If you go back to late 2007 when the XF first debuted, it broke Jaguar sedans away from the retro artistic look they've been drawing out since the '60s. I drove the XF last year back in Spain. Now it is the time to test it in the Middle East region, and more specifically in Beirut. I acquired the all-new second generation XF from the official distributor of Jaguar in Lebanon, Saad & Trad.
At first sight, I asked myself again: is that the new Jag? Yes it is. The 2016 XF is entirely new; it just doesn't look as new as it is. It was surely a hard task for Ian Callum, chief of design at Jaguar, to redesign it. Bear in mind that more than 280,000 XFs have been sold worldwide since the car was debuted in 2007, and in its last full year of production global sales reached 48,000. It is one of the most prosperous four-door Jaguars ever produced! Let me tell you something, the new Jag XF is all about its dynamics - though the predator cat is still dominant in its skeleton. Aluminum accounts for approximately 75 percent of the body, backing to claimed weight savings of 60 kilograms on RWD models, and 120 kilograms on AWD versions.
My demo car was the 2.0-liter turbocharged, producing 240 horsepower with quite a big mount of torque, 340 Nm. How did it drive? Over the roads, the XF is quiet with the 2.0-liter turbo engine. Jag has done some ingenious things to put more cats in more garages than ever before. But, my only concern was the awkward infotainment system that made me spend a bit of time surfing around it. And, the V6 supercharged engine that I drove back in Spain is different than the four-cylinder. The hairpins and tight corners on the Lebanese mountainous roads were no match for the V6 and its handling capabilities. The 2.0T is quite the vehicle for people calm personalities. For the 2016 model versus the outgoing 2015 model, it's a wholly altered story: the XF offers lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system and automatic high beams. It also touts available adaptive LED headlights and front and rear parking sensors, which really were detected during my weekend drive.
Jaguar gives more. Jaguar delivers more. Jaguar's done a firm job of growing the XF into the car that accurately offers a fascinating and dynamic driving experience that is quite close to the German rivals in that segment. But, I must confess that the car would compete more with Cadillac and the luxurious Japanese brands, such as Infiniti and Lexus. Check out your nearest dealership and request a drive; if you are planning for a new vehicle in that segment, the XF will surely make it to your shortlist.
One word: 'agiler'
Rivals: BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti Q70, Maserati Ghibli, Hyundai Genesis, Lexus GS
Pros: Agreeable to drive, comfortable on the inside, competitive price that includes more features, efficient engine, available AWD
Cons: Hard to differentiate it from its predecessor, unfamiliar infotainment system
2.0 L turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder, 240 hp @ 5500 rpm, 340 Nm @ 1750-4000 rpm
ZF 8-speed automatic, RWD/AWD
0-100 km/h: 7 sec, top speed: 248 km/h, fuel consumption: 7.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1590 kg