Jaguar has managed to produce a bodyshell that provides significantly more room than the previous model, despite being fractionally shorter (only by 7mm, so don’t start making plans for that extra garage space).
In XF S specification, and with our car’s optional 20-inch alloy wheels, it is a handsome albeit slightly generic look. When the previous XF and then the current Jaguar XJ were launched nearly a decade ago, it was a rather shocking break with decades of retro-tastic Jaguar designs. A toned-down version of the XJ’s style has been applied to the small XE and mid-size XF saloons, and it is a modern yet fairly anonymous look.
Even for car enthusiasts, telling the difference between an XE and XF on the street can be tricky. Having decided on a new design language, Jaguar seems determined to apply it rigorously to every model in the range.
Better than: Audi A6, Infiniti Q70
Not as good as: BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS, Maserati Ghibli, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S90
Jaguar’s design and engineering teams have managed to significantly improve the room for rear-seat passengers, who now have a decent amount of room for such a large car. The boot is not only larger but also better shaped, and it was able to swallow two large and two small suitcases with ease.
The dashboard layout is similar to XE and has some genuinely nice design features, like a sweeping line which ran all around the dash from door to door, but gimmicks like a pop-up gear selector and automatically-swivelling air vents lose their appeal after the second time you start the car. Another negative is the touchscreen infotainment system, which looked dated and was annoying to use on the move (more of that anon). Likewise the digital dash display, which lags behind Audi’s best-in-class version.
Emphasising its ‘sportiness’, our test vehicle had carbon-fibre trim and somewhat gaudy red and black leather. Maybe some buyers like it, but the combination seemed rather tacky for what was nearly a £60,000 car with all the options it was carrying.
Better than: Infiniti Q70, Lexus GS, Maserati Ghibli
Not as good as: Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S90
Next page: Powertrain and driving experience