The Jaguar XF S, top of the XF range, is a true gentleman's motor in the sense that its significant performance and comfort aren't undermined by shouty 'I'm really wishing I was a sports car' features. The engine is quiet and refined, not snorty and roarty; the suspension doesn't rattle your teeth on uneven roads, the exterior isn't shrouded with wings and go-faster stripes. In that sense it harks back to the original Jaguar salons: refined performance with an attractive but understated exterior.
My experience of driving the Jaguar XF S was restricted to an hour's drive in heavy London traffic. The sad reality is that few drives now avoid traffic and a car's ability to help in such conditions is often underestimated. The Jaguar virtually did the drive for me and I arrived home fresh and happy, rather than frazzled and fed up. I had to rely on Jaguar's performance figures to imagine how it might have driven on the open road. Pulling away effortlessly and very fast from traffic lights hints at the 380PS power and good torque available from the V6 engine. Others have reported excellent handling on better roads.
Keeping the driver and passengers in the lap of luxury, the car floated over the worst of London's roads. The interior cossets with comfortable seats, plenty of space, controls that fall easily to hand and well-fitted fixtures and fittings. There are subtle hints of the car's high status in the second-generation XF line-up in the grain leather sports seats and metal sill protectors.
The technology offers everything you might want, carefully if you use it while on the road, for keeping in touch, navigation and entertainment through voice control and touch screen. Technology also helps keep you safe in poor road conditions through the All Surface Progress Control system which helps on slippery roads.
My time with the Jaguar XF S left me impressed by the subtle refinement, performance and quality that it displays - I'd have welcomed more time to savour the experience fully.
Facts & Figures
Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 S/C 380 PS RWD
Price: £49,995 on-the-road (plus a wide range of optional extras)
Engine: 3.0 litre V6 S/C 380 PS
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.1s
Maximum speed: 155 mph
Combined fuel consumption: 34 mpg
Carbon dioxide emissions: 198 g/km
For more information, see Jaguar UK.
Jaguar XF prices start from around £32,000
All images by Sikh and Dread Photography.