2011 Jaguar XF
Sport sedan fans never get enough power, something that the engineers at Jaguar are well aware of. So for 2011 they've given the less fortunate folks who can only afford the base model of the mid-size XF a big bonus by giving it a bigger engine.
The hardly entry-level XF adds the same 5.0-liter 385-horsepower, 380 pound-feet of torque, direct-injection V8 as the more upscale XF Premium model. That's a very nice boost of 85 horses and 70 pound-feet over the previous 4.2-liter. The new engine also brings with it JaguarDrive's Dynamic Mode system, which works with the Adaptive Dynamics damping system and Active Differential Control to give the already competent base XF even sharper performance.
In addition to now boasting an all-V8 lineup, the 2011 XF series also features a host of luxury upgrades. The base car now gets a choice of standard burl walnut or American walnut interior trim. A heated windshield is now available on all models and is packaged with a heated steering wheel on the base car.
But while we are inordinately fond of the many luxury and technology features that even the entry-level XF offers, we must honestly state that it is the new engine that most impresses us. While the smaller 4.2 struggled with the car's 4,067-pound weight, the 5.0-liter gives it extra punch off the line and does so with the silky smooth feel we so love about the big cat's powerplants. Handling and balance continue to be at the sharp end of the sport sedan class, but without the jarring ride of some high-speed 4-doors.
The new engine does, however, mean a price increase for the base sedan, with a now caring MSRP starting just over $53,000. But what price performance? Especially in the machine that we ourselves called one of the most exciting and important cars in Jaguar history.
Engine: 5.0-liter direct-injection V8
Price: Starting just over $53,000