Sleeper Cat - 2012 Jaguar XF Long-Term Road Test

2012 Jaguar XF Long Term Road Test

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2012 Jaguar XF: Sleeper Cat

November 14, 2012

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I got my first seat time in the XF last night. And I'm as smitten as most of us. This was a pleasant surprise because I've never rated Jaguar much. It's just a marque that has never resonated with me, despite decades of indisputable style and class.

Ironically, the XF doesn't seem that stylish. The curves and proportions are right, but nothing really stands out. The channeled hood is nice, but overall the XF lacks the visual drama of its classic predecessors. That's fine with me. Feels like it has a sleeper quality, not unlike the last GTO. I didn't see the XF causing many double-takes. Then again, I had my hands full watching the road. The XF feels like the right car for someone with dough, but still unaccustomed to flashing it. Maybe it's the right car for some of the newly-minted Facebook guys.

The cat has immense power, of course. While warming up at idle, the sound from the exhaust is remarkable, the most refined Mustang you've ever heard. And that power holds consequence, too. I discovered that a downshift followed too quickly by throttle makes the rear-end wiggle, as a rush of boost comes on at about the same time as weight transfer. But it's a fun wiggle, until it's not and you're 180 degrees into the guardrail.

Not sold on the motorized vents and rising shift dial. Cool tricks, but can't help but think they would get old quick. Brakes are sensitive, too. Annoyingly so. But they look great under equally nice wheels, and sensitive brakes are preferable to the alternative.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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