It’s no exaggeration when Jaguar bosses say that 2015 is the year of the cat. Before the BMW 3 Series-rivalling Jaguar XE even hits showrooms and hot on the heels of the confirmation of the F-Pace SUV, the company has unveiled an all-new version of the Jaguar XF – a model that was voted Car of the Decade by readers of Auto Express in 2010.
The new second generation Jaguar XF, with clear echoes of the XE in the design, will go on sale in UK showrooms towards the end of this year, featuring the lightweight tech and new engines debuting in the XE… and then some.
Jaguar’s design chief Ian Callum gave Auto Express a guided tour of the new XF, telling us what the brand’s trying to achieve with the new model: “We’ve listened to what existing customers have asked for, so the car is more mature, sophisticated and with more room,” he said.
“Our first objective is always proportion and stance, and we’ve protected the sporty profile of the XF even with a bigger cabin. “In fact it’s shorter and lower than the old car, but the width is about the same. And it’s got the best legroom in the business – you’ve never heard that before from Jaguar.” The new Jaguar family look with its upright grille and swept-back lights is complemented by some lovely detailing, like the winglets that sit either side of the bonnet.
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“We’ve continued with the front end graphics for the XF because it’s important we have a family look people will recognise – Jaguar isn’t very well known around the world,” said Callum. “This car is assertive and aggressive, without being vulgar – it’s very British.”
The sportier S models, like the car in our pictures, get deep air intakes below the bumper, while all models feature a distinctive Jaguar bonnet bulge. The strong, long window line has a new kick-back graphic around the rear three-quarter window, while a bold shoulder line gives the car what Callum calls “visual length”, peaking over the rear wheelarch and fading away towards the back.
The new XF is remarkably aero-efficient, too, according to Callum: “Aeros play a big part in how we design the car,” he said. “But it’s a challenge – Jaguar design emanates from soft shapes, but they’re not good for aeros – straight lines and sharp edges are. So we look for a balance, with efficiency.”
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That efficiency is continued at the back, with an aerodynamic element to the tail-lamps, which again follow on from recent Jaguar graphic trends started with the F-Type and continuing with the XE. This time, though, there are two round elements to each tail-lamp.
The inside takes themes from the XE, XJ and current XF, so the famous revolving air vents that tumble into position as you press the starter button are still present. However, they’re now on the outer edges of the dashboard rather than in the middle, for packaging reasons – no doubt due to the 10.2-inch touchscreen now available. The familiar, rising rotary gear selector is also present and correct.
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Jaguar’s ‘Reva hoop’ design runs from the doors around the dash, meeting at the centre with a neat Jaguar badge. The overall theme is one of cosseting comfort that’s both simple and elegant.Plus, there’s a step up in technology with InControl Touch Pro, taking Jaguar’s connectivity to the next level thanks to the bigger screen and quad core processors that’ll cut response times and allow snazzier graphics.
As with the rest of the JLR line-up, there’s a Meridian sound system upgrade – this time with 17 speakers and 825W of power. The main instrument panel is a 12.3-inch TFT display that’s highly configurable, while full LED headlights feature for the first time on a Jag, too.
Like the XE, the XF features Jaguar’s aluminium-intensive architecture, so it’s 190kg lighter than the outgoing model. The wheelbase is 51mm longer, even though the car is 7mm shorter than before, and engineering boss Ian Hoban claims there’s more headroom, but the car is 3mm lower than before. The 540-litre boot is bigger than in a Mercedes E-Class or a BMW 5 Series.
Dynamics are improved thanks to a body that’s 28 per cent stiffer and 11 per cent lighter, while at the front there’s double wishbone suspension similar to that of the F-Type. Integral link was chosen for the rear set-up for the best blend of comfort and handling, while Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics with continuously variable damping will be an option to tweak the dampers, steering and eight-speed auto box.
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Electric power-steering also features, and as with all new Jags the XF will be available with four-wheel drive. Engine choices include members of the new Ingenium engine family that debuts in the XE, with 161bhp and 178bhp 2.0-litre diesels. The former will be sold with Jaguar’s new ‘E’ badge as it’ll emit only 104g/km of CO2 and claim 70mpg-plus.
There’ll also be a revised version of the 296bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbodiesel with a whopping 700Nm of torque, while the 375bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol from the F-Type will also feature.
We’d expect trim levels to broadly mirror those of the XE, with SE, Prestige, R-Sport (with sportier bodywork) and Portfolio. The S badge will be reserved for the hottest models until an SVR version arrives, possibly as early as 2016.
With the F-Pace filling the slot of a more practical Jaguar next year, it may be a little bit longer before we see any replacement for the XF Sportbrake. However, saloon versions should be in Jaguar showrooms in September with prices yet to be confirmed.
Find out more about the cars at the 2015 New York Motor Show here...
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Jaguar revealed the new XF with a spectacular high wire driving stunt in London's Docklands. Watch the video below to see the XF in action...
The car successfully took on the world's longest high wire water crossing, driving along two carbon wires suspended 18m above the water of a dock near London's Canary Wharf. The 240m trip was said by Jaguar to demonstrate the car's lightweight credentials and it teamed up with Jim Dowdall, a James Bond movie stuntman to complete the challenge.
For more on the Jaguar XF check out our sister site Carbuyer...