Driven: Jaguar XF 20t
Call me irrational but the biggest grouse I’ve had with Jags and Land Rovers is they don’t support Apple CarPlay or, if you’re in the other camp, Android Auto. If cheap hatchbacks can support all kinds of mobile phone connectivity, there’s just no excuse for JLR not to provide it, particularly since CarPlay now supports Google Maps and there’s no reason whatsoever to look down at your phone while driving. That’s now being addressed with mobile phone hookup being rolled out across the JLR range and the XF is the latest car to get it.
Now, the XF has been around for a while but it hasn’t sold well and you don’t see too many of them on the road. That does mean there is no visual fatigue to the car and in any case, Ian Callum’s lines have always been rather handsome. It’s only on the inside that the XF feels its age. It is neither as spacious as an E-Class, nor as sporty as a 5 Series, and nowhere as expensive-feeling as either. And while it does get CarPlay in terms of tech, infotainment, the menu systems et al, the BMW does beat it hollow.
Under the hood, the old Ford-derived engines are now making way for Jag’s in-house Ingenium motors. The 2-litre petrol is offered in two states of tune, 246.5bhp and 197bhp, and it is the latter that we have on test. The motor, as we’ve seen on other JLR vehicles, delivers rather sprightly performance while belting out surprisingly sporty tunes when revved hard. I rather like that sporty undercurrent, and the engine doesn’t feel underpowered either, despite having just 200 horses. That said, you do have to rev it hard to get it hustling down the expressway. Knock it up the gears and it cruises well on the highway with very good isolation. Plus the higher profile tyres deliver a good ride without compromising much on the handling, which was always the XF’s plus point. In city driving, though, you will find the low speed throttle response to be jumpy and it is difficult to modulate it without passengers getting jolted. And the ZF 8-speed gearbox isn’t as refined as on the BMW, occasionally clunking at low speeds.
The Jag remains the non-obvious choice to the regular German luxury cars, but if your social circles are dripping with Mercs and Bimmers, the XF does offer something distinct with a uniquely British character. Without compromising on Car Play anymore
Engine: 1999cc, inline-4 cyl, turbo petrol
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 197bhp @ 4500-6000rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1500-4000rpm
0-100kmph: 7.9sec (claimed)
Top speed: 234kmph (claimed)
Price 53.56 lakh (ex-showroom)
evo rating 3.5/5