In the middle of the luxury car lineup lies behemoths that offer the extra mile of pampering. The Jaguar XF falls in this very segment, in line with three rather popular luxury sedans in India - the BMW 5 series, the Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. With such stiff competition, and the likes of Lexus ES300h and Volvo S60 knocking on the door, the Jaguar XF has its work cut out to establish itself as the authority in the mid-segment luxury sedan market.
If you go by the looks, the Jaguar XF certainly does its bit to set the right impressions about itself. The swooping roofline sits well with the long wheelbase, and the aggressive nose adds to the aesthetics that make it look like a baby XJ. It also looks very distinctly Jaguar, and the road presence is further amplified by the narrow slit headlamps, the imposing grille mesh, and way the XF sits squat on the road.
The XF is also more aggressively designed in comparison to the entry-level Jaguar XE, and simply looks more plush. The only bit of concern here are potholes on Mumbai highways that tend to bottom the car out, which means that if you’re at a decent speed and happen to have overlooked the pothole, you may end up heart wrenchingly scraping the bottom of the front bumper.
Coming to the technology inside, the Jaguar XF Pure is the base variant, and naturally does not get a lot of the advanced elements that the top-of-the-line XF Portfolio (or XF R) would get. The XF Pure does not even get a sunroof, which seems a bit off-putting for a car of this price. Higher variants of the Jaguar XF get augmented Head-Up Display, 360-degree panoramic camera, and better upholstery packages like finer stitching, InControl+ interface in the XF-R, support for mobile apps, cigarette lighter and a lot more.
When it comes to this particular XF, you get the standard array of SD card slot, USB slots, 12V power sockets, and Bluetooth connectivity. All of these features are also reflected on the MFD integrated in the instrument cluster, and include music playback from multiple sources, radio frequency tuner (FM/AM), a 3D satellite-based navigation unit, phone controls, Drive data, and Valet mode. The music interface scrolls your local music as available music, making playback easy to access. You also get album art and a well-laid-out interface to toggle tracks, and the responsive touchscreen interface makes it easy to operate. You can also control music from the steering wheel, with navigation and volume buttons.
The navigation system is swift and easy to operate, although the graphic-heavy interface takes some time to get used to. However, once you get the hang of it, the trick is to add the right postcode and choose building names from the recommended list that follows. Routes are accurate, although you do not get traffic data on the InControl map. The phone settings are easy to access, and offer a familiar interface in terms of similarity with phones. You also get contacts and call lists, and the only element amiss are text messages.
The Driving data mode is a comprehensive store that shows drivetrain data, brake statistics, tyre pressure feedback and car diagnostics. One key takeaway from here is that the system reads into almost every element of the car, but as we encountered a failed condenser, there were no system alerts or diagnostic help that showed up, which left us confused. Everything else, though, works as intended.
The Jaguar XF’s basic technical package focuses on giving you all the essentials, but you’re expected to pay more to get seemingly standard luxury elements like a sunroof, memory seats, power-adjustable steering wheel, or HUD (increasingly standardised in the luxury segment today). The most impressive bit, however, is the raw infusion of power from the 177bhp turbocharged diesel engine, which delivers a strong midrange and is incredibly responsive.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine under the hood here creates 430Nm of torque, and coupled with the heavy, solid electromechanical steering wheel, makes the Jaguar XF one of the best in terms of driveability. Despite the long wheelbase, the XF feels nimble-footed on the highway. It does feel a bit too heavy in traffic, but right from tackling corners to squeezing past tight turns and moderate speeds, the XF almost always feels at home.
The suspension is balanced towards giving a better ride quality, and unless you’re on the XF-R, you would rather not push the XF too hard on slightly bumpy roads or around corners. That said, the pillowy ride quality is great to savour from the rear seat, which has excellent thigh support and a healthy recline. Despite the lack of too much technology here, the Jaguar XF certainly does not fail to put a smile on your face as you take to the steering wheel.
The Jaguar XF Pure is not the variant if a dazzling technology fest is what you expect from your latest splurge. It gets the older infotainment system which, despite being efficient, is quite underwhelming. You also do not get elements like a cigarette lighter, or even a sunroof. The auto-folding AC vents do add to the theatricality here, but unless you’re going for a higher variant of the Jaguar XF, you may end up having missed a lot of features.
If however, it is only the drive that concerns you, the Jaguar XF does a fairly good job on the road. It feels, drives and rides like an able long wheelbase saloon, which is what it essentially is.