The Jaguar XF is a beautiful car. From any angle, it doesnâ€™t matter. Itâ€™s a good thing, too. Until the XF came along Jags had become a 1960s time capsule, while the rest of the world had moved at broadband speed into the noughties.
Styling cues such as the chrome grille and rounded headlights remind us of Jaguarâ€™s great legacy. Importantly, though, Jaguar has shed tired clichÃ©s in favour of a new direction that enables it to compete alongside the established German players.
This would all count for nothing if its beauty was only skin deep. But itâ€™s not. Step inside and, again, the interior is clearly defined by the century in which it was created. A pleasing mix of materials give the XF a New England feel.
Not only that, if you select the Satin American Walnut option you will see that Jaguar has managed to use timber without it looking like a cheap plastic knock off. The leather dash is a nice touch, as well. The bright blue night lighting is clearly not from the old school Jaguar playbook. It looks great, too, although a little garish at first. Other nice touches include the automatic opening air vents and the gear selector that rises from the centre console after you have pressed the starter button.
Four engine choices are available in the XF range, including a smartly priced 3.0 litre V6 petrol, a surprisingly brisk 3.0 V6 diesel and a pair of stonking 5.0 litre V8s. In XFR trim Jaguar even take the trouble of bolting on a supercharger. The range ensures all desires, from sensible to stark raving mad, are covered.
Thereâ€™s an impressive 175kW and 293Nm of torque on offer from the entry level petrol V6. The diesel V6 and its twin turbos provide 202kW, with a headline grabbing 600Nm of torque. The naturally aspirated V8 has 293kW/515Nm, which would normally seem like enough power. However, when the supercharged V8 serves up 375kW/625Nm youâ€™ll want a piece of that action.
The interior and engine options get a big tick, then. What about the driving experience?
After spending a few days behind the wheel of the XF I was pleased to learn it has the credibility to match its svelte looks. Cruising around Canberra certainly attracted plenty of attention. Thatâ€™s nice to know, of course, but the asking price warrants more than a wink and a nod from fellow road users. Thankfully, the Jaguar XF doesnâ€™t disappoint.
Warm fuzzy feelings are also provided by the carâ€™s overall user experience. The well appointed interior is user-friendly and a very comfortable place to be. Itâ€™s true the ride may not be as plush as you might expect. However, the benefit of that is a chassis and suspension set up that has many strings to its bow.
The six-speed automatic, found in all XF models, is a real gem. It might not have the wow factor of the latest double clutch transmissions, but it is such a good match to the car that you never want for anything more. If you select dynamic mode and use the manual paddles on the steering wheel, you will notice an increased urgency, as well as having complete control of the gearbox. Regardless of where you find yourself in the rev range.
The test car was fitted with the 3.0 V6 diesel engine. Silky and smooth are the best words to describe it. With 600Nm of torque there is a large usable sweet spot providing truly effortless motoring.
When it was time to return the keys I found myself reluctant to do so. Which leads me to an easy conclusion. The XF has raised the bar for Jaguar and the luxury establishment had better take notice.