Generally speaking, I don't get too upset about the growing need to replace displacement in modern cars. Sure, there are exceptions (don't you touch my 6.2-liter AMG V8), but honestly, the industry's new forced induction powertrains are all lovely, and their gains in fuel economy – when they actually make good on them – can make up for the ever-so-slight losses in performance or driving character.

But I'm having a hard time keeping my chin up with this Jaguar XF. For the 2013 model year, Jaguar has killed off the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 and fitted a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with an eight-speed automatic in its place (and even offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine below that). That all sounds perfectly well and good, but a week behind the wheel of this British Racing Green sedan just left me missing that V8. And then some.

Driving Notes
  • It's funny, with excellent new products like the XJ and F-Type, the XF is really starting to show its age in some areas, especially inside its cabin. Thankfully, the svelte XF still looks great as ever on the outside, and I'm really digging the smoothed-out headlamp treatment that was fitted for the 2012 model year.
  • The XF continues to garner attention from pedestrians in a way that the BMW 5 Series simply cannot. I love the kinda-sorta British Racing Green of this test car, and the 20-inch Hydra five-spoke alloy wheels really round out the whole athletic design, though they're a costly option – $3,075 for the set – and do nothing to improve this XF's hefty $69,420 bottom line.
  • Like I said, though, the problems with the XF are found inside. The cabin is noisy at highway speeds, with lots of audible wind noise penetrating the glasshouse, and overall, the materials used here just feel a bit dated. I still hate the gimmicky thou-shault-have-air electronic vents, and the onboard technology is tough to use and very, very slow to respond to touch. Huge losses in an otherwise very tech-savvy segment.
  • The supercharged V6 is rated at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque – decreases of 40 hp and 48 lb-ft versus the naturally aspirated V8. The good news is, thanks to a better power curve, the deficits don't affect acceleration, with Jaguar quoting the same 5.7-second 0-60 time for both the 2012 5.0 and 2013 3.0 models.
  • Another part of the reason for the 0-60 time not changing is due to weight. The new powertrain technology is a bit lighter than the outgoing V8/six-speed setup, and a full 165 pounds has been shaved off the car's curb weight in the process.
  • The other gain for the V6 – fuel economy – looks great on paper. Jaguar reports EPA fuel economy figures of 17 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for this new XF 3.0, which represent increases of 1/5/2 mpg (city/highway/combined) versus the 5.0 V8 model.
  • The bad news is that, after my week of driving, my combined fuel economy number of 18.6 mpg was slightly less than the old rating. I put the XF through a pretty even mix of city and highway driving, so I was certainly expecting better. Colleagues have expressed disappointment with fuel economy here, as well, so I don't think I'm alone.
  • On top of that, while I generally like the new eight-speed automatic transmission, it's not great for moments of driving enthusiasm. Often times, the gearbox fired off really hard shifts and struggled to find the right gear. A shame, since my recent experience with the same new ZF eight-speed in the Range Rover Sport was completely without fault.
  • Generally, though, the XF is still a peach to drive. For me, it still falls behind the Audi A6 in terms of great-to-drive dynamics, but I appreciate the XF's light steering and relatively good suspension tuning. There's a bit more body roll than I'd like here, and the whole package just doesn't have that same sort of vault-like solidity on the road that the Germans have managed to perfect, but generally speaking, it's a fine steer.
  • Problem is, without noticeable fuel economy improvements here, I really still prefer the dynamic of the naturally aspirated V8 XF – it was one of my favorite packages in the midsize luxury class. Thankfully, Jaguar now offers all-wheel drive on the V6 cars, which will surely help sales in snow belt states, and you can still get the rip-roaring V8 in the Supercharged and XFR trims.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Nick Allain
      • 2 Years Ago
      I still like this car. I drove the XF V6 AWD and found it to be everything most people in New England want in a Jag. It's not my cup of tea, but I'm not most people. I'll take that XFR any day of the week. That thing is a highway bomber.
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Time
      • 2 Years Ago
      I cant believe so many people are complaining about the interior. Its still very classy and uspcale...and this is a drivers car so why on earth are you even spending that much time fiddling with things. Becuase of these comments about the interior, next thing you know Jaguar will have a major "revamp" of it and behold, these same people still wont be impressed and will continue to compare the interior to a leatherette and faux wood corrolla interior.
      Audi Love
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw 3 Jaguar XF's in a row the other day. Beautiful car.
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      My parents bought a 2010 Jaguar and have so many jealous coworkers and neighbors. The XF still has the best looking ass in the driveway. No problems with reliability yet (knock on wood).
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Beautiful car.
      Classic_Engr
      • 2 Years Ago
      This XF is still a great car, and a great Jaguar. Everything is relative: Calling the shifts "hard" might be a bit exaggerated. But I would certainly call Jaguar's ZF shift calibration "crisp" when compared to other cruisers/sport sedans/saloons equipped with an auto, and I prefer it. Especially in a sporting sedan like this. It not only results in faster shifts, it actually increases the life of the transmission. I really appreciate the double down-shifts from say, 5th to 3rd when I increase throttle 50%. It responds instantly and really moves. Smoother shift calibrations not only take longer between shifts, they increase friction and wear. I've actually inspected the difference in wear on two of the same automatic transmission from another manufacturer--one standard smoother shifting sample from the factory, and one modified with new solenoids, valving, accumulators, and stronger springs--and you could actually see the difference in wear on the clutch plates and fluid. But most commuters prefer not to feel ANYTHING during a shift, so... As for "struggling to find the right gear", just keep it in SPORT mode. I've never had this happen on the new ZF 8-spd. Ever. And the comment on "falling behind the A6 in terms of great driving dynamics." Really? I would suggest pitting the correct XF sport model vs. an A6 back-to-back...on the same day. Turn-in response and balance is far better in the XF, inspiring confidence on mountains switchbacks. That is unless you prefer lots of "safe" understeer. Then the A6 will be more to your liking. Now, there's nothing wrong with the A6. It's a nice car and the interior is a very nice place to spend time, but does California really need another Audi on the road? Think about it. "M's" comments below summarize this best.
        M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Classic_Engr
        Agreed with the statement " It responds instantly and really moves.", referring to the 2012 V8. I use the Sport mode from time to time and enjoy it every time. Though the V8 naturally aspirated is not a rocket engine and there are cars much faster out there, when you compare XF with other cars in the same class and in the same price range, XF offers a great combination of driving style and design detail for the right type of driver. Cannot tell how many compliments I have received from my clients over the course of the year, all unsolicited. Having Claret as the color I am sure did help with that too.
      johnnythemoney
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the Audi A6 is the top when it comes to driving dynamics? I'm definitely missing something here.
        ferps
        • 2 Years Ago
        @johnnythemoney
        The general consensus is that the A6 and the Lexus F-Sport have the best dynamics in the class.
          johnnythemoney
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ferps
          I can't really consider the F Sport models a reference as they are indeed sport models, and some tradeoffs are part of the deal. Customers are willing to accept them, because they are not buying the standard models. On the other side of things, the A6 is a good car, no questions, but I can't really remember so many reviews decently explaining why (if they said so) it was top in class when it comes to driving dynamics. It's was just bold statements or generic adjectives. I've never considered Audi or VW cars in general as sporty. The ride is firm, uselessly too in the standard models, but firm doesn't equal sporty. Actually, you can find reviews where the XF is praised exactly for that reasons, even if it may then result in an overall lesser car compared to similarly priced and dimensioned cars.
      aacfx09
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are people really cross-shopping this with a 5er? I don't know about anyone else's reasons, but for me the whole point of preferring a Jaguar to others is because you don't want something cold, clinical, and serious. The XF has more style and personality than ein Germans and isn't trying to be a German car. That's why I like it ;)
        Eta Carinae
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aacfx09
        Who says jag is trynna be like the germans ? They are just sized the same....nothing more nothing less....the CTS ie crossed shopped with the 5, A6, E class......but it is all american
          aacfx09
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Eta Carinae
          I meant to say that everyone compares them to the Germans, as if everyone wanted a German car. I don't.
        jf.bouchard
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aacfx09
        Is that a Legacy GT sedan I see in your avatar?
      D550
      • 2 Years Ago
      The XF remains the definitive style leader of its class, with an exterior eye-catchingly more exotic than its mainstream luxury competition. Ian Callum is a master, and has penned a four door that evokes Aston Martin rather than a German square-box. To even approach this level of style with a German brand, you have to shop among the “4 door coupes”, i.e. A7 (humpbacked whale), CLS (a butchering of the stunning original), or the Gran Coupe (a very sharp design which should have replaced the 5-series wholesale). The Ghibli, based on various renderings, seemed the most promising contender, but somehow the magic that Maserati so beautifully captured with its Granturismo is very notable only in its absence from either of the new sedans. Inside, Jaguar electronics and in-car technology are unquestionably behind the Germans and the Japanese; functional and passable would be putting it kindly. But the quality of leather and wood veneers far exceed those in its competitors, and overall the interior has a very bespoke ambience ala Bentley and Aston. Sit in a Portfolio trimmed XF, and the difference vs. the mainstream luxury interiors is immediate and striking. This is not to say better, as there is certainly an argument to be made for cutting edge technology as a key measure, if not requirement, of a contemporary luxury interior. But the XF’s modern clubhouse style has tangible, undeniable allure, with its double-stitched Italian leather, swaths of high-end furniture grade veneers, the suedecloth-lined roof, even the machined aluminum and soft backlighting- Jaguar has been offering this caliber of cabin since 2009, and we are starting to see similar materials in more expensive German models (the new S-class) as well.
        Teleny411
        • 2 Years Ago
        @D550
        Jaguar has always offered a refined interior more comparable to Rolls and Bentley rather than Touota or Cadillac. Check out the Mark 7-9: they are very close to period Rolls levels of luxury with better performance from the dohc XK engine. Jaguar is a great marque and quality is a tradition.
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 0-60 time is surprisingly slow for a car with 340hp. Is Jaguar being very conservative with that number? And $20k is a lot in options. You can get a nice A7 for $70k, not just an A6.
      Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      I own a 2010 XF Premium ... Great car and V8 Baby! I love the 5.0L. Superb engine. I average about 22 mpg combined and that is with Ethanol in the gas! I've actually had gas with low amounts of Ethanol and cruising at 70 mph my trip computer went over 26 mpg. I'm going to try to trade to a 2012 to make sure I get the 5.0L, really do not want a V6. Love to jump to V8 supercharged but that is some big money, and I'd probably end up in JAIL !!!!
        M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Paul
        Similar experience here with the gas mileage on the 2012.Would not trade for the V6. V8 supercharged? Hmm.
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