The Cat Is Back: Jaguar XF

The Cat Is Back: Jaguar XF

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The lastest Jaguar is the hot, new XF -- a car designed by Ian Callum, who produced the Aston Martin DB7.

The lastest Jaguar is the hot, new XF -- a car designed by Ian Callum, who produced the Aston Martin DB7.

Just weeks before the Ford Motor Company sold Jaguar (and Land Rover) to Indian automaker Tata Motors, the most important Jaguar sedan of this generation made its worldwide debut. The 2009 XF, a luxury sports sedan, is the first Jaguar ever to be introduced simultaneously in multiple markets; a feat the automaker hopes will help carry the brand forward.

The timing of the XF’s introduction is significant as the brand’s overall sales numbers have been declining steadily with just 664 cars sold stateside in January 2008. Replacing the aged S-Type, the XF offers crisper lines, very good handling, and probably the best finish of any car available today. With 10,000 customers having put down their deposit money even before the XF arrived, Jaguar’s future is suddenly much brighter.

The XF’s exterior styling advances the dramatic shift Jaguar made when the XK was introduced for the 2006 model year. Bold and athletic, the XF is the first sedan crafted by famed car designer Ian Callum who created the Aston Martin DB7 among other coupes. Several coupe design themes, such as the front and rear windscreens, have been integrated into the XF.

Matte finish wood trim, bond grain leather seating surfaces, and brushed aluminum appointments are generously employed throughout the sedan’s interior which seats five adults. Cabin controls are easily within reach of the driver as most functions are operated by a compact touch-screen display. The Bower & Wilkins audio surround sound system with iPod and MP3 connectivity is standard, with optional dual rear-facing LCD screens built into each front headrest, providing an entertaining diversion for young passengers.

Upon starting the XF, a knob emerges from the face of the console — the lever used to shift the sedan into gear — automatically retreating below surface again when the sedan is turned off. For drivers seeking active control, steering paddles are located behind the wheel to allow for manual shifting.

The 4.2L V8 is a carry over from the S-Type, a 300-hp engine that moves the Jaguar with conviction from 0 to 60 in about six seconds. A supercharged adaptation of the engine shaves a full second off of that number; both versions are paired with Jaguar’s 6-speed “manumatic” transmission.

An ample 18 cubic feet of trunk storage can be expanded when the split backrest is folded forward, providing more than enough room for sporting gear, luggage, and carrying oversized items.

The standard XF lists for $49,975 or $55,975 for the premium luxury model while the supercharged sedan is priced at $62,975.

The Jaguar XF is a strong expression of the direction that Jaguar is taking, a remarkable rear wheel drive luxury sedan ready to take on its German and Japanese rivals.

Photo Credit: Jaguar Motors Ltd.


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