The 2016 Jaguar XF S is a Car You Can't Live With...Or Without: Review
2016 was a big year for the Jaguar XF, but you might not have noticed. Though it now quietly falls in line with the rest of the lineup thanks to its handsome makeover, it’s what’s underneath and inside that makes the new XF something you hate to love—or love to hate. Aluminum; aluminum everywhere. Not just tossed about the cabin—that would be weird—but in the construction. Lighter than ever by 132 pounds in rear-wheel drive form, even lighter still by 265 pounds in all-wheel drive. I was driving the former, gussied up in S trim with a 380-horsepower engine. RELATED: See More of the 2016 Jaguar XF
It’s not a blisteringly quick car, per se, but quick enough to remind you that you’re paying a premium price tag over, say, a Toyota Camry. 3.0-liters and a supercharger provide the extra oomph, and 0-60 mph can be handled in…well…who cares (ok, 5.1 seconds). And in case you were wondering—it is a Jag, so it does do burnouts.
On the corners, the XF S is as agile as…a jaguar. The steering is heavy and tight, and gives you a healthy margin of error if/when you get it wrong. And you will—the gearbox is shotty. Power doesn’t come immediately, but when it does, it’s in spectacularly jumpy fashion. Squealing the tires and looking like an a-hole at every corner.
The eight-speed gearbox is the problem here. Paired with an automatic stop/start button, it makes you want to pull your hair out. Dive deeper into the technology and you’re only bound to get more frustrated with the car. The antiquated infotainment system works, but only just. The many, many, many settings are useful in some aspects, but mostly just confuse you while driving.
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Jaguar claims to have updated it from the previous version. It feels slightly better, but still lags years behind the rest of the pack. But technology isn’t necessarily the XF’s forte—driving is.
The suspension is tight, soaking up the pavement, letting you get to know the road a little better through the tactile steering rack. You're not getting Alfa 4C type feedback, mind you, but it’s a luxury sedan that likes to be handled roughly, and returns the favor. That enthusiastic personality can be credited to the F-Type-inspired Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, which adds traction and makes the entire package more nimble.
That’s sort of the charm. The technology isn’t perfect, nor is the gearbox, but the feeling behind the wheel makes you forget about all the things that were wrong initially. That’s a very signature Jag move.
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At a $62,700 starting price, the XF S is an expensive option. Compare that to the $60,000 Cadillac ATS-V, or even the $63,500 BMW M3, and it almost seems unreasonable.
The Jag, though, is for the person that wants to have a true connection with their car, as silly as it sounds. There’s nothing perfect about it—you’re not going to win any drag races or beauty contests. The beauty is the driver experience, something very few cars in this segment other than the XF S can offer.
Engine: 3.0L Supercharged V6
MPG: 20 / 30
Price (as tested): $73,335
Spirited driving feel
Not particularly quick
Photo Credit: Jeff Perez for BoldRide