The 2009 XF from Jaguar ?? the new midsize luxury sedan-in-coupe-clothing that replaced both S- and X-type models last year ?? quickly became one of my favorite new cars, and my recent test of the supercharged version of the new cat only solidifies my stance.
As soon as I slid behind the wheel of the new luxury sedan, I quickly forgot and forgave the previous entry attempts by the automaker. Here is where luxury and performance really begin.
A quick tap on the start button (no key slot anymore) and the XF comes alive. Up from the center console rises the transmission shift knob, and motorized panels on the dash reveal air vents and navigation screen. You??re going to need to plan extra time entertaining passengers (as well as yourself) demonstrating these features.
As the engine fires to life, it responds with a deep, catty growl from the dual exhaust tips in back and anticipation mounts as you slide a hand from the exquisitely-crafted leather and wood steering wheel to turn the shift knob to begin your journey.
Time spent in the XF will be measured in pleasant memories, stored in that part of your cerebral cortex reserved for your first kiss and the birth of a child. True, driving the XF may not rank as high as those other two, but there is only one first kiss and you are only going to have so many children ?? you can drive the XF to your heart??s content.
Technology is in abundance in XF, wrapping occupants in a safety cocoon second to none and always on duty.
XF is an engineering marvel, filled with such technological feats as six-speed automatic sequential shift transmission with JaguarDrive shift-by-wire paddle and rotary knob shifters, Jaguar-sense proximity sensing control for overhead lighting and glovebox release, B&W premium audio system with SIRIUS Satellite radio and portable audio connectivity, DVD-based navigation system with touch screen control and bluetooth connectivity, smartkey keyless entry/start, JaguarVoice that can control many functions simply by asking (thus eliminating the need for taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel), blind spot monitor, front and rear parking aids and rear camera parking aid and adaptive cruise control. Standard features include automatic speed limiter, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic parking brake and much, much more.
XF occupants are protected by anti-lock braking system with emergency brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control through engine and brake intervention, dynamic stability control, cornering brake control and engine drag torque control. And for the first time, the XF features understeer control logic, which has been designed to mitigate understeer by intervening through the engine management and braking systems to decelerate the car and help restore grip to the front wheels.
The new XF has exceptional torsional stiffness, and with a wide rear track it displays excellent handling characteristics. These elements underpin a dynamic ethos that is driver-focused yet supremely comfortable and refined. Just as its looks promise, the new XF excels across the board in every role from a sports car to a luxurious long-distance cruiser.
Pricing for our 2009 XF supercharged with premium luxury package starts at $63,700 and rolls to a final sticker of $66,210 thanks to several add-ons. Fuel economy from the 420hp supercharged 4.2-liter V-8 is a very acceptable 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
And if all of this is still not enough to quench your thirst, Jaguar will release a true ??R?? model XF later this summer with power increasing to some 500 ponies in this cat. Kitty has claws.