The all-new Jaguar XF, let’s face it, isn’t exactly a revolutionary piece of design. Although the first-generation car was a radical rethink of the brand’s design ethos, especially since it was the replacement of the miserable-looking S-Type, this second-gen model is more about maintaining that brand identity. No shock and awe here. However, to judge the XF on merely its looks would be completely missing the point, because underneath that generic sheet metal is a properly capable car.
Although we’ve tested the XF before, the reintroduction has been decidedly pleasant. It drives really well and is entirely capable of taking on segment stalwarts like the BMW 5 Series and even the more rarefied Maserati Ghibli. The balance between ride quality and handling, as you’d expect in a Jaguar, is superbly well judged. It never feels too harsh over speed humps or unpleasantly bouncy around corners.
The all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine is fine, but there is definitely more lag here than you’d find in its Teutonic rivals. It is noticeable in Normal mode, but switch to Eco and the engine takes a substantial amount of time to translate the movement of your right foot into forward momentum. Dynamic mode is the way to go in this car.
The interior is great with acres of posh leather, wood and brushed aluminium everywhere, and all the touch points feel premium. Styling-wise it’s not as bland as, say, a BMW 5 Series, either. For instance, just above the dashboard, and at the base of the windscreen, is an arch that runs from the door cards, forming a neat cockpit-style design.
Of course, there are still the circular gear selector and the swivelling air vents that provide much childish amusement every time you fire up the engine. Completely unnecessary, but cool nonetheless.
That said, the XF has still got much to prove over the coming weeks as it faces the automotive purgatory that is the wheels long-term test.