Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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Based on a concept car called the C-XF ("C" for concept), the 2009 XF is a midsize four-door that will replace the Jaguar S-Type. Competition models include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac STS, Lexus GS sedan and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This mid-sized, rear-wheel-drive sedan offers a fresh, engaging alternative to these luxury imports. The XF comes in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Supercharged trim levels. The Jaguar XF delivers everything you'd expect in a contemporary luxury sedan, and then some. The big news with XF is styling, interior design and features, though the hardware underneath is anything but ordinary.
The 2009 Jaguar XF sedan is a thoroughly modern automobile. This essential Jaguar character is defined by the XF's face, and centered on a prominent grille that launches nearly all of the lines flowing rearward across the car. Wing-shaped headlight clusters wrap around the XF's corners onto its fenders. The XF exhibits the first application of Jaguar's new design direction in a sedan. The windshields has a raked angle windshield, and the XF carries front fender vents similar to the XK's. Distinctive characteristics include a sculpted hood and a prominent aluminum frame surrounding the side windows. Around back are high-mounted LED taillights that emulate Aston Martin — much like the XK was charged with ripping off an Aston-style front end. Alloy wheel sizes range from 17 to 20 inches. Jaguar has applied a host of high-tech metals, including high-carbon steels, dual-phase steel, hot-formed boron and bake-hardened steels, to create a vertical safety ring around the XF's occupant cell. While the XF's body is larger, Jaguar also claims that it is the most torsionally rigid car in the class, meaning that it flexes less from end to end under pressure. The XF's basic shape does more than create a high-impact presence. Aerodynamically, it's the most efficient Jaguar sedan ever, with an impressive 0.29 drag coefficient and a front-to-rear lift balance of zero.
Inside, the Jaguar XF has everything expected to be in a sporting luxury sedan. The interior combines traditional cues with contemporary touches. When the engine is started, the JaguarDrive Selector knob rises out of the console, and closed air conditioning vents rotate to the open position. Actions like these and the pulsing-red engine Start button are what interior designers call theater. All seats are leather, with perforated inserts between the bolsters. The base Luxury package gets what Jaguar calls bond-grain, and it's thick and sturdy. The Premium Luxury and SC models get soft-grain leather. The XF also uses proximity sensors in place of switches or handles for the reading lights and glove compartment lid — a wave of the hand does the trick. The XF's relatively large trunk can be expanded by folding the backseat forward. The cabin is relatively high-tech, the overhead lights, for example, work simply with a touch. In general, the XF's features and controls empower the driver without overpowering.
The 4.2 liter V8 comes naturally aspirated or supercharged. The normally aspirated V8 is no slouch in output, delivering 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. With its belt-driven, rotor-type blower, the supercharged 4.2, or SC, generates 420 hp and 408 lb-ft. It's easily the most powerful engine in this class, save those in limited-volume hotrod cars from BMW's M division, Mercedes AMG and the like, expensive cars with expensive engines. Dynamic and Winter modes optimize the accelerator progression, shift schedules and stability-system operation for sporty driving and foul weather, respectively.
The new Jaguar XF measures up to the best cars in its class in just about every respect, and its over-the-road performance is excellent. Jaguar says the 300-horsepower engine propels the XF from zero to 60 mph in roughly 6.2 seconds. The top trim level has a 420-hp supercharged version of the 4.2-liter that's claimed to blast to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The lower trim levels have conventional four-wheel-independent suspensions, and the Supercharged model comes standard with Computer Adaptive Technology Suspension, an electronically controlled adaptive-damper suspension that smoothes out bumps and controls body motions. The XF is smooth, fast, and responsive, but also quiet and comfortable.
The 2009 Jaguar XF is available in three trim levels with a choice of two V8 engines. All feature a six-speed automatic transmission with a paddle-operated manual mode. Standard and optional features include heated and cooled front seats, front and rear sonar parking aids, a backup camera, a blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth wireless phone capability and inputs for an iPod, a generic MP3 player or a USB storage device. There's a choice of three audio rigs, the best of which is a Bowers & Wilkins premium surround-sound system. Sirius Satellite Radio is also an option.
The XF 4.2 Luxury is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 delivering 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The Luxury is one of the best equipped base models in this class, with features like rear park assist, passive keyless entry and start and a power glass sunroof included in the price.
The XF 4.2 Premium Luxury has the same normally aspirated V8 as the standard model, with even more luxury features. Its standard equipment list adds a GPS navigation system, soft-grain leather on the seats, dash and door panels, three-stage heated front seats and 19-inch wheels, among other things.
The XF 4.2 SC, or Supercharged, comes standard with just about everything Jaguar offers, including 20-inch wheels. Most significantly, it features a supercharged version of the V8 and CATS, the Computer Active Technology Suspension.
Airbags included on the XF are dual-stage frontal airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, and curtain airbags for front and rear side-impact protection. Rear park assist is standard on all models, with a graphic display on the dash. The rearview camera, front park assist and blind-spot monitor are standard on the SC and optional on other models. Active safety features include Dynamic Stability Control and the latest-generation antilock brakes (ABS).
The excellent aerodynamics help keep the XF stable at high speeds, reduce wind noise inside and reduce fuel consumption at a given speed, compared to a car with more drag. The new 2009 Jaguar XF, which replaces the S-Type sedan, has all the earmarks of a hit. It's great looking, smooth and comfortable, with the features buyers expect in this class, and then some. Perhaps best of all, it accelerates quicker and handles as well or better than some of the best cars in its class, including the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Lexus GS. The XF's interior is both gorgeous and charming, and less confusing or annoying than some of its competitors. The 2009 XF offers a choice of powerful V8 engines, and both get excellent mileage for cars with this performance. The least expensive V8 model is priced the same or less than some comparably equipped, six-cylinder competitors. Jaguar anticipates EPA fuel economy ratings of the XF at 17 City, 23 Highway, which is better than any current V8-powered car in the class, and better than some six-cylinders.