Full 2011 Jaguar XF Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Jaguar XF receives a few minor changes. Most notably, the base model's 4.2-liter V8 has been replaced by the larger and more powerful 5.0-liter V8 from the more expensive XF Premium. To deal with the additional performance, the base XF gets larger front brakes and Jaguar Drive Control Dynamic mode, a system that provides sportier settings for the suspension, throttle and transmission shift points. Chief among the other changes is the availability of a heated windshield for all XFs.
Now in its third year of production, the XF sedan continues to be a game-changer for Jaguar. Recent Jags were seemingly designed to cater to what people thought a Jag should be: namely, a quaint motorcar that looked just like the quaint motorcar that came before it. They were built for the people who think of England as a nation filled with yarn-twiddling grannies sipping Earl Grey and telling tales about the War.
The XF, along with the new, larger XJ, has left those people in its dust and established a bold new stylistic direction for Jaguar. Traditional virtues like powerful engines and a sumptuous cabin remain, but the XF's contemporary shape sets it apart as a Jag for the 21st century.
The midsize 2011 Jaguar XF has earned a warm welcome over its first two years of production. We're fond of its rich character, highlighted by items like the console-mounted start button that pulsates red and the circular gear selector that rises from the console when the engine comes to life. Of course, it also drives exceptionally well, with prodigious V8 power and an excellent balance between handling and comfort. The XF Supercharged even prevailed in an Edmunds comparison test with segment stalwarts from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
Jaguar's most significant change for 2011 is swapping the base model's former 4.2-liter V8 for the more powerful 5.0-liter V8 that debuted in the 2010 XF Premium. The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 pumps out 385 horsepower in these two models, while the familiar XF Supercharged gets (yes) a supercharged version of the engine good for a whopping 470 hp. The supercharged XFR tops the line with an even more powerful version of the XF Supercharged's motor rated at 510 hp and 461 pound-feet of torque. Along with the gutsier engine, the XFR also gains other performance upgrades, unique exterior and interior enhancements and user-selectable modes for the suspension.
A more powerful engine for the entry-level XF is a worthy third act for a car that's already established itself as a class standout. The XF Premium's generous standard amenities continue to hold strong appeal for the typical luxury car buyer, while the XF Supercharged and particularly the XFR give shoppers of a BMW M5 or 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG a reason to stop at a Jaguar dealer. Any 2011 Jaguar XF deserves a place on your "to drive" list if you're considering a sedan in this price segment. The XF is not without its quirks and detractors, but the car's blend of sophisticated road manners, high-tech features and signature British interior ambience is uniquely enticing.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Jaguar XF is a midsize luxury sedan available in four trim levels: base XF, XF Premium, XF Supercharged and XFR. Standard equipment for the base XF includes 18-inch wheels, halogen headlamps, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, automatic headlights, automatic dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, leather upholstery and heated 10-way power front seats with driver memory functions. Also standard are Bluetooth, a navigation system, voice-activated controls and a nine-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack, a portable audio interface and satellite radio. The Vision package adds front parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system.
The XF Premium includes Vision package items and adds 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon auto-leveling headlamps, heated and cooled front seats, leather-trimmed dash and door trim, wood trim choices and keyless ignition and entry. The Portfolio package adds 20-inch wheels, 16-way driver and 12-way passenger power seats with climate control, contrasting upholstery stitching, ebony wood trim, a heated steering wheel and a power shade for the rear window. The window shade, heated steering wheel and 19-inch wheels are among the stand-alone options on the base XF.
Optional for the XF and XF Premium is a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system with 14 speakers and HD radio. New for 2011 is the addition of an in-dash six-disc CD changer with the B&W system. The XF Premium can also be outfitted with adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and windshield and a rear sunshade as stand-alone options.
The XF Supercharged comes standard with a supercharged V8, 20-inch wheels and quad tailpipes. Stand-alone options on Supercharged models include adaptive cruise control, heated windshield, and a unique suede headliner. The Jaguar XFR adds even more supercharged power, unique 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, bigger brakes, a specialized limited-slip rear differential, additional seating adjustments and unique
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Jaguar XF features three engines in four models, each with a corresponding trim level. The base XF and the XF Premium sport a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. The XF Supercharged has a supercharged version of the 5.0-liter V8 rated at 470 hp and 424 lb-ft. The XFR has a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with even more power, cranking out 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. All send their grunt to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission that features a Sport mode and shift paddles. Fuel economy estimates for the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter engine are 16 city/23 highway/19 combined. Estimates for the supercharged XFR engine are 15/21/17.
Performance is as impressive as the engine specifications would suggest. In recent testing by Edmunds, a Jaguar XF Premium sprinted to 60 mph in only 5.7 seconds, while an XFR needed only 4.5 seconds. With sports car acceleration, even these heavy luxury cars should satisfy the most demanding of drivers.
Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat airbags, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system are optional on the base XF and standard on the XF Premium, XF Supercharged and XFR.
Braking performance for the XF lineup is particularly noteworthy. Under controlled conditions, we managed to bring an XF Premium to a stop from 60 mph in only 106 feet -- a distance usually associated with high-performance sports cars. In testing, an XFR required an equally impressive 108 feet to stop.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Jaguar XF's interior is a bold step forward for both the traditionally frumpy British brand and the entire luxury sedan segment. The console-mounted start button pulsates red like there's a real feline heart beating deep inside. Pressing it fires the engine to life, and then the circular gear selector rises into the driver's palm as the four air vents open and rotate into place. Some might find this production a bit gimmicky, but the XF backs it up with soft leather, tastefully applied wood and a pleasing design. Overall, it's a standout in a segment typically known for conservative cabins.
There are a couple ergonomic missteps, though. Most of the audio, climate, navigation and Bluetooth phone functions are controlled via a central touchscreen, and while the menus are logically arranged, some of the virtual buttons are too small. Also, the unnecessarily swoopy graphics make processing times too long. The center stack's few physical buttons are welcome for adjusting the climate system, but those devoted to audio controls are redundant, and generally this real estate could be better utilized. Rear outward visibility is also worse than average.
In terms of space, those in front will find an ample amount, but taller folks seated in the back may find their heads grazing the roof -- the XF is not as commodious as the 5 Series or E-Class. The trunk, however, is quite roomy at 17 cubic feet.
The 2011 Jaguar XF's smooth and hushed demeanor allows for comfortable long-distance journeys, yet there's also an unexpected level of performance for a Jaguar sedan. Around corners, the XF has considerable grip and surprisingly high limits. The steering is a little light and numb, but the XF is still more fun to drive than many competitors.
Acceleration from the base 5.0-liter V8 is swift and seamless, yet the lusciously smooth supercharged V8 in the XF and Supercharged takes you into another dimension of performance, serving up a seemingly endless wave of eye-popping power. For those who desire a Jaguar with even sharper claws, the 510-hp XFR adds even more thrust, along with the most capable and entertaining handling in the lineup.