2012 Jaguar XF: Beautiful Ugly Engine
August 07, 2012
I think Jaguar's supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is one of the best high-performance engines in the world. The all-aluminum DOHC mill comes in three flavors; 470 hp as in our XF sedan, 510 hp as in an XFR, XJ or Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged and 550 hp as in an XKR-S coupe or convertible, and I find each quite savory.
In the great V8 tradition, the blown Jag delivers big-block Chevy-like torque and a true high-performance roar up around its 6,500 rpm redline. Power delivery is dyno-chart perfection with a Nebraska flat curve and its throttle response is just how I like it, quick. Gotta love that direct injection.
I like almost everything about this engine, with the possible exception of its thirst, but there are no free lunches in this world.
The only real issue is the way it looks.
While the engineers and designers of BMW, Audi and Mercedes, especially AMG, spend time making their engines as beautiful as they are mechanically impressive, Jag's white coats do not. Open the XF's hood and the blown 5.0 is a sea of hard sharply-edged black plastic including a cheap looking and rather flimsy engine cover.
Remove it and the view gets worse, exposing an unfinished aluminum intake manifold that appears to have been cast by high school shop students.
Unfortunate. Hopefully this engine will get a literal facelift when it is under the hood of Jag's F-Type sports car in 2014.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief