By Jeff Weidel
Plenty of review vehicles don’t create a stir. But the 2009 Jaguar XF, which replaced the S-type, is a vehicle to cherish. The British automaker has also dumped the Jaguar X-type and is phasing it out gradually. As such, Jaguar intends to make the sleek XF part of a manufacturer’s new direction — a blend of tradition, technology and styling.Although not an astonishingly eye-appealing midsize luxury sedan like many Jaguars, the XF still turns heads with its stylish appeal. But it’s the superior technology features that makes this Jaguar appealing.
Let’s begin with the start button. Keep the keys in your pocket or somewhere close by because there is no standard ignition. Push the red rotary button to start the engine and the unique dial rises out of the center console and controls the transmission.
Although that’s enough to impress the most discerning friends, there’s more. Masqueraded as part of the dash, the heat/air conditioning vents rotate to an open position when in use and roll back when turned off.
Other cool features include: blue instrument lighting, sensors instead of buttons to open the glove compartment and turn on the interior lights and a seven-inch display screen that controls practically everything – heated seats, climate control, audio interface, back-up camera, audio, etc.
Besides impressive technology, the XF features a great balance of handling and performance. The luxury model is a high-powered 4.2-liter, V8 with 300 horsepower, 6-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters.
The XF has “scary” power, accelerating 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds. If that isn’t fast enough, the supercharged V8 with 420 horsepower races from 0-60 mpg in 5.1 seconds.
Handling is equally impressive, providing and experience that will have many drivers looking for an excuse to take the XF out for any type of errand — just to get behind the wheel. The sedan corners efficiently and steering is precise. Noise is well muted, the ride smooth even on coarse surfaces.
The XF has few minor negatives. The exterior style — fastback look, squarish grille — might not be bold enough for some buyers. And no all-wheel-drive option might be a turnoff. Rivals like the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G37 and Lexus ES 350 all feature available AWD.
The XF is expensive for an entry level model — $55,200 for the premium luxury model (the cheapest of the three trims is $49,200).
Power — 4.2-liter, V8, 300 horsepower; Mileage Estimates — 16 mpg (city), 25 mpg (hwy); Standard Features — antilock disc brakes, traction control, brake assist, automatic climate controls, leather upholster, 10-way power front bucket seats, memory system, wood interior trim, power sunroof, universal garage door opener, automatic headlights; Warranty — bumper-to-bumper, 4 years/50,000; Corrosion, 6 years/unlimited mileage; Free roadside assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles; Frtee scheduled maintenance, 1 years/12,500 miles