This week a facile criticism was levelled against the XF. An acquaintance who shall remain anonymous, mainly because his comment sort of reflects his shallow view of the automotive world, said that the XF looks too much like an XE. This, in his book, is a “big problem”. His contention is that if he’d bought a Dh260,000 XF he’d be upset if someone mistook it for a cheaper XE.

I couldn’t disagree more, the XE is a handsome car and there is nothing wrong with maintaining brand identity. Furthermore, to say that Jaguar is the only company guilty of using design by Xerox philosophy would be unkind and untrue. The new Merc C-Class looks like a smaller E-Class, which in turn resembles a stunted S-Class. Audis are so indistinguishable these days we once almost used photos of an A6 in place of an A4 in one of our features.

Therefore, I decided to have a whip around the office to find out what the other team members make of the XF in general. wheels Arabic editor and a bona fide Italian car lover Fadi isn’t very complimentary of the XF’s styling either. He reckons that in its quest for wider acceptance, new Jaguars have become a little too generic. “They’ve lost their soul, their character; Jaguars are now too grown up and serious,” he says.

This isn’t an issue if unlike Fadi you’re a grown up. Deputy editor Sony Thomas — the sensible one on the team, he daily drives a Toyota Camry, nuff said — says that Jaguar has finally got a proper contender in the executive saloon segment with the new XF.

“An executive family saloon needs to be elegant and understated. What inarguably matters even more is how good is it to drive and whether its comfortable for your family. The Jag scores highly for me on all these points,” he says.

Me? I think the XF is a great car, although I wouldn’t buy it with the creme leather seats that our tester has — they get grimy quite quickly, especially if you have young kids. Furthermore, the XF, unlike Jags of old, has been pretty reliable so far, and here’s hoping this cat doesn’t change its spots.

The progress

Week 5 The all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class arrives at the wheels HQ and comparisons are immediately made with our long-term XF. The E-Class, though much more expensive, feels notably plusher than the Jaguar. However, the latter is a better driver’s car.

Highs Dynamics, well priced.

Lows Some rivals are better equipped.

Week 6 wheels Arabic sub editor Kinan takes the XF for a photo shoot at midday, in 50-degree heat. The AC in the XF impresses and the boot, which is bigger than the 5 Series’ and the A6’s, easily swallows photographer Stefan’s entire kit.

Highs Spacious boot, good AC.

Lows Some cheap plastics in the cabin.