Of all the vehicle categories, picking a favorite luxury sedan would probably be the most difficult for us. When we are asked, or when we ask ourselves, the answer often defaults to the last one we drove, probably because it?s fresh in our mind.
The most recent experience, and by default a new favorite, would be the Jaguar XF AWD, but this one might just be the real thing – a favorite that stands the test of time for several reasons.
First, the Jaguar XF gets high marks for its good looks. Maybe it?s not as dramatic as its big brother/sister, the Jaguar XJ, but the XF has a clean distinctive look that still turns our heads each time we see one on the road.
Second, we like that the 2013 Jaguar XF is now available with all-wheel drive in addition to the traditional rear drive. We think AWD is especially important when you live in areas with snow or lots of rain, plus it also improves dry road handling characteristics.
Third, we love the new supercharged V-6 engine. Previously the only choices were three powerful 5.0-liter V-8s, one naturally aspirated and two supercharged. This year there are two supercharged V-8s (470- and 510-hp) a new 240-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and our favorite a V-6. The V-6 is the only engine available for the AWD version.
In our house, cool comfortable cars like the Jaguar XF callout for a road trip and this one said, ?let?s go to the coast? and we agreed, thinking we could go to breakfast at a place we?d been wanting to try in Astoria ? it?s only 100 miles.
Driving in Bill?s traditional style ? a bit aggressive and about 5 to 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, we headed to the coast for breakfast at the Wet Dog Brew Pub.
This is where it gets interesting to us. The road to Astoria is mostly two lane if we go along the Columbia River, and that means there will be a few, full throttle passes to get around the drivers who drive in an opposite manner ? 5 or 10 mph under the posted limit. The XF handled these situations beautifully with the speedometer climbing quickly before pulling safely back into the lane. (Note: Bill picked up this habit of fast passes, because his dad always taught that it was best to pass quickly because it was safer to spend as little time as possible in the same lane as potential on-coming traffic. This theory also justified owning fast cars.)
If you check the trip computer?s average miles per gallon after a full-throttle pass, you can normally expect to see it has fallen like the Dow Jones Industrials average on a bad news day. We returned home, after spending the day on the coast, with about 250 miles on the odometer and an average fuel economy of 26.7 mpg. That?s impressive any way you look at it.
The engine is a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 rated at 340 horsepower and it feels even stronger. A 0 to 60 mph romp takes only 6.1 seconds. Top speed is limited to 121 mph and the fuel economy for the AWD model is estimated at 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The engine employs a new Stop/Start system to cut fuel usage when the car is stopped for a traffic signal or in normal idle situations. When the driver takes his or her foot off the brake with the engine stopped, a twin solenoid starter restarts the engine in less time than it takes the driver?s foot to move from the brake pedal to the accelerator and the change is subtle. We think this might be one of the best Stop/Start systems we?ve driven.
The new direct injected V-6 engine is based on the Jaguar V-8 engine. The Roots-type vortex supercharger is mounted in the engine?s ?V? and uses a water-cooled intercooler to keep the intake temperature lower.
The new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission tuned to meet Jaguar?s special needs and is now used in all XF models Jaguars. The transmission not only improves fuel economy but also produces smooth quick shifts. The transmission has steering wheel mounted shift paddles for those of us who like to be more in control. The all-wheel drive transfer case is mounted on the rear of the transmission and it controls the power transfer to the front differential. Like most AWD systems, this one transfers the power to the wheels with the best traction. The system defaults to 100 percent rear-wheel drive, until front traction is required.
The four-cylinder Jaguar XF 2.0 pricing starts at $48,850, including the destination charge. The AWD version we drove has a base price of $53,875 and about $15,000 in options like navigation, intelligent high beam headlights, electric rear shade, heated and cooled front seats, suede cloth headliner, heated steering wheel and a bunch more nice features. If you want the full monty, as they say in Britain, the 510-hp supercharged XFR is $84,075.
The Jaguar XF AWD is the kind of luxury sedan that is impressive across the board from looks to comfort to performance. We?d love to have this one in our garage. To learn more about the Jaguar XF go to?http://www.jaguarusa.com/.
By the way, the Wet Dog Brew Pub makes an excellent breakfast. We even went back a few weeks later for an even better lunch. To check out the Wet Dog on line go to?http://wetdogcafe.com/