The R&T staff drives and performance tests hundreds of new cars every year. Because we don't have time to give each one the full review treatment, we share select logbook notes here, in a quick, easily-digested format. Unless noted otherwise, each test car is in the office for two weeks and is driven by every member of the editorial staff. Each staffer spends at least one day, but often more, in each car.
David Gluckman, Associate Editor
I'm all for engine downsizing, to a point. I loved the 5.0-liter V8 that came in these XFs from the start. They sounded great and had plenty of power, but of course the fuel economy wasn't fantabulous. So going with the supercharged six looks okay on paper, except that it doesn't have as much power as the engine it's replacing, and it kind of shows. The car goes from slightly overpowered to slightly under, and it kind of sounds like nothing. For some reason, it doesn't have the pleasant whine that Jag's blown V8s do, either.
I think this car's all-wheel-drive system sapped a little bit of the fun, too. I actually didn't realize it was an all-wheel-driver and was wondering why it didn't want to rotate on one of my favorite commute turns. AWD will definitely help Jaguar sell more of them—sales have already borne that out—but it mutes what is otherwise a pretty talkative chassis. Oh well. At least it's not standard.
This is the Jaguar that straddles the line between the modern era and the classic feel of an older XJ Vanden Plas. It's not tech-laden, and the chassis sings when paired with the right powertrain.
Exterior and interior are starting to look dated. And the infotainment system was ancient when this car launched years ago.
Alex Kierstein, Web Editor
There are so many reasons to like this Jaguar—a car I was not necessarily a fan of when it appeared, wall-eyed headlights and all, seven years ago. A facelift in 2011 helped a lot, and our car's black paint helped, too. Likewise, the manic supercharged V6, which is crazed and eager here. It's not too much motor, but it's a lot of power, and the XF isn't that large. It makes 2 tons seem like a lot less, and it's not even the lairiest of the XFs. Of course, I get to enjoy it as a short-term loaner, and the ownership proposition is still eyebrow-raising, at best. But it's politely unruly, and I can't fault it for that.
Fast, sleek, and pretty. Near the end of its life, I find myself really liking this car.
Strangely missing some tech features that would seem de rigeur at this price point. If your heart's set on an XF, don't look too closely at how much Audi you can get for this money.
Josh Condon, Senior Editor
Jag's new "Good to be Bad" marketing campaign is quite catchy, and it's hard not to think of it when approaching this sexy, menacing XF in the parking lot. And it carries through inside, almost always a Jag strong suit, with jewelry-like buttons on the console storage drawers and shiny, substantial touch points offsetting the soft leather and h carpeting.
And despite some hellacious boost lag, the cat likes to run. The steering is light for my tastes, but direct and accurate, and there's a tremendous, visceral connection to what the car is doing from the driver's seat. Throw in the incredible looks, and it's hard to argue against this XF.
Love the overall balance and response, and the cabin is a quiet, luxurious haven.
Boost lag is … … … annoying.