2012 Jaguar XF Long Term Road Test

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2012 Jaguar XF: Thoughts On The Transmission's Sport Mode

January 3, 2013

2012 Jaguar XF

Like most luxury sport sedans with automatic transmissions, the Jaguar XF has a Sport mode for its six-speed auto. It's easily selected by turning the rotary gear dial clockwise from "D" to "S."

Sport mode does make a noticeable difference. Throttle response is sharper, and individual gears are held longer before upshifts. The transmission will also downshift into a lower gear when slowing, thereby keeping engine rpm higher. This latter attribute is nice during cornering, as it makes the supercharged V8's power delivery all the more immediate. Not that you're exactly lacking with 470 horsepower on tap, of course.

There's just one thing I'm not really fond of, and that's the quality of the downshifts, particularly when manually selecting gears using the paddle shifters. The transmission does "rev-match" for downshifts, bringing engine rpm up for a downshift to help smooth out the shift. But for some reason it doesn't do all that great of a job with this. The downshifts aren't smooth enough for this class of car, and feel rather jerky at times.

I'm hoping that the 2013 Jaguar XF, with its new eight-speed automatic, will be better in this regard.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 16,002 miles

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