2012 Jaguar XF: AWD, New Engines Untap Potential
August 21, 2012
Jaguar recently announced that the 2013 XF will be available with all-wheel drive along with a 340-horsepower supercharged V6 and a 240-hp turbocharged inline-4. Eight-speed automatics and an auto-stop/start system will be applied to all models.
I can't really underscore enough how important this development is for Jaguar. Two weeks ago on the 2013 Lexus LS launch, a Lexus product development rep said that nearly 100 percent of LS models sold in the midwest and northeast come equipped with all-wheel drive. In total, 40 percent of all LS' sold send their power to all four wheels. At the same time, there's a reason BMW has xDrive, Mercedes 4Matic and Audi banks on Quattro -- people in the snow belt don't want rear-wheel drive. The addition of all-wheel drive for both the XF and XJ immediately open it up to a huge number of luxury buyers who previously would've considered Jag a non starter.
As for the new engines, the XF is now in a far better position to compete with the 5 Series, E-Class and A6. As much as we adore our 470-horsepower V8, that's not exactly what I'd consider the powerplant of a volume seller. A new turbo-4 base engine and the supercharged V6 that'll replace the previous 5.0-liter V8 quite simply makes a boat-load of sense and is way overdue. Plus, the XF already feels so lithe and light weight that I suspect less power won't be a problem at all. If the 5 Series can roll with a four-banger, you'd better believe the XF can.
Obviously, you couldn't talk me out of our XF Supercharged and its 470 hp sent to the rear wheels. Yes, even with that fuel economy and range, it's just too lustworthy to pass up. However, Jag is finally now in the position to better compete for those who would prioritize fuel economy and who would worry about fish-tailing into a snow bank. A lower price is bound to help too. I'll be very interested to look at Jaguar sales in one year to see the difference.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,803 miles