2019 Jaguar XF S Road Test Review
May 29 2019, Trevor Hofmann
When absolute beauty meets technologically advanced performance
Jaguar has an enviable record in the sport-luxury sedan business. The beautiful Mk II and elegant XJ Series I, II and III that followed, not to mention the fabulous XJ X300 series from the mid-to-late-‘90s, are just three lines of sought-after collectibles from a storied brand with history that dates all the way back to the 1935 SS 2½-litre sports saloon.
Today, Jaguar’s four-door sedan lineup is more varied than ever before, with three distinct sedan models that are designed to compete within each key luxury car segment. All are formed from bonded and riveted aluminum body shells, an expensive process that yields better structural rigidity at less weight for improved performance, efficiency, crash protection and corrosion resistance, setting Jaguar apart from most competitors that haven’t invested as much in areas that might not be as immediately noticeable.
Then again, there’s no denying their beauty. The mid-size XF before you is at once sporty and dynamic, its bold black grille and sharply carved lower fascia details only tamed by stunningly rich paintwork over one of the most alluringly curvaceous bodies in its class, its shapely figure laying claim to Jaguar’s best-ever drag coefficient of 0.26.
Stunning interior mates high-quality materials with superb workmanship
The wind-cheating XF design goes far to make its interior quiet and serene, ideal whether conversing with passengers or just enjoying the sensational Meridian Surround audio system. Other silent delights include dash corner vents that whisk open automatically upon startup, these joining a centre console-mounted rotating gear selector that simultaneously powers upward into place from an otherwise flush mounting. As you might expect from Jaguar, the XF interior is very well made from some of the industry’s nicest leathers, woods and metals, my test car featuring Ebony leather with Light Oyster grey contrast stitching throughout, plus gorgeous Grey Figured Ebony veneers highlighting key surfaces.
It’s an interior that dazzles the eyes and pampers the senses, made even better now that ultra-soft Jaguar Suedecloth comes standard on all roof pillars and headliners in the XF line for 2019. What’s more, new standard aluminum treadplates feature illuminated Jaguar branding, while premium carpeted floor mats, sporty metal foot pedals, chromed power seat switchgear, and a really classy looking frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror help to refine the cabin’s design.
New standard 10-inch InControl Touch Pro touchscreen infotainment
The XF also provides better infotainment this year, thanks to a new 10-inch InControl Touch Pro touchscreen across the entire line. It incorporates a sophisticated new graphical interface that I really liked, while its larger display area provided better rearview/overhead camera visibility, clearer more detailed navigation mapping, and greater functionality from all other features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are now standard too, so getting the most from your personal device is now easier than ever.
Specific to the 2019 XF S being reviewed, along with everything mentioned above it receives a special “S” body kit featuring a sportier front bumper, glossy black side sills, a gloss-black rear valance, and a tasteful rear deck spoiler, while climbing inside reveals stylish “S” branded metal sill plates, attractive Dark Hex aluminum inlays across the instrument panel, supple leather-like Luxtec over the dash top, plus wonderfully comfortable and supportive “S” embossed 18-way power-adjustable sport seats.
While we’re on the subject of features, this top-line XF S also includes proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, rain-sensing wipers, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, auto-dimming, power-folding, heated side mirrors with approach lamps and puddle lights, memory for those mirrors and the front seats, heaters for the front cushions, mood lighting, a universal remote garage door opener, InControl Apps, Pro Services, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, plus much more.
Standard feature suite includes all the most important safety systems
Along with all the expected active and passive safety systems, the 2019 XF S also gets standard autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blindspot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic monitoring, driver condition monitoring, and more.
My test car was also updated with a healthy dose of options, some of which included a Comfort and Convenience package that adds a gesture-control powered trunk lid, soft closing doors, three-way active cooled/ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats; a Technology package featuring a really impressive 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Pro Services, and a CD/DVD changer; a Driver Assistance package incorporating a helpful overhead surround camera system, a forward-facing camera, 360-degree Park Distance Control, Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking, dynamic cruise control with Queue Assist, blindspot assist, and traffic sign recognition with an intelligent speed limiter; and a handy head-up display system; all of which pushed the XF S base price up from $75,300 to $85,850, which is still very reasonable for such a beautifully made, well equipped, high-performance sport-luxury sedan.
Performance makes the XF stand proudly against its peers
To be clear, the 2019 XF starts at just $59,100 plus freight and fees. That car is powered by a potent 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 247 horsepower, while a 296 horsepower version of the same gasoline-powered engine can be had in the $67,000 Prestige. My tester’s 380 horsepower 3.5-litre supercharged V6 can only be found in S trim, and thanks to its superb performance and great value proposition, is a popular choice.
The aforementioned rotating gear selector connects through to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters that actuate Jaguar Sequential Shift manual mode on all trims. Enhancing the driving experience further, Jaguar Drive Control includes Standard, Eco, Dynamic (sport), and Rain/Ice/Snow driving modes, each of which makes a big difference to the comfort, performance and thriftiness of the XF, while Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVBB), hill launch assist, and standard all-wheel drive improve control on all road conditions.
Specific to my XF S test car, Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) plus Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Dynamics provided the choice of personal engine, suspension, steering, and transmission settings, all making a major difference to how it responded to inputs, from providing the relaxed comfort of a luxury car one moment, to the edgy responsiveness of a well sorted sports sedan the next.
Together with all items already noted, the XF S also includes more capable 350-mm front brake rotors and red calipers all-round, as well as 20-inch alloy wheels, the latter seriously benefiting both performance and styling.
Agile handling belies its size
Following a Jaguar theme I’ve also experienced with the XE and XJ, the XF drives like a smaller, lighter, sportier and all around more engaging car than its lengthy, mid-size dimensions suggest, and feels more lively and agile than most of its peers too. The top-line V6 responds energetically, which can be attributed to its generous displacement and previously noted supercharger, the latter making sure all 332 lb-ft of torque hit the road running as quickly from launch as possible, while its all-wheel drivetrain eliminates wheel spin in snowy, wet or dry conditions, plus the aforementioned eight-speed transmission clicks through its gears with precise, speedy engagement.
Performance is a key reason to choose an XF over its peers, from its assertive 5.3-second launch from standstill to 100km/h, to its effortless handling and superb ride quality derived from a lightweight aluminum front double-wishbone and rear integral link suspension setup, it’s a car that begs to be pushed hard through high-speed corners, yet is just as satisfying while comfortably cruise in down multi-lane freeways or negotiating through congested city streets. The XF S is a sport-luxury sedan capable of managing most any situation with class and poise.
Happily, the XF S is quite thrifty about its business too, with a Transport Canada rating of 12.0 L/100km in the city, 8.4 on the highway and 10.4 combined, which is actually quite good for such a powerful, luxurious, and sizeable car.
Very roomy and supremely comfortable
Yes, the XF is very spacious from front to back, this thanks to a wheelbase that was stretched considerably for this second-generation car. This means front occupants will have 1,055 mm of maximum legroom to get comfortable in, whereas those in the rear will be able to lean back and relax with 957 mm of leg space, so therefore even those with long-legged teens should never hear comfort-related complaints.
Likewise, the trunk is extremely large at 541 litres, while it also provides best-possible 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks that allow for longer cargo such as skis down the middle, while rear outboard passengers enjoy the more comfortable, warmer, scenic window seats.
There are many reasons to like the 2019 Jaguar XF, especially when configured in its most potent S trim, so make sure to find out for yourself by taking one for a test drive at Jaguar Vancouver. Call (604) 738-5577 now, or come by the showroom at 1730 Burrard Street, Vancouver to find out more.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credit: Karen Tuggay