Jaguar has introduced its much-anticipated XF, the all-new replacement for its mid-lineup S-Type sedan. The production version is more subdued than the concept car shown at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, especially the front fascia and headlights, which are more mainstream and less Aston Martin-like.
The concept’s visual effect has been mostly preserved at the rear of the car, with short overhangs that hint at its sporting intentions.
While we wish that more of the concept’s aggressiveness had carried over, the production XF is miles ahead of the current S-Type in terms of styling. Jaguar’s Design Chief Ian Callum is embarking on an effort to modernize the Jag sedan lineup, which is at the moment comprised of gorgeously retro cars with a strong emphasis on tradition.
The XF will compete with mid-level offerings from other European manufacturers (mainly the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6), and will offer comparable performance, with elevated aesthetics and luxury. The XF press release makes much of the fact that the car will have lower decibel levels than its nearest competitor, the 5-Series.
The XF’s interior is awash in what Jaguar calls “modern luxury.” As silly as marketing-speak is sometimes, this phrase is appropriate. Brushed aluminum and satin surfaces contrast with any of three wood trim choices, and Jaguar boasts that the XF features more forestry than any of its cars since the MK II saloon of the 1960’s.
Jaguar has really gone the extra mile in kicking this car into the 21st century, with a generous helping of mood lighting. Yes, mood lighting. The press release claims that the “phosphor blue” hue will soothe the driver and won’t clash with the car’s indicator lights (which illuminate in red, green, and yellow). We’re betting that the phosphor blue will be a bigger hit with younger customers than old, and we’re also betting that that’s just the way Jaguar wants it. The lights are used for a halo effect around operational buttons, and to illuminate door-mounted switches and the center console.
That halo effect also rings the new, much-anticipated transmission debuting in the XF. Jaguar, in a nod to tradition, held onto its distinctive “J-gate” shifter for what some would consider too long. Now, they have leap-frogged into the future, with a gorgeous chrome rotary-style button for gear selection. The knob itself is recessed into the console, until you hit the start button – then it pops up to provide access. Turn the knob, and your gear choice (P R N D L) will be illuminated. There is a manual mode, which is controlled with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
That transmission will put down power with several engines. No, the 2.7-liter turbocharged diesel V6 won’t find its way to the United States, but the 3.0-liter gasoline V6 will. The all-aluminum unit develops 240hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, with 80 percent of that being available at just 1500 rpm. Excellent stuff, but we’re a little perplexed at the decision not to include the rave-worthy 3.5-liter, 263hp V6 found in certain Ford and Lincoln products. Although if you want more power, there will be two V8s available: a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter unit making 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, and a supercharged version with 420 horsepower and 408 lb-ft of torque.
Performance will be brisk. The 3.0 will get to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 148 mph. The 4.2 will do sixty in 6.2 seconds and top out at 155 mph, while the supercharged V8 tops them all at 5.1 seconds and 155 mph.
The XF will come in three trim levels, which will look mostly identical in exterior appearance. It is slated to hit the market in spring of 2008, and we look forward to getting our paws on this very futuristic cat.