“The same engine is shared with the F-Type, albeit in a different state of tune! Gear shifts are butter smooth and shift swiftly both ways.”
The F-Pace and the XE were two big models for Jaguar in 2016. In comparison, the XF had a soft launch. It is one of those cars that give you a good mix of classy feel and driving fun. We took a quick spin in the 2016 Jaguar XF-R Sport to see if the new Jaguar can still excite. We spotted few R-Sport badges around, but that’s mainly an appearance deal.
Throttle inputs were greeted with crisp and immediate response as we cruised down the motorway. The XF feels composed with the serenity of a business saloon. The engine revs really well – we’re talking 450 Nm of torque. The suspension soaks up any kind of surface unevenness with aplomb, thanks to the dynamic dampers on the new XF. Suspension duties up front are taken care of by a double wishbone setup and integral links manage the rear end. Aluminum is used extensively on suspension components to reduce weight and thereby improve vehicle agility and response. Based on the F-Type’s suspension characteristics, you can be assured of excellent dynamics on the new XF. The calm and poised XF is an entirely different animal when you go for high-speed lane changes or emergency maneuvers. Direction control is precise and is aided by the electronic power steering that weighs just right at the right speeds.
The steering is a leather covered three-spoke affair with R-Sport logo and nice grip contours. Plonking the throttle gives out a lovely V6 grunt, typical of Jaguars. Supercharger is a silent unit and I miss hearing the whine every time there is a call for power. Configurable dynamics allow adjustment of suspension, steering and engine response parameters to suit your individual driving style. An eight-inch touchscreen is the center of infotainment and vehicle setup. The touchscreen is flaunted with buttons on either side to switch between music, map, phone and various applications. Personally, I prefer a combination of buttons and touch because sometimes it becomes too hard to find and touch the required option; physical buttons are the saviours! A Meridian 11-speaker sound system gives you the best audio listening experience and further enhances the driving experience. Driving fast with the Jaguar XF is something you will enjoy because of the excellent laser HUD (heads-up display) that shows vehicle speed parameters as well as the GPS directions. All required details are straight in front of your eyes. Very helpful I would say.
Interiors of the XF-R Sport are mainly finished in leather and veneer, and Jaguar provides a host of options for the colors and material for that extra bit of personalization. Our test XF came in Jet Black and red, which shouts ‘Sport’ all day.
Two passengers in the rear would be fine; three would be a tight squeeze. The new XF has a longer wheelbase, but with similar outer dimensions to the previous model. The increase in wheelbase has translated into better legroom and headroom for passengers. I still found the legroom a bit tight.
340-hp is the power output from the 3.0-liter V6 supercharged petrol engine, which is transferred to the rear wheels of the XF-R Sport through an eight-speed transmission. The same engine is shared with the F-Type, albeit in a different state of tune! Gearshifts are butter smooth and shift swiftly both ways. Zero to 100 km/h takes less than six seconds. Power goes to the rear wheels, which is ideal for a car in this genre. A simple front engine with rear-wheel drive layout. 19-inch wheels all around have a satin grey finish with a five-spoke blade design which goes along well with the Italian Racing Red paint on our XF-R sport. This size of wheels may seem like overkill and you may be doubtful about its effect on bad roads; but it works excellently.
Stepping out of the XF-R Sport, you may feel hints of XE all around. Yes, the new XF was built as a bigger XE, which means that the XF now has a lightweight body that is predominantly aluminum. Aluminum helps in cutting down weight as well as improves the structural rigidity of the vehicle. Taillights are now very XE-like and you get a small lip spoiler on the trunk of the new XF-R Sport. One eyesore on the rear end was the diffuser, which looked and felt like a low cost aftermarket add-on. Viewed from the side, familiar XF lines can be seen flowing from the front to the rear. Low aerodynamic drag is achieved on the new XF with subtle changes to the shape, stance and minor aero elements. Horizontal air slats located just behind the front wheel arch feature R-Sport accents to improve aesthetics. The front view of the new XF shouts aggression minus the two horizontal chrome slats in the air dams, which are not present on the top spec XF-S. Headlights with xenon units are slimmer compared to the previous gen model and feature the J-blade daytime running lights. The honeycomb mesh grille is a familiar Jaguar affair now and looks great on the XF-R Sport as well.
One of the best features worth mentioning on the new XF would be the starting sequence. You get in and push the start button, the air conditioner vents slide open and the gear selector rotary knob rises up from its position followed by the smooth idling sound of the V6. It’s like a ballet and you get to see it every time you turn on the engine.
Driving a Jaguar XF-R Sport in this part of the world guarantees you two things: one, is that you won’t come across a similar breed (Brit) and the second is that you are bound to gather attention from just the right kind of people. We can assure you that the XF-R Sport certainly sits along with the more established German 3’s. After all, here’s a car that gives you a good balance of fun and business!
Pros: Good handling, composed chassis, revs really well, smart interiors
Cons: Limited second row legroom
Rivals: Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Infiniti Q70, Lexus GS
Engine: 3.0 liter V6 supercharged, 340 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 450 Nm @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, RWD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 6 sec, top speed: 250 km/h, 10.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1,872 kg
one word: waltz