June 18, 2012
Nobody notices our new long-term 2012 Jaguar XF as it slides through traffic. So we put it in Dynamic mode, double-tap the downshift paddle and make the exhaust crack and pop like a hunk of hot iron dipped into a bucket of water. Still, nobody notices, or at least they don't think it's our black Jaguar sedan. We rev the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 at a stoplight to hear the growl ricochet off the retaining walls and though the car visibly shakes like an old hot rod each time the V8 settles back into its engine mounts, nobody suspects the sedate British four-door.
That is, of course, until we drop the hammer. Our new Jag XF Supercharged lights the tires, paints some fresh lines on the road and slinks off into the night. Anyone who saw it probably thought the entire show was out of character and a bit crude, as if Colin Firth were to punch the Queen.
But why the surprise? Our XF has a supercharged V8, yet when sport sedans get talked about it's always BMW-this and Audi-that. Why does everyone forget about the more than capable Jaguar XF?
What We Got
The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged is only one model removed from being the top-of-the-line XF and as such, it carries a price to match ($68,975) and a long list of standard features. First and foremost is the 32-valve, 470-horsepower 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that powers the rear wheels. This engine was added a year into the XF's production.
When it debuted in 2009, the Jag had a 4.2-liter V8 that produced a mere 420 hp and 413 pound-feet of torque. It was still good for zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds (5.0 with 1 foot of rollout) and a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds at 104.6 mph. Not bad, but we're not going to say we don't appreciate this new motor with more displacement and more top-end pull. Jag says this one should do zero to 60 in under 5. We'll see once we're out of break-in miles. The only transmission option is a six-speed shiftable automatic.
While Jags have always had competent power plants, they're also known for having well-appointed interiors and this one is no different. Rear parking sensors are standard, as are a sunroof, Bluetooth, navigation, iPod interface, self-leveling xenon HID headlamps, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, soft grain leather with contrast stitching, heated and cooled seats, a 600-watt stereo, 7-inch color touchscreen with Media Hub with Interactive Voice and probably much more.
As if that wasn't enough, our tester is equipped with the piano-black interior option that removes the old-school wood look and replaces it with something slick and modern. That's $790. To continue that modern, sleek look, we've got the Jet Headliner option for $525. The Interior pack costs $1,300 and adds soft leather seats (18-way adjustable for the driver, 14 for the passenger) and bright pedals. Adaptive headlights were $850.
These options tip the scales over the $70,000 mark and give us an as-tested price of $72,440. A big chunk of change even if Jaguar is providing the vehicle on loan.
Why We Got It
The XF was an often-mentioned sedan whenever we asked for input on which car we should get next. It's also an overlooked player in the midsize luxury sedan segment, and recent upgrades make it more competitive than ever.
There's also the reliability factor to consider. Jaguar has been trying to get over its reputation for poor quality for decades now, so this should be a good test to see if any of that reputation is still deserved.
The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged is perhaps the most handsome car we've ever had in our fleet thanks in part to a midcycle face-lift it got this year. On the outside, the Jag gets a new hood (with sweet "Supercharged" script), new grille and front airdam and XJ-style headlights. Inside, we're looking at new seats and a new navigation system we've previously dealt with in the Jaguar XJ.
Is a new look enough to get the 2012 Jaguar XF back on the radar of the sport-sedan enthusiast? To get people to notice the 470-hp stunner as a legitimate player in the game? To stand out in this hyper-competitive market that straddles the line between iron fist and velvet glove?
Or maybe we're missing the point. Maybe flying under the radar is part of the experience. We've got 12 months to put 20,000 miles on our new XF. Is it everything it's cracked up to be on paper and in photographs, or is it still just a quirky British import for tweed-wearing tea drinkers? Follow along on our Long-Term Road Test blog.
Current Odometer: 802
Best Fuel Economy: 14
Worst Fuel Economy: 9
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 10.9
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.