A wolf in sheep's clothing I once was asked what my personal definition of automotive perfection is. I had no answer up until recently.
I once was asked what my personal definition of automotive perfection is. I had no answer up until recently. Cars like the Audi S4, the BMW 335i, and even my personal attainable dream car, the Aston Martin Vantage instantly came to mind. When I first laid eyes on Jaguar’s S-Type replacement, the XF, I thought it was a rather pretty thing, but nothing to write home about. Then I spent a few days with the 2013 Jaguar XF AWD, and I learned what true love feels like. Seriously, this car stole my heart.
Over the course of this past year, I have been lucky enough to drive newcomers, class leaders, and cars that actually redefine a segment. I’ve driven cars that have sincerely impressed me, and then some that by the end of my road test, I never wanted to sit in again. My colleague Robert Maduri absolutely adored the XKR we tested last year, and I have to say, while it was a gorgeous car, it just didn’t tickle my fancy. Though a purist at heart, I found a lot of complaints with the big coupé. The XF, however, seemed to tug right at my heartstrings.
I had the opportunity to take the 2013 XF on a road trip to our nation’s capital, a drive I’ve made many times over the past few years. What usually feels like countless hours after hours on the 401 literally flew by; I felt completely at home; appearing to be away from the outside world. I’ve done long road trips in the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and most of its competitors; never have I felt so at home. While the other vehicles may be comfortable, they feel too large. At just over 6’ tall, the XF fits me perfectly. It’s the first car I’ve ever driven that feels as though it was actually tailored to my dimensions.
While pricing for the XF starts at a very reasonable $61,000, I must note that in order to achieve the automotive perfection that was my tester, one must spend the hefty sum of $75,000. Even still, for that price the car is absolutely loaded. That’s right in line with my other choice in the class, the E-Class. Other than a panoramic sunroof, my XF had everything I would ask for from a Jaguar. The Portfolio Pack adds a more stately interior, with more seat adjustments, heating/cooling in the seats, a nicer (faux-suede) headliner, and softer carpet. Now we’re talking.
Jaguars have never been known to be go karts. They don’t turn on a dime, and they rarely are stupid quick in a straight line. It’s just not what Jaguar is all about. If you have a Jag, you arrive at your destination in style and elegance. The supercharged 3.0L V6 in this black cat definitely won’t slow you down though. With 340-horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, there’s more than enough get-up-and-go to satisfy even power junkies like me. On the 401 near Cobourg, I decided to pull into the passing lane and stomp on it. The XF literally took off like a rocketship. I may have found “Dynamic Mode” a useless feature on the XJ, but in the XF it’s a huge wow-factor. The 8-speed isn’t DCT-levels of quick, but the paddles are fairly responsive in sport mode.
One of the most impressive things I noticed about the XF was that on the highway, it got a ridiculously surprising 8L/100km. That’s right, better than the Honda Accord. It was right about on par with the “super fuel-efficient” SkyActiv Mazda6. Sure, the Jaguar takes premium fuel (forced induction, and the fact that it’s a Jaaaaaag), but with that kind of economy, who cares? Even when driving it through the perils of rush hour in downtown Toronto, the XF pulled off 10-11L/100km. Phenomenal.
The styling alone would draw me to the XF over any of its competitors. The original car was nice-looking, but it aged quickly. The facelifted model picked up some of its beauty from the styling cues of the gorgeous XK coupé, and it works perfectly. The LED daytime-running lights are quite possibly my favourite lights ever, and the LED taillights are equally pretty. Looking at the Jaguar XF’s side profile, I can’t help but feel as though it’s about an inch too tall, but that can easily be rectified. It’s also an added bonus that it won’t bottom out on driveways.
No British car is perfect, and this XF is no different. In fact, with just over 1000km on my nearly brand-new tester, the sunroof was a pretty finicky unit. On two separate occasions, it took three tries to close; it would come within an inch of the closed position before opening itself fully again. Also, the parking sensors seemed to have a mind of their own; the front sensors would beep incessantly even when backing into a generously-sized spot (and with no obstacles near the front or rear bumpers). The final gripe I had with the car was with the new Jaguar/Land Rover shift knob. The metallic trim is just lovely to look at, but the sun shining on it would bounce glare straight into my eyes. Even with these little niggling issues, I’d still be proud to put a 2013 XF on my driveway.
The 2013 Jaguar XF has blown my mind. It may not be the most technologically advanced, the most beautiful, or the most fun; but I have yet to drive a car that has made me look forward to an evening out as much as the XF did. Yes, you heard me; it’s that great. Plus, when your family or friends want to go out, you’ll have that sheepish smile when you say “I’ll get the keys to the Jaaaaaaaag.”
2013 Jaguar XF AWD Gallery