Drives Like a Smaller Car from an Earlier Time - 2012 Jaguar XF Long-Term Road Test

2012 Jaguar XF Long Term Road Test

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2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged: Drives Like a Smaller Car from an Earlier Time

February 1, 2013

2012 Jaguar XF

I just took my first drive in our long-term 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged, even though we've had this car for over six months and 17,000 miles. I've driven an XF before, but it has been years, and there have been many A6, 5 Series and E-Class sedans in between and they've shaped my opinion of what a midsize luxury sedan should be in 2013.

Driving the Jaguar takes me back to an earlier time. It feels truly midsize from the driver seat. And I feel like any input I make behind the wheel will elicit a reasonably direct response from the car.

It just has to be smaller and lighter than the latest incarnations of the German sedans. That's what I thought and I was totally wrong.

It's built on pretty much the same scale as the 5 Series, and unlike the XJ, its unit-body is steel, so curb weight is similar to the 550i, which is to say they both weigh just over two tons. A comparison with the A6/S6 or E-Class yields the same result.

Yet, the XF feels so much more alive, maybe because it still has hydraulic-assist power steering or because I don't feel like I have to mess with its adaptive damping to fine-tune its ride quality. It doesn't have a plush ride, mind you, but at least it's honest. It's not trying to insulate me from my decision to drive around in a sedan with (unnecessarily large) 20-inch wheels.

I've complained that the current 5 Series is too isolating, so if I was going to buy a midsize luxury sedan right now, I'd have to put my money where my mouth is: And that means I'd buy a Jaguar XF or an E39 5 Series. I'd pay more up front for the Jag but would have to do plenty of reconditioning on the old BMW. Either way, I'd end up with a sedan that looks good in my driveway and that I'd enjoy driving every day.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 17,361 miles


  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Erin, what a magnificent post! I want to say something even slightly constructive, but I can't decide what to comment on specifically since I agree with it all.... Just... You go girl! (I can't believe you actually made me say that)

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    Erin, I've been reading your content on for several years. While I've never not had respect for anything you've written, I've also never felt that you and I are looking for the same kind of thing from automobile. Until now, with your comment about considering an older BMW. I traded one in about a year ago and really miss the feeling of lean muscle and connection to the road. Sure, the newer sport-luxury cars have modern creature comforts, but as they grow bigger and heavier and more isolating they become more and more like driving simulators. Comparing the driving experience of the XF to that of an older 5 series is frankly one of the best recommendations I've read to date for the XF.

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