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First drive: Jaguar XF V6 S. Image by Jaguar.

First drive: Jaguar XF V6 S
It's not a full-on XF-R, but this XF-with-F-Type-engine can certainly deliver some thrills.

 



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Jaguar XF V6 S

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The new Jaguar XF S is available with a petrol or diesel engine. With the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 unit from the F-Type it's a compelling sports saloon, if not quite as driver-focused as we expect the forthcoming XFR to be.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 S 380hp R-Sport
Pricing: 49,945 as tested; starts at 32,300
Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 198g/km (VED Band J, 30 per annum)
Combined economy: 34mpg (8.3 litres/100km)
Top speed: 155km/h
0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
Power: 380hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 450Nm at 4,500rpm
Weight: 1,710kg
Boot space: 540 litres

What's this?

It's the new Jaguar XF, but with a bit of added oomph. Actually, you can have the XF V6 S in either petrol or diesel forms. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel now produces 300hp and a whopping 700Nm of torque, making it a fantastically relaxed and flexible on-road companion. With a flex of a foot it can annihilate lines of standing traffic, yet it returns 51mpg officially.

That's not what we're driving here though. Here, we're on the track, at the Navarra race track in northern Spain, a circuit rather more used to seeing Moto GP action, but which we're about to circulate in the petrol XF V6 S. This one uses the full-fat 380hp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 as seen in the F-Type V6 S. In the little sports car, this is an engine that bellows and roars and generally pummels rivals into submission through sheer, glorious noise. In this guise it's rather different, but as we shall see, still damned effective. This is the first time that the twin-vortex-supercharged engine has been used in a Jaguar saloon with the full 380hp on tap and later this year you'll be able to order one with four-wheel drive and Jaguar's fully adaptive Configurable Dynamics Technology, which allows the driver to pick and choose how they like their suspension, steering and engine response set up. Needless to say, for this track session, we've got everything turned up to eleventy-stupid.

How does it drive?

It's surprisingly refined at first. There's a balancer shaft that keeps the engine buttery-smooth at all times, so trickling out of the pit lane and onto the circuit proper, there's little clue that you're driving a focused sports saloon. All feels serene and comfy.

And it never moves too far away from that - the XF is a car that's all about refinement, even if you can tweak its settings and setup to make it handle properly on a fast and flowing race track. There's (sadly) no sign of the sports exhaust option that allows the F-Type to shout even louder, so most of the noise is actually disappearing behind you, and what you get in the cabin is a pleasant, but distant, crackle and roar. Nice, but perhaps not quite invigorating enough.

But the chassis? Bloody hell, someone who really knows what they're doing set this car up properly for circuit work; never mind that it's 1.7 tonnes of air-conditioned, leather-trimmed executive saloon. The first corner at Navarra can be taken almost flat, with just a quick confidence lift at the 150-metre board. Straight away you're trail-braking deep into the apex of a tightening right hander that then switches back harder right into almost a proper hairpin. Attack this corner hard, really hard, leaving your braking perilously late, and the XF squirms gently to remind you that you're getting close to the edges of the laws of physics, and then turns in obediently. You'll know if you've got the entry speed right, as if not you'll be scrubbing off speed with a nudge of understeer.

Next is a fast left, which the XF again takes flat and confident with just a small dab of the brakes, and then a tricky left, left, right uphill complex. Keep the car to the right as late as you can, using the kerbs on the way in and the way out and you'll be stunned with how deftly the XF pulls off the direction change. There's just no slack between turning left and turning right, and you can get back on the power fast, the engine trilling away excitedly but lightly in the background. Another slow right and then you're onto the back straight, pulling 100mph before braking, as late as you dare, for the a tight right hairpin. Even leaving the braking Mansell-late, the XF's stoppers are man enough to haul you down sufficiently that you can actually accelerate through the apex, rather than wrestling it into the corner. Even more impressively, they do this for lap after lap, with only an occasional half-lap cool-down. The XF clearly has redundant ability built into it, which is reassuring. It's also not above the odd power-slide, devilishly cocking its tail out on a whim of your right foot.

The rest of the lap is slow-to-medium, before a final hammer along the pit straight, pulling 110mph before flicking again into turn one.

Verdict

So, what have we learned? That the XF, in spite of its comforts, can mix it with the bad boys on a tight, fast and demanding race track. Relevant to its actual buyers? Perhaps not, but it's nice to know that the margin is there on the road - the XF S is hugely capable, friendly and controllable at the limit and yet reactive and responsive in a way that is increasingly alien in the cosseted, refined-to-extinction world of luxury motoring. In other words it's fun, and that's what makes a Jag a Jag.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Neil Briscoe - 21 Sep 2015









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2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.



2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XF S. Image by Jaguar.
 






 

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