The last few years have been some uncertain ones for Jaguar. But after the fabled British carmaker was acquired by India’s Tata, a whole new Jaguar brand began to slowly take shape. So, while we’ll have still to wait a bit to try the just announced F-type Roadster, there is an updated XF sedan to tend to, one that adds a lot more paw power for when the going turns dicey.
The most notable addition for the 2013 Jaguar XF luxury-sport sedan is the addition of all-wheel-drive. Why? Well quite simply, luxury buyers in the Jag’s key northeast market expect it. And you can thank Audi for that. But it’s not just Audi; every other luxury brand offers all-wheel-drive on their core sedans. And it’s not like they had to go far to acquire a decent system, as just across the hall were the traction experts at Land Rover.
Available in both our XF and flagship XJ, the Instinctive All Wheel Drive system has almost a full rear bias under normal driving conditions, but it can divert up to 50% of the power to the front wheels when needed.
It all works very seamlessly and in conjunction with Jaguar’s Drive Control and Dynamic Stability Control to make for one surefooted cat, no matter what the road conditions.
AWD can exclusively be fitted to the other big addition for ’13; replacing the normally-aspirated V8 is a new Supercharged 3.0-liter V6; the first six in the XF. Horsepower rings in at 340, while 332 lb-ft. of torque is sent through a new, more fuel efficient 8-speed automatic transmission. Automatic stop/start is also part of the better MPG equation.
On that, Government Fuel Economy Ratings are not bad at 17-City, 28-Highway, and 21-Combined. A 10% bump over last year’s base V8. We averaged a fine 25.1 MPG. The V6 with all-wheel drive rates 16, 26, and 19.
Want a couple more MPGs? Also new is a 240-horsepower turbocharged I4. A first for any U.S bound Jaguar. But, take heart Jag fans, three versions of the potent, supercharged 5.0-liter V8 carry on.
Where you won’t find much change in inside the XF. It’s still coddles one nicely, even if material quality is not quite up to German rivals. Items like the paddle shifters and control stalks don’t feel as substantial. However, the very high-end suede-like headliner is an exception. As is the cool rollover dash vent covers that open on starting.
Front seats provided expected support and comfort, as do the simulated dual rear buckets. Rear seat legroom is tight for adults, even if slightly better than the BMW 5 Series.
Smaller that most rivals, however, is the Screen for the updated Infotainment and audio system.
No changes on the outside, as the exterior is fresh off of a nip/tuck just last year. The front end has a very aggressive look. But as you make your way down the side, things quickly turn a little more conservative, with mostly flat panels and our car’s uninspired 19-inch wheel design.
For track work we chose a rear drive XF to see what that new supercharged 6-cylinder is capable of… …and we weren’t exactly overwhelmed.
0-60 sprints of 6.2-seconds are not slow by any means, but like a cat just waking up from a mid-day nap, this Jag is just in no particular hurry to scoot away.
But, as it works its way down the track, it wakes up quite a bit, achieving a commendable 14.6-second quarter mile at 102 miles-per-hour. Still, soft shifts and a weak exhaust note reminds us that this cat is more for prowling around town than chasing down dinner across the flats.
And that attitude was reinforced when we tackled our slalom. Going in the XF feels secure, but with a looseness to the rear that an enthusiast will enjoy. However, the steering is so light and overboosted that it takes a while to gain confidence about the car.
This Jag did fully bear its claws when it came to braking however; bringing us to a halt in only 116-feet, a very short average.
XF prices are certainly competitive with rivals. Our V6 starts at $50,875. All-wheel drive adds 3-Gs more.
True, you can have a 535i or E350 for about the same money, and neither is a stranger to all-wheel drive. So, why a Jaguar XF?
Well, how about exclusivity? BMW sells 10 times as many 5 Series here as Jag the XF. And passion, something that’s core to the Jaguar DNA and often less obvious in its German peers.
Regardless, we are glad to see Jaguar stepping up its game today with more efficient engines and all-wheel drive, as it bodes well for where the brand is headed in the future.
Engine: 3.0-liter V6
Torque: 332 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.6-seconds @ 102 mph
60-0 mph: 116 ft
EPA: 17 mpg city / 28 mpg highway