Full 2012 Jaguar XF Review
What's New for 2012
The Jaguar XF gets a few updates for 2012. The exterior styling looks even sleeker this year thanks to new headlights and taillights. The interior gets a new seat design, revised interior controls, upgraded sound systems and a new touchscreen electronics interface to go along with enhanced high-tech features. Finally, the previous Premium trim level has been replaced by the XF Portfolio.
The 2012 Jaguar XF represents a bold take on the luxury sedan segment and it has a rich character that's immediately evident. The console-mounted start button pulsates red as if there's a real feline heart beating deep inside. Pressing it brings the Jaguar V8 to life and then, like the curtain rising on La Traviata, lifts the circular gear selector into the driver's palm and rotates the four air vents into place. This is automotive theatre that makes similar efforts by various Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models seem like uninspired dinner club productions.
For three years, such theatre has helped rejuvenate a Jaguar brand that had pretty much used up the last of its nine lives (our last feline reference, we promise). But as this midsize luxury sedan hits the midpoint of its lifecycle, there is certainly room for improvement. For 2012, the XF and high-performance XFR get a mild styling refresh that smoothes out some of the car's less elegant details. The most prominent change can be seen on the headlights, which have been restyled to be sleeker and now more closely resemble those of the flagship XJ sedan. The grille is a tad more upright, while the lower fascia has been made less fussy. Around back, the taillights are a big bigger and now utilize LED bulbs.
Inside the cabin, the base model's seats are more supportive this year and there are new colors available for the leather upholstery. More important, Jaguar has installed its latest navigation system complete with the same touchscreen interface that's also used in the XJ. It still has some ergonomic issues and responds slowly at times, but it represents a big improvement. Other interior controls have been reworked to look, feel and function better.
Otherwise, the 2012 Jaguar XF carries on with its sharp handling, resilient ride and superb V8 engines. Of course, there are some downsides. Most of this car's competitors are available with all-wheel drive and a less powerful, more fuel-efficient engine choice. Rear-seat headroom can also be tight. It's definitely worth checking out the Audi A6 and Audi A7, the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and E-Class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Jaguar XF is a midsize luxury sedan available in four trim levels: base XF, XF Portfolio, XF Supercharged and XFR.
The base XF comes standard with 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, automatic bi-xenon headlights with washers and auto-leveling, LED running lamps, a sunroof, automatic wipers, keyless ignition, cruise control, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated six-way power front seats with driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a navigation system, voice controls, a touchscreen electronics interface and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio and two USB audio jacks with an iPod interface.
The XF's Premium Package 1 adds adaptive headlights, front parking sensors and a rearview camera. The Premium Package 2 includes a blind spot warning system, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, automatic high beams and a power rear sunshade. The Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel and a heated windshield.
The XF Portfolio adds the Premium Package 1, 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry, ventilated front seats with additional adjustments (12-way driver, eight-way passenger, four-way lumbar), extended leather interior trim and a faux-suede headliner. The Premium Package 2 and Cold Weather package are optional along with the Sport Pack, which adds special 19-inch wheels, unique exterior styling cues and sport seats with additional adjustments.
The XF Supercharged gets a more powerful engine, an adaptive suspension, bigger brakes, 20-inch wheels, summer tires, the heated steering wheel, an 11-speaker sound system, and most of the content from Premium Package 2. The Supercharged does not include adaptive headlights or the power rear sunshade, but they can be added as options. Also optional are the sport seats, heated windshield and automatic high beams.
The XFR adds to the XF Supercharged a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned adaptive suspension, different 20-inch wheels, more aggressive styling cues, automatic high beams, sport seats, the power rear sunshade, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio system (the latter two items are optional separately on all other XF models). The Black package adds special black exterior trim along with dark gray wheels.
Adaptive cruise control is optional on all XFs except the base model.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Jaguar XF and XF Portfolio get a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. As has been the case with past XF models, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the base V8 model accelerates from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is average for the segment at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
The XF Supercharged gets a version of the same engine that has been supercharged to produce 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. Jag says this car should be good for a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. EPA estimates stand at 15/21/17.
The XFR also has a supercharged 5.0-liter, but it cranks out 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, it hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is actually the same as that of the XF Supercharged.
Every 2012 Jaguar XF comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and parking sensors. Available safety equipment includes a blind spot warning system, a rearview camera and a forward impediment alert system (included with adaptive cruise control).
In Edmunds brake testing, it took about 108 feet for both a base XF and an XFR to come to a stop from 60 mph. That's with 20-inch wheels and summer tires, so XFs with different tires won't have the same stopping performance.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Jaguar XF's interior is a uniquely bold step for both the traditional British brand and the entire luxury sedan segment. This is a distinctly modern environment, far from the frumpy stereotype of English cars, although soft leather and tastefully used wood trim still set a Jaguar apart from its German competition. Overall, this cabin is a standout in a segment typically known for luxurious presentations.
For 2012, Jaguar has upgraded the standard navigation system and touchscreen to the same level employed in the flagship XJ sedan. It's an improvement to be sure, but the system's response times can still be a little sluggish and its touch buttons are too small. Thankfully, there are additional physical buttons to complement the virtual buttons on the touchscreen, and these have a richer, soft-touch black finish instead of the old shiny silver stuff.
Other updates for 2012 include a new, more supportive seat design. Interior space remains the same, which means that legroom is sufficient in the backseat, while headroom can be a bit squished for taller folks. The trunk is quite roomy at 17 cubic feet.
The 2012 Jaguar XF's smooth, hushed demeanor allows for comfortable long-distance journeys, yet there's also a level of performance that's unexpected 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, while the Supercharged's lusciously smooth upgraded V8 takes you into another dimension of performance, serving up a seemingly endless wave of eye-popping power. The 510-hp XFR adds even more thrust along with the most capable and entertaining handling in the lineup.