Jaguar has always made cars of such quality that they set the benchmark for everything that follows. Unfortunately, producing benchmark cars is a bit like high fashion - everyone loves to look at it but not many actually buy it, choosing instead the safer and more practical options. Jaguar is hoping that the new XF sports coupe will give the company the boost they need after several years of declining sales and their recent take-over by India's Tata from the previous owners, Ford. Historically appealing to older and more conservative customers, with this year's XF, Jaguar is aiming squarely at the 30-somethings with more sporty power and expression than ever before - and hopefully more sales.
The body styling is, in a word, sexy. It combines the sheer beauty of sweeping aerodynamic lines with the sporty aggression of a coupe to create something completely different from the rest of the pack, and yet so typically Jaguar, in many ways reminiscent of the iconic XJ series.
2009 Jaguar XF Performance
There is no doubt that in performance Jaguar is in a class of its own. In comparison, Mercedes and BMW feel mass-produced, thanks to the lovingly hand-made feel of every detail, by professionals who are deeply passionate about the cars they build.
This year there are two engines available for the XF in the US, the 4.2-liter V8 300hp and the supercharged, intercooled version of the same engine that can churn out a full 420hp - there are also rumors of a 500hp model coming out later this year which will be well worth waiting for. But for now what we have is pretty special. The first thing you notice in the new XF is the absence of a gear shifter. In its place is the Jaguar Drive Selector - a unique rotary gear shift control that majestically rises out of the console when you start the engine - not by a key but by the red flashing start button. To take off you just need to rotate the Drive Selector to 'Drive'? and go, and if the mood takes you, there are wheel-mounted shift paddles that engage manual transmission. But why would you want to when you have transmission options like 'Sport'? mode which shifts you down a gear for increased rpm, and even adjusts the suspension accordingly. The lightning fast gear changes are thanks to Jaguar's Sequential Shift which uses electronic commands rather than manual shift linkages, and makes for aÂ transmission that beats even the XK in swiftness.
The speed is phenomenal, with the supercharged V8 making 60mph in just 5.1 seconds, and the regular V8 in 6.2 seconds. But there is more to this car than speed - it is the combination of superior engineering features all working together for a smooth and sensual ride. The brakes are unexpectedly firm and responsive thanks to the larger vented front discs on the supercharged model, and the standard 20inch wheels plus the Computer Adaptive Technology Suspension which automatically senses driving conditions and adjusts suspension accordingly, give a handling experience that other luxury cars can only dream of.
2009 Jaguar XF Interior and Features
The 2009 Jaguar XF is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside in its elegant simplicity. It is not one of those sporty coupes who feel the need to fill the inside with hugely bolstered seats and flashy consoles to justify the sports label. The XF features ergonomically excellent seats covered in standard cream leather upholstery with plenty of wood trim and textured aluminum accents for a sophisticated feel. The outlook through the windscreen is surprisingly big, giving the impression of even more space, and there is ample legroom and headroom in the front even for the tallest adults despite the coupe styling. Even the back seat is quite enough for the kids and small adults at a comfortable 36 inches.
In the spirit of BMW's controversial iDrive multi-media interface, but much better executed, is Jaguar's touch-screen system that controls the audio, navigation and climate systems of the car including your iPod and iPhone. Everything that opens and shuts, like the glovebox and internal lights, does so with a touch sensor, air-conditioning vents pop out of the dash when the start button is pressed and turn to open position, and the blue-lit instrument panel gives the whole effect a space-ship feel. If you need more gadgets, there is a DVD-based navigation system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, rear parking camera and massive 440-watt B&W 13-speaker sound system optional on the base model and standard on the supercharged XF.
2009 Jaguar XF Safety
The Jaguar XF features the full range of safety features from stability control to blind spot monitors plus the full range of airbags available to make it one of the safest cars on the road.
- 4-wheel anti-lock vented disc brakes
- Dual stage front, seat mounted and rear side curtain bags
- 3-point restraints and pretensioners for all seatbelts
- LATCH child seat tethered anchors
- Active head restraints
- TRAC dynamic stability control
Overall the 2009 Jaguar XF is a true driver's car, built with the highest quality of engineering and craftsmanship available anywhere in the world. There is a lot riding on the success of this sports coupe for Jaguar, and to translate the admiration into sales will mean a much more secure future for this great car manufacturer.