Beyond a shadow of doubt the Jaguar XF is the styling leader of the pack for mid-size luxury European sedans. Incredibly Jaguar has made the sleek sedan look even better as part of running changes for the 2012 model year.
But the headline act for the new 2012 Jaguar XF is the addition of a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel model with a the super-sharp starting price of $84,990 ‘Driveaway’ ($78,900 List Price). You can even equip a Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel with lots of the goodies from the raunchy XFR – such as sports seats, 20-inch alloy wheels and a bodykit with change from $100,000.
For sure, the new Jaguar XF is a world-class luxury mid-size – the style, the quality, the technology, the massive list of standard inclusions and, of course, the craftsmanship of Jaguar’s proud British workforce all demand attention.
‘Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 will no doubt be feeling even more heat from the Western side of the English Channel as they head into the New Year. And so they should – by any measure the Jaguar XF is more than competitive and savvy luxury mid-size buyers throughout the world have been charmed by the XF (and the rest of the stylish, new Jaguar lineup) with global sales up 14 per cent despite the sluggish retail environment.
And get this – captured by the wonderful styling of the XF and indeed the rest of the new Jaguar lineup (right at the forefront of contemporary automotive design) the average age of today’s Jaguar buyer is one of the youngest in the luxury segment – around 45.
Did we mention driving dynamics? Sorry German rivals, the Jaguar XF meets your best benchmark there too. It’s got the look, performance and on-road poise which are again the cornerstones of the Jaguar brand - and now tremendous value-for-money – and the new 2012 Jaguar XF is now in Australian Jaguar dealerships.
2012 Jaguar XF Overview
The updated 2012 Jaguar XF is clearly one of the world’s most desirable – and sharply-priced European sports/luxury sedans. The full range is:
2.2 Luxury ` $78,900
2.2 Premium Luxury $86,100
3.0 Luxury $103,500
3.0 Premium Luxury $112,500
3.0 S $125,100
3.0 S Portfolio $142,100
V6 Luxury $89,900
V6 Premium Luxury $97,100
V8 Luxury $129,600
V8 Portfolio $146,600
‘Driveaway’ prices, nationally are sensational value - $84,990 for the 2.2 diesel Luxury and $89,990 for the V6 petrol Luxury.
2012 Jaguar XF Engine
While the focus on the 2012 Jaguar XF lineup is deservedly with the new entry-point 2.2-litre diesel, other engines are mostly unchanged – 500Nm and 600Nm versions of the twin-turbo, 3.0-litre V6 diesel, naturally-aspirated V6 petrol plus naturally aspirated and supercharged V8 petrol.
But it’s the 2.2-litre AJ-i4D four-cylinder turbocharged engine which Jaguar says will deliver probably over 40 per cent of XF sales. Of course it’s a familiar engine, jointly developed with Peugeot and also used by sister company Land Rover – now in its third generation.
But Jaguar, being Jaguar, substantial re-engineering work was done – not only for the longitudinal installation in the Jaguar XF (Land Rover fits it east-west) but also to deliver the sort of refinement expected by Jaguar customers – that includes an acoustic layer on top, oil pan and new front timing chain cover.
Maximum power is 140kW at 3500rpm, peak torque of 240Nm arrives from 2000rpm and the Jaguar XF diesel accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds.
With combined cycle fuel consumption of just 5.4l/100kms and exhaust emissions of 149g/km, the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel is the most fuel-efficient and planet-friendly Jaguar ever.
Jaguar’s engineering of the fuel-saving, emissions-reducing auto start/stop deserves special mention. Rating auto start/stop systems in diesel cars is like rating football referees – the best ones are the ones you don’t notice - and in that context, the huge effort Jaguar employed on just this one element of the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel has paid off.
Perhaps the best reward for Jaguar’s engineers came when they set-up research clinics with Jaguar customers to try the new auto start/stop system. They gave it an immediate thumbs-up.
In a nutshell, complex engineering of vehicle management, engine management and starter motor systems all play a part in the engine re-starting in just one revolution.
Even the new eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing the previous six-speed) plays a role. It has a new electronically-controlled system called ‘Hydraulic Impulse Storage’ which keeps some transmission fluid in the gearbox when auto stop/start is operational and lubricates moving parts within 400 milliseconds so there are no lurches when you re-start and accelerate.
It’s not a totally new design, but the eight-speeder gains revised ratios for better drivability – good response under acceleration and relaxed highway cruising in eight gear with only about 1500rpm on board at Australia’s legal speed limit.
2012 Jaguar XF The Interior
Inside, Jaguar’s designers have freshened things (along the lines of the larger Jaguar XJ) and made some changes in response to customer feedback. For example you can now order a 17-speaker, 1200W Bowers & Wilkins audio system with 30GB hard drive and included satellite navigation.
That new audio/satellite navigation system is displayed on a new, colour centre-console TFT screen.
There’s also new seats with extra side support up front (partial leather for the entry-point 2.2 diesel model) and a new instrument panel with – again in response to customer feedback - a secondary digital speedometer.
Pleasingly, the now distinctive Jaguar feature – the rotary gear selector dial remains, as does the traditional Jaguar timber veneer trim features. But this is the new Jaguar and you can also spec more modern looks in a variety of materials.
2012 Jaguar XF Exterior & Styling
Even the harshest critics would concede the Jaguar XF at launch was one of the most stunning automotive designs of the current era. And the newcomer looks even better, highlighted by a cleaner front end and a more purposeful overall look.
Incredibly, every external element has actually been changed as part of the 2012 changes.
New front bumper and grille, new front spoiler blades, a revised bonnet line and distinctive new tail-lights (with small in-built Jaguar logos).
All models gain HID Xenon head-lights (the previous round look replaced, you guessed it, in response to customer feedback). A special word for the new LED DRLs which form a ‘J’ and give the new Jaguar XF a standout on-road look.
2012 Jaguar XF On The Road
Jaguar deliberately chose the roads in Gold Coast hinterland and Tweed Valley to launch the new 2012 XF diesel. We first drove the XF on these exact roads and, so confident is Jaguar about the abilities of the new 2.2 diesel, the company sought direct comparisons.
At Car Showroom, we actually think the 2012 Jaguar XF advances the driving dynamics of Jaguar’s already acclaimed mid-size luxury sedan. Minor fiddles with the suspension tune to account for the diesel powerplant have actually improved its handling balance (already one of the best).
But first we had to get there – and that meant a run in the admittedly modest traffic congestion on the Pacific Highway around Banora Point where the massive project to take the highway under the mountain (rather than the twists and curves familiar to many) still causes bank-ups. Ideal conditions to sample the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel’s stop/start technology.
Ideal for Car Showroom too as we stepped out of a German diesel into the Jaguar XF and there’s absolutely no doubt the Jaguar system is less intrusive. It re-starts faster – just one revolution - and smoother so driver and passenger are battling to detect its operation.
On the open road, the Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel ambles along with impressive refinement – engine, tyre and wind noise noticeably low in the luxury car way.
And over the mountains, the Jaguar XF was just as enjoyable as its European rivals. If you were to be super-critical of the previous XF you would say it was a just a bit too ‘front-end biased’ when compared to the sporty Germans – but the new version (slightly modified suspension calibration for the 2.2 diesel) seems to have more feedback from the rear for improved chassis balance.
We liked the operation of the transmission paddle shifters in ‘Sport’ mode. You can ‘stack’ gears for rapid downchanges into tight corners and the management system detects changes in driving style and automatically reverts to ‘Drive’ when you’re not hard at it.
2012 Jaguar XF Challenges
Jaguar XF’s sleek styling delivers a standout look, but tall people might find headroom in the rear a tad tight - because of that swooping roof-line. We’re average size and had no complaints, but if the air you breathe is a little thin, you could feel restricted in the XF’s back seat.
2012 Jaguar XF Verdict
Wow! We’ve always loved the Jaguar XF and our day in the Gold Coast hinterland driving the 2012 models has re-confirmed our passion.
Here’s the thing: the German superstars no longer command the European luxury mid-size segment. The Jaguar XF now fights a fair fight in every department – looks, quality, performance and driving dynamics – and is certainly in front in the value-for-money equation.
To draw a fashion analogy the Jaguar is Burberry to BMW and Benz’ Hugo Boss – undoubted quality in either…but one is distinctly British while the other is German.
2012 Jaguar XF The Competition
Naturally it’s Mercedes Benz E-Class and BMW Series.
Here at Car Showroom, we love the E-Class – the latest lineup highlights how ‘Benz is back at the top of its game in design, powerplants and driving dynamics. But there’s no denying the new Jaguar XF 2.2D outpunches the E220 CGI (with 140kW/450Nm to 125kW/400Nm) and its $84,800 sticker underscores the value of the $78,900 Brit.
BMW hasn’t managed to send us the keys to the latest 5 Series as yet, but, like the E-Class, the entry-level 520d with 135kW/380Nm is looking expensive compared to the Jaguar XF 2.2D.
Audi A6 doesn’t compete with the entry-point Jaguar XF 2.2D. But if you’re shopping the $116,500 Audi A6 3.0TDI (180kW/500Nm) we’d advise you to check-out the outstanding twin-turbocharged Jaguar XF 3.0D (177kW/500Nm in Luxury grade ($103,500).