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2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged Review

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2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged


SPECIFICATIONS - 2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged

Model: 2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged
Engine: 4.2-liter supercharged V8
Horsepower/Torque: 420 hp @ 6,250 rpm/413 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 114.5 in.
Length x Width x Height: 195.3 x 80.8 x 57.5 in.
Tires: 255/35ZR20 (F)/285/30ZR20 (R)
Cargo Volume: 17.7 cu. ft.
Economy: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway/16.1 mpg test
Fuel Capacity: 18.4 gal.
Price: $65,475 (includes 4775 transportation and handling charge and $4,300 in options)

The Bottom Line Jaguar’s all-new replacement for the S-Type is bigger, prettier and more powerful. It displays more of an XK heritage than the 3.4 (or Mk II) style it replaces, but it’s pure Jaguar in every way.

When Jaguar decided to replace the poor-selling S-Type sedan, there were some people who were disappointed. I was one of them. You see, many years ago I owned a 3.4 sedan, on which the design of the S-Type was based. Like the Mark II that eventually replaced it, the 3.4 (and S-Type) was an inverted “bathtub” design with an oval grille that was reminiscent of the original XK120 sports car.

I loved that sedan, despite its mechanical problems (I bought it well used), and always felt the design was unique and truly Jaguar.

But the S-Type wasn’t selling in the numbers to justify its existence and needed to be replaced. Hence, the XF, which is a vast improvement over the S, I sadly admit.

The XF is much more aerodynamic and beautifully styled than the cars it competes with – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. It’s a true four-door sedan that has more in common with the M-B CLS 500.

Enter the XF and you’re immediately struck with a problem. How do you drive the thing? First, there’s a pushbutton start/stop button that senses the presence of the key fob in your pocket.

But there’s no gearshift lever anywhere. All there is, is a BMW iDrive-style rotary dial sitting on the console that rises out of the console when the engine starts. But wait! The labels around this dial read PRNDL. This is the “gear lever.” It’s the first practical change to lever-style shifting since the Edsel’s pushbutton drive. And it’s so practical, even though I still had to think every time I wanted to shift at the end of our test week.

For those who simply must shift, there are paddle shifter located on the steering wheel.

Shift to “D” and off you go. The 420 horsepower supercharged 4.2-liter V8 jumps to life and you’re way above the speed limit before you can say “XF.” Acceleration is smooth and the supercharger exudes power, making the engine feel more like a V12 than a V8. Turbocharged engines offer a great kick when the boost kicks in, but supercharging offers a more steady application of power.

Handling is what you’d expect from a Jaguar. The marquee is famous for its race cars, but its modern production cars offer a more practical ride. Sure, the handling around corners is almost as good as a racing sports car, but it’s the ride quality over the other 99 and 44/100 percent of the roads that’s important. Here, the XF is comfortable without being too soft, yet inspires the kind of confidence you need to enter almost any turn with confidence that you’ll exit out the other end in one piece. And, your kidneys will be intact as well.

Interior comfort is also pure Jaguar. There’s the right combination of leather and wood to let you know you’re in a luxury car with a sticker price of more than $65,000. The dash and instrument panel are laid out in a sensible line across the front of the car. Instruments are classic Jaguar; white-on-black dials with clear markings. The navigation system does tend to be too bright at night, but there is a way to dim it.

Getting into the glove box is another challenge the designers have thrown at us. There is no button. There is a small target (or RAF) chrome design in the wood that spans the dash. Touch it correctly in the center and, voila!, the glove box opens. Oddly, we needed the owner’s manual to find out how to open the glove box, but couldn’t open it to get the manual. Eventually we figured it out.

We liked the air ducts as well. They’re shut when you enter the car, but they open when the engine starts.

Three versions of the XF are available. We had the top-of-the-line Supercharged, with a base price of $62,975. Just below this one is the Premium Luxury model with a base of $55,975 and a 300 hp naturally aspirated engine and 19-inch wheels and tires. Just below this is the Luxury model with a base of $49,975 and the 300 hp engine and 18-inch wheels and tires. While we loved all the goodies in the Supercharged version, I’d be willing to bet that either of the other two would satisfy most drivers just as well.

2008 The Auto Page Syndicate