Jaguar XF 2.0 SE Review: A Pleasing Evolution

Text by James Wong; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club
10 May 2022
 

Refinement is also right up there with the very best.

I have always liked Jaguars. My dream one day is to own a X350 Jaguar XJ, preferably with a V8. There’s something refreshing about them after trying their German competitors; more attention is paid to craftsmanship, good design language and reduction in complication. The technology race is less pursued, and I think Jaguar is the better for it. 

With the XJ all but discontinued, the XF is the next best thing you can get, and it shows in how it looks. Adopting the XJ’s quiet handsomeness, it looks best when seen in person, with elegance and British restraint making the XF a very attractive car whichever angle you look. 

It also has been specified as standard rather tastefully, so you do get appropriately sized rims with an interesting design. On the inside, there are chunky chrome gearshift paddles, illuminated metal tread plates and best of all, a two-tone split rim leather steering wheel that (whisper it) feels like it's off a Bentley Flying Spur. A standout for its segment is its 400W Meridian 13-speaker sound system, which sets the tone for a relaxing atmosphere to lounge in. The beautiful Bluefire Blue exterior and tan brown interior works so well too, portraying every bit the country club feel.  

There is only one trim level available for the XF in Singapore, which is the 2.0 SE utilising the P250 petrol engine good for 250 PS and a staggering 365 Nm, which is a torque figure you normally see from a diesel engine of this displacement. The century sprint is accomplished in 6.9 seconds, and in practice the engine feels very potent, its power lumpy rather than linear. In fact, the gearbox can feel a little busy at times trying to find the right gear to make full use of the powerband. The result is slightly halting progress especially if you are pushing hard. In most instances though where the car isn’t hurried, it feels reasonably smooth.  

What Jaguar got really nailed down is its ride quality. There is hardly an instance where it is caught off-guard. It is pliant, most agreeable and offers an impressive level of body control at the same time. Show the XF some corners and it will tackle them eagerly. It is most definitely not a lazy luxury sedan; there’s an inherent natural balance to proceedings that make it very sweet to drive. 

Refinement is also right up there with the very best. Noise levels are but a hush, with precious little intruding into the cabin. The insulation is made not to be totally silent on purpose, so that there is a trademark Jaguar ‘sound’ whenever the car is on a cruise for some sense of orientation and comfort.  

The new XF’s Pivi Pro infotainment system is already a huge improvement over what came before, but one can tell it is still a step behind the German competition when it comes to speed, resolution quality and sophistication. But its layout is commendable as it is an easy-to-use system that shows all important functions in a clean interface, burying most of the more detailed settings in sub menus where you do not use often. When used in isolation, it is pleasing enough. There is also an InControl Remote App that one can use to remotely start the car and turn on the AC on a hot day, for example. 

I liked the Jaguar XF more than expected. I have a penchant for choosing older models instead, but this one is an honest effort at doing things differently, well enough to give the XF its own character and feel that’s very desirable. If the drivetrain had a tune-up for even more smoothness (perhaps with the MHEV technology from the diesel?), it would be more competitive still. 

In Summary

We Like

Great chassis balance, luxurious refinement, country club-like cabin.á

We Don't

Drivetrain can be more refined. Infotainment still falls a little short.

Verdict

The XF feels polished and properly engineered, it just needs some finishing touches.

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