diffusers, a thick chrome framing of the deeply inset grille with the jaguar at the centre, and 20 inch wheels with the 8 spoke grey alloys, the Jaguar XF Supercharged really looks premium and aggressive at once.
The car retains its crouching stance and is just 4 cms short of 5 metres. At the rear, the lights wrap the sides while there is a thick chrome lining running through the centre across the boot. This one is a looker, no doubt. Within 24 hours of my loaning it, I gathered as many stares from passers-by and parkers-by as I would have in a whole week with most premium sedans.
Cabin and Controls
Those mouths that fall agape outside the Jaguar XF Supercharged Premium Luxury would remain ajar inside as well. The kind of dynamics and dramatics that continue in the XF, like the rising gear selector knob on the central console, the knolled finish AC panels which roll out only when in use, as well as the delicious, regal leather sheet on the door toppings and the dashboard with their complementing wood strips, and the suede headlining; everything vies to justify the rather steep price tag.
The 7-inch touchscreen bears the burden of all the controls. There are quite a few of those covering the little nuances of technology and the driving comfort in the Jaguar XF. This largely eases the weight on the console where buttons are few; even the direct button for the radio is absent, againt all norms of conveninence. Of course there’s a mode and AV button on the console that allows you to manage that, but generally, the radio and the navigation are slightly layered. Everything seems to be fine with the sat-nav but somehow there is a lack of ease with which a destination is found or fed in, as though you are expected to know the road or the building number. While the navigation planning was difficult, once through, it was quite precise, succinct and trouble free. In fact, the navigation system gave an earnest shot at endearing itself to me when the fuel levels dropped and the whole map was teeming with the nearest fuel stations.
What’s perhaps conspicuously absent in this richly appointed cabin is the voice command. There is Bluetooth telephony but no voice control option of the buttons from the steering wheel. That’s surprising especially because the Range Rover has it and the Jaguars share much of their premium-ness with the Rangie these days!
As I was driving, the husky breath of ‘Passenger’ came streaming in through the 11 speakers of the Meridian music system, urging me to ‘let her go’. Now, such is the power of the new Meridian music system in the XF, believe me, if you had a girlfriend who wasn’t too fond of the Jaguar XF, you would gladly let her go. But perhaps there is no girlfriend or wife that wouldn’t love this neat piece of automotive artistry, which is one of the reasons why you wouldn’t mind paying almost 300k for this car. Which brings us to the family segment.
Secretly in love with the Jaguar XF Supercharged, I was quite pleased to hear the approving comments of the family on its comfortable ride. Despite the 20” wheels, the ride remains smooth with the bumps damped agreeably. Thanks to the very same suspensions that play their role in the exceptionally accurate handling of sharp and persistent curves without budging an inch!
The Jaguar XF has very good headroom and legroom in the rear despite the ‘crouching jaguar’ kind of design. The luxury includes perforated heated and cold seats that are extendable for knee support. Those seats initially act a little funny, especially when you try to get out of the whole redness. But you learn to get used to it and it really goes well with the sporty drive.
What’s even more surprising is the deep boot storage in the Jaguar XF but that’s not without its downside. The elegance of the raking rear windshield extends so much rearwards that it leaves a very small porthole for luggage entry. Certainly not as bad as with sports cars but our ‘mother of all prams’ squeezed into it with much difficulty. But, once through, there was enough space for a healthy bunch of shopping bags as well!
The Essential Jaguar XF Supercharged PL
Here is a car which is going to compete for my smoothest drive of the year award and the best music system in a mid-sized luxury sedan. Having just driven the Infinity M56 with its very impressive Bose system, the Meridian system of the premium luxury Jaguar XF impresses even more with an additional sub-woofer and crystal clear sound. Talking about sound and impressions of the XF Supercharged, you won’t have to woo the world with its sporty notes, you can simply feel those X-ray glances even when you’re squarely parked!
Drive Courtesy: Al Tayer Motors, Dubai
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy