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Old 22nd January 2008, 09:03   #1
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Thumbs up The "NEW" Jag

Balaji Telefilms release TV serials with similar plots and hence predictable events. Apparently, their successful formula has got many viewers glued to the TV screen thereby being a hit. Similarly, although in a different sector, Jaguar, the British car driven by Inspector Morse has always tried to satisfy worldwide buyers to prefer their car to the Mercs and even the Beamers. And they decided to do that using their S-Type which I must admit is a good car; only to a certain extent. There was absolutely least obvious alterations one could spot in its’ “new” released models. It was beginning to be considered very old-fashioned and at times dull. The car therefore deserves a classic car categorisation. There were built quality issues and its brakes behaved funnily; actually dangerously. The formula didn’t quite help them and finally, it seems, they have realized it. Jaguar is now awake in the 2000s’ and has finally made a car that can actually be called “new”.
The Jaguar XF as being driven out for a test drive blew me away by its’ design. Although its’ rear section bears resemblances with the Martins, the LED headlamps makes you exclaim “Ah! Finally a new Jag”. The vents and the 17” alloys (upgradable to Selena 20” alloys), the dimensions; they are all just right. I am not a fan of its hood that appears to be an after-market as it stands out from the cleaner trunk design. The rising shoulder and fatter hind contributes to its’ muscular appearance. The front and rear headlamps, Bentley like front grill further makes it look as if it is of new times and not grey haired. It bears the sporty look like the Continental GT. Figuratively, the width ensures easy and comfy accommodation of 5 passengers. Since, the tail lifts from the waistline of the car, there is an increased boot space up to 540litres. Need more? Split folding the rear seats reveals another 420 litre space. In turn, this body shape helps in aerodynamics. All this could be used as a weapon against the Audi A6, the Mercs and the Beamers. All the RWD variants of the XF look the same; 2.7 litre V6 Diesel, 3.0 litre V6 Petrol, 4.8 litre V8 Petrol and the 4.2 litre Supercharged V8 Petrol in three varying trim levels: Luxury, Premium luxury and SV8. Oh, the SV8 carries an extra badge; just thought you would like to know.

As you step inside, the uncluttered space allotted to each of the cars’ interior components make it very spacious. The touch-screen, the phosphor blue coloured illumination in the aluminium interior instruments (voice control enabled) and dials of the Jag which turn off if not being used, the perforated leather seats facilitating warm or cool air blown from fans, the handcrafted real wooden veneer, 16-way driver and 12-way passenger seats adjustments, the 7.1 Dolby surround 14 speaker plus sub-woofer, 440W Bowers&Wilkins music system allowing iPod and USB connectivity satisfying audiophiles, the auto-opening of air-con vents from their hidden shells when power is turned on; phew!!! All this makes you feel as if you have entered some funky bar. This re-confirms that this Jag is not a dyed hair model, it has all its’ teeth intact as well. The interior is comparatively better than the exterior. For the first time, Jaguar is not providing a cloth interior option like its predecessors.

Ignite it and then a whole lot of animation occurs within the car. For instance, the innovative round dome shaped alloy gear knob arises in the central console, the air-con vents slide into position, the LCD turns on, a system check is performed and the car purrs to be driven. The engine igniting button has red lights alternatively lighting and diminishing as if a heartbeat of the wild cat. The auto-gear shifting knob is similar to the I-drive system in the Beamers. Just rotate the Jaguar drive selector to D and the car is mobile. The three-spoke steering wheel has cruise control system as standard. This car also offers Adaptive cruise control that adapts to traffic condition. In addition, it also has a speed limiter. There are blind-spot indicators that aid in parking and even lane-changing. Jaguar has also acted to minimise pedestrian injury. The actuators are fired deploying the bonnet when in contact with any pedestrian. This results in the body falling on to the cushioned space between the engine components and bonnet.

This is how the cat scarpers; performance. The 2.7 litre V6 diesel (207bhp) and 3.0 litre V6 petrol (238bhp) has similar performance figures. They both reach 100ks in 8.2 seconds (top speed - 230). The V8 petrol (416bhp) does it in 6.5 seconds and the supercharged variant in 5.5 seconds (top speed of the V8s’ are limited to 250). The SV8 (Supercharged V8) delivers 413 lb/ft of torque at 3500rpm which thrills a car enthusiast. It grips better and noticeably has less body roll when compared to its’ sisters. The suspension however is tad stiffer in the SV8 making it less comfy but aiding in the grip department than the other variants. So, I can boldly say that the weaker engine is more of an all-rounder than the other models since it is both comfortable and powerful. However, if you desire even better pick-up and like the whining sound produced supercharger the SV8 won’t disappoint. Being a V8, the free-revving car is surprisingly quiet. A standard automatic gearbox is provided with all the variants and hence no manual transmission is provided. However, the six-speed gearbox does allow selection of gears using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

There is a slight disappointment when it comes to gas mileage, rear seat passenger comfort and quietness in the cabin (while in motion). The V8 and the SV8 ran around 22-25 mpg. The diesel variant returns 37 mpg. A few tall blokes i our team couldn’t comfortably sit in the rear seats for a longer duration; this surprises as the exterior dimensions are more than a 5-series BMW. It is inevitable to even notice the in-cabin wind noise while driving the car.

The XF will be replacing the S-Type in future. The basic sub-structure is taken from the S-Type. And, the suspension and mountings being similar to the splendid XK reasons the great handling.

Having appreciated the “new” Jaguar, it also saddens me that this particular model marks the death of the wild cat. Although the “new” design, innovation and performance deserve applause, it was the peculiar shape of the car that could be distinctly recognized; circular head lamps, the moulded chrome wild cat on the hood which is now replaced by a badge. The very essence of Jaguar is lost. The car performs well with slightly disappointing gas mileage and looks that is hard to be either complemented or critiqued. Since it is new, it is appreciated. But since it bears resemblances with the Aston Martin (hind side), Bentley and Kia (front side), G35 (side profile) and even Lexus, it is critiqued. Well, the growler badge should eradicate all such doubts.

While asked on my opinion of its success, I highlighted that Jaguar buyers have always been ones who want a Jaguar and do not consider any other car(s) during purchase. If such Jaguar buyers are still alive, then this car might bring around the company. Else, the company may belt down. By the way, I am not quite sure whether buyers would prefer this to its competitors unless and until they preferred something special or different. I conclude that this Aston-ish looking car is astonishingly impressive and literally “new”; it won the “Car of the year” and “Best Executive car” in 2008.

PS: Pictures taken from Jaguar Official website (United Kingdom)

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Old 22nd January 2008, 09:30   #2
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I note you are currently in australia. A quick look at the jaguar website shows that the XF will only arrive in mid 2008 in australia. Also the lack of genuine pics, only pics from the website make me assume that this is an armchair review based on different reports.

We have never seen actual pics of the cars under review so till then I make my assumptions on this report.
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