2012 Jaguar XF: Truth or Consequences
July 09, 2012
Really, why take the short way home? That's what I told myself as the Jaguar headed down the road from Templeton into the rolling country of ranches and vineyards outside of Paso Robles. Why not give the XF its head on these back roads between the coastal oaks?
Apparently I was not the first to go this way with similar intent, as this informal warning sign made from a classic Jaguar XJ6 suggests. It's right in the middle of a Y intersection, and probably the nursery behind the white fence has grown tired of drivers running out of talent on its doorstep.
This particular XF is way too much car for back roads, really. If you want to keep from sticking it in a dirt bank like the XJ6, you definitely need a plan before you put your right foot to the floor.
A flick of a switch on the center console gives you the usual quicker throttle response, enhanced manual control of the shift paddles, and more permissive stability control. This all seems like a fine thing, but I can't get along with the abrupt throttle response at all, as you can't help but make the car lurch whenever you try to finesse the gas pedal.
The brakes are great when it comes to pure stopping power, and the increased effectiveness from the pads ("brake rise") helps compensate for fade during long, hard stops from high speed. But at the kind of pace you drive on a back road, it's difficult to finesse the brake pedal. The pedal action is very light in effort at first, and then the brake pads seem to bite all at once, so once again you make the car lurch when it should be dancing.
Basically, this is a very, very tough car, and it's really meant for places where the road is wide open and fast, fast, fast.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,890 miles