Is AWD really that important for luxury car buyers? In a class featuring bestsellers like the BMW 5-series and Audi A6, how does the new AWD Jag stack up?
The 2013 Jaguar XF 3.0L AWD isn’t a new visitor to our camp; Adi Desai reviewed this very same car earlier this year. He loved the car and felt it was a perfect blend of excellence and class. I’m a big fan of Jaguars, especially the XK variety. The all-new F-Type will be arriving in our garage shortly and there hasn’t been a more anticipated vehicle yet.
The XF is the first all-wheel drive Jaguar that I’ve driven. Under normal driving conditions, you can’t tell in the slightest. It gives you a full rear bias, but when needed, it can push up to 50% of the power to the front wheels. It’s an adequate amount of power being derived from the supercharged 3.0L V6 providing 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.
Partnered to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the shifts are smooth and crisp. In this vehicle I actually prefer it to a double-clutch gearbox, an oddity in my view but it’s utter perfection for this car.
The automatic start/stop feature helps fuel economy but it won’t work when the temperature is lower than 18 degrees or the fan is above 3 notches. Stay within those parameters and you’ll save fuel while at each stop light or in traffic. During the course of the week, I managed to achieve 10.9L/100 KM, or 21.6 miles per gallon in combined driving. Not bad at all for a big athletic sedan.
Inside the car, the Jaguar has a very nice sunroof, the interior pieces are proper and rich and I thoroughly enjoyed the added bonus of air-conditioned seats. Upon engine start and stop, the air vents will open and close, providing a cool extra touch that feels great. It gives the interior a nice clean dashboard, something that further solidifies my opinion that the British and Italians design the best interiors.
The on-board multimedia system in the XF is the same one featured in the Land Rover and Range Rover models (not to mention it’s standard issue across the Jaguar lineup). It works fine with my iPhone 5, but when you plug it in to the USB port, you often have to use the deck to reconnect to the Bluetooth for phone operation.
The Jaguar features an overly-helpful power steering calibration. It’s fantastic in parking lots and moving around in tight spaces but it just doesn’t back off on the open roads. I wish it became much heavier when in motion at higher speeds. The car also suffers from quite a bit of body roll, expected for the class. Throwing the car into Dynamic Mode still doesn’t firm up the suspension enough to make a noticeable difference.
As for the all-wheel drive system, I remember last winter seeing an XJ-L stuck trying to get up a hill in the winter. Jaguars of the sedan variety aren’t a summer or weekend only vehicle, it’s meant for the entire year. The system put in place by Jaguar maintains the character of the rear-wheel-drive touring car but allows it to deal with any condition Mother Nature might throw at it.
When compared to the current Mercedes-Benz E350 4-Matic, the Jaguar stands out. It’s different and more elegant. It’s like a Cartier to a Rolex. You can’t go wrong with either selection but there’s just something redeeming to that Cartier. It’s the Balloon Bleu; both men and women can sport the Jaguar and not a single person will jump to the conclusion that it may be the husband or wife’s car. It suits both perfectly well.
Jaguar is no longer just an afterthought in the luxury sedan market. With the recent implementation of a few very noticeable and important improvements, I think they have just leapt to the top of the list.
2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD Gallery