Jaguar’s XF is a sedan with the soul of a sports car. There are eight models that range from a turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower for $50,000 to the pavement-wrinkling, limited edition 550-horsepower XFR-S for $99,000. Mild to wild, you choose.
I drove the 3.0-liter Sport, powered by a 340-horsepower, supercharged V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Base price was $57,175.
We had snow on my second day with the car, and I was concerned about getting across town on slick streets, but much to my surprise, the XF was not nearly as skittish as I expected. In general, rear-wheel-drive sports sedans without proper winter tires are usually almost useless in snow, but the XF managed quite well. The JaguarDrive has a winter mode that softens throttle response. Personally, I would choose the all-wheel-drive version of the Sport ($60,800) for added security in the winter.
The XF is one of the most attractive cars in its segment, despite the fact that it has been on sale in America since 2009. The Sport has a unique front bumper, aerodynamic side sills, rear spoiler and dark gray 20-inch wheels. It looks athletic without being overdone.
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Performance and handling are balanced with comfort and enough room for four people to ride comfortably. Thanks to supercharging, the power band is wide enough that you don’t have to work the engine hard in everyday traffic. Fuel consumption is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is a perfect match for this engine. Jaguar says it shifts “in just 200 milliseconds, or four times faster than the average human resting heartbeat.” Shift paddles on the steering wheel enable the driver to take control at any time.
Handling is crucial in a sports sedan, and the XF acquits itself very well. I drove an XFR on a track a couple of years ago at Jaguar’s performance driving academy and it handled a day of thrashing without breathing hard. Nearly ideal weight distribution enables the car to tackle turns with confidence and security.
The test car’s cabin was pleasant and serene. Wind and road noise are nicely muted and the seats are widely adjustable. The leather seats have excellent lateral and lumbar support. Keyless entry, heated front seats, split-folding rear seats and a Meridian audio system were part of the test car’s standard equipment. Navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius satellite radio, blind-spot monitor and a rearview camera were also included.
Vents in the instrument panel open when the car is started and close when it is turned off.
The main instrument cluster is a thin-film-transistor LCD panel that looks like an analog speedometer but its appearance and function can be changed. The audio and navigation systems are controlled through a 7-inch touch screen or by knobs on the lower part of the instrument panel. Jaguar’s menu system always seems a bit complex so the ability to change radio stations or climate control fan speed with traditional knobs is appreciated, especially in winter when gloves are worn.
The test car’s base price was $57,175. Destination charges brought the sticker price to $58,100.
Four years or 50,000 miles.
Tom Strongman’s e-mail is email@example.com.
2015 Jaguar XF 3.0 Sport
Engine: 3.0-liter, 340-horsepower V-6
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 114.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,902 pounds
Base price: $57,175
MPG rating: 18 in the city, 28 on the highway