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  • 2010 Jaguar XF Premium

    Posted on December 23rd, 2009 ninarussin

    Sport sedan is more than a pretty face

    By Nina Russin

    2010 Jaguar XF

    2010 Jaguar XF

    It’s hard not to love a beautiful car. The Jaguar XF is an exquisitely-designed sport sedan with performance befitting the most powerful feline predator.

    A naturally-aspirated, five-liter V8 is one of two new direct-injection gasoline engines available in the XF. Jaguar is also producing a diesel XF for Europe. With the new engines, the XF becomes a four-passenger version of Jaguar’s XK sports car.

    The premium model tested is one of four available grades. This year, Jaguar adds two upscale models: the stylish XF portfolio with special wheels, interior and audio upgrade, and the high-performance XFR, powered by a supercharged version of the V-8 engine. Engineers made Jaguar’s active differential control and adaptive dynamics systems standard on the XFR, giving the sedan better traction at speed.

    The XF premium comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for manual gear selection. Nineteen-inch wheels and low profile tires give the sedan a wide, stable footprint for high-speed driving. Winter and dynamic modes tune the transmission for special applications: starting out in a higher gear on wet roads to avoid slipping, and shifting more aggressively when the driver wants maximum performance.

    Bi-xenon headlamps produce a longer, brighter beam of light at night than traditional halogen beams. A blind spot information system uses indicator LED signals in the side mirrors to warn the driver about vehicles in the adjacent lanes.

    Performance that makes the pulse race

    2010 Jaguar XF

    2010 Jaguar XF

    A start button on the center console pulses red when the driver fires the ignition. At the same time, a rotary gear-select knob rises out of the center console. While it takes some getting used to, the knob is a more efficient, compact design than a traditional gear lever.

    When the driver shifts into reverse, a rear backup camera projects a wide-angle view to the back of the car on the central navigation screen. Lines superimposed over the image show the driver the vehicle’s trajectory, based on steering inputs. An ultrasonic park assist feature is also standard. It sends an audible warning to the driver when sensors detect obstacles around the car’s perimeter.

    The central navigation screen also serves as a touchscreen display for controlling most of the car’s comfort and convenience options. While some of the functions aren’t completely intuitive, the display eliminates unnecessary knobs and buttons from the center stack.

    Fluid power band

    Direct injection engines have raised the bar for automotive performance. Fuel injectors spray fuel directly into the engine cylinders rather than through the intake and exhaust valves. The result is faster throttle response and better fuel economy.

    The five-liter engine in the Jaguar XF is a lightweight aluminum block with cast iron cylinder sleeves. A graphite/iron crankshaft is both lightweight and durable.

    Not only is the new engine extremely fast: it has an exceptional amount of low-end torque, thanks to variable cam timing. The Jaguar XF has a 4078 pound towing capacity, exceeding our ALV minimum standard.

    The six-speed ZF automatic transmission automatically adapts to the driver’s style, downshifting earlier for performance applications. Because the engine has so much low-end torque, the transmission can shift from fluid to friction coupling at very low speeds, enhancing the car’s gas mileage.

    What is most noticeable to the driver is the seamless delivery of power. It is rare to feel the transmission downshift, even when the driver accelerates hard. Its fluid powertrain and quiet interior make the ZF appear to float over the pavement, rather than drive on it.

    Steering feedback is crisp and precise at all speeds. A turning radius of just over 37 feet makes it easy to perform the occasional U-turn.

    Visibility is good all the way around the car. The blind spot information system helps the driver to weave through dense traffic.

    Elegant interior

    The inside of the Jaguar XF is as clean and elegant as the exterior, with seating for four adult passengers. Redundant steering wheel controls allow the driver to control the audio system and use the Bluetooth interface without taking his eyes off the road. Two-position memory controls allow multiple drivers to share the car.

    Designers thoughtfully covered cupholders to give the center console a cleaner appearance. The cupholders are large enough to hold a twenty-ounce water bottle. The center console also includes the electronic parking brake, and on/off switches for the traction and dynamic stability control functions.

    A twelve-volt power point, auxiliary and USB ports in the center console bin give passengers the ability to recharge portable electronic devices and use iPods.

    The standard navigation system can be programmed for the most direct route to a destination, or to avoid construction, with voice guidance. The central navigation screen allows the driver to change the car’s security functions for valet parking, turn the three-stage seat heaters on and off, adjust the heating and air conditioning, and program the audio system.

    The test car comes with the available Bowers & Wilkins 440-watt surround sound audio system ($1875), and includes standard satellite radio.

    A tall floor tunnel limits seating in back to two passengers. The sharply raked roof compromises rear headroom. Small adults should be comfortable. A fold-down center armrest includes two cupholders for the back passengers. The rear seats also fold flat to create a pass-through from the trunk.

    The trunks is modest in size. It is too narrow and shallow to hold a bicycle, even with the rear seats folded down. But the pass-through does add the capability to carry longer items such as skis and snowboards.

    Base price on the Jaguar XF premium is $56,150, not including a $850 destination charge. Jaguar builds the XF at its assembly plant in Castle Bromwich, UK.

    Likes: A beautiful, fast sport sedan that is guaranteed to turn heads.

    Dislikes: Lack of headroom in the back seats.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Jaguar
    Model: XF Premium
    Year: 2010
    Base price: $56,150
    As tested: $58,875
    Horsepower: 385 Hp @ 6500 rpm
    Torque: 380 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: 5.5 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: Yes
    Fuel economy: 16/23 mpg city/highway

     

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