It's now been five months since the newest member of the <a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/new_cars/01/jaguar/index.html">Jaguar</a> family, the XF sedan, joined our Four Seasons fleet. In those short five months, we've often felt that the XF is the automotive equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: It is at once exhilarating and exasperating, winning our affection with its styling and performance while causing us to grumble about items such as recalcitrant glovebox sensors and a malfunctioning gas gauge.
In truth, the XF, which we named a 2009 All-Star, has garnered far more accolades than it has condemnation. Editor Jean Jennings called it "just a beautiful, powerful, lush car-the proverbial velvet fist. Powerful delivery is immediate, as are the brakes, which are very nicely modulated."
A sampling of other comments about the XF's dynamic performance:
"The ride is ever so slightly rough at low speeds, but the high-speed ride and handling are fabulous. Class-leading, no doubt. If anybody ever wants to see an example on how to do steering perfectly, they need to drive this car."
"It there's one thing Jag does well, it's suspension tuning. And this thing is a comfortable, tossable, flickable, involving monster. I love it."
"What a wonderful, fluid machine this is to drive. Chassis, steering, and throttle are all beautifully matched in their feel. Fast and smooth just comes naturally. Very, very nice."
Of course, because we are so fond of this car, it makes us that much more disappointed when we encounter problems, such as the following:
* The right rear window regulator had to be replaced because the window made a scraping sound when raised or lowered.
* An odd vibration from the rear of the car, that we at first suspected was due to snow-packed wheel wells. But then we noticed oil dripping from the rear. We suspect a problem with the rear diff.
* The glovebox sensors don't always seem to work properly. As on staffer put it: "It's a glovebox. How in the world can you make that complicated?"
Of course, all one needs to do is drive this car, and almost all is forgiven. As West Coast editor Jason Cammisa puts it: "As much as I'm a stickler for a well-built, works-as-advertised reliable car, it seems I'm even more of a sucker for vehicle dynamics. I'd love to hate the XF because of its problems, but I love its driving dynamics way too much."
<a href="http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2009/jaguar/xf/index.html">2009 Jaguar XF</a> Supercharged
Base price (with dest.): $64,675
Price as tested: $66,675
Body Style: 4-door sedan
Construction: Steel unibody
Engine: DOHC 32-valve supercharged V-8
Displacement: 4.2 liters
Power: 420 hp @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 413 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic transmission
Fuel economy: 15/23/17 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock: 2.8
Turning Circle: 37.7 ft
Suspension, Front: Double wishbone
Suspension, Rear: Double wishbone
Brakes F/R: Vented discs, ABS
Wheels: 20 x 8.5 / 20 x 9.5 in (f/r)
Tires: Pirelli P Zero
Tire Size: 255/35R20 97Y X/L / 285/30/R20 99X X/L (f/r)
Headroom F/R: 39.0 / 37.4 in
Legroom F/R: 41.5 / 36.6 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 56.8 / 56.3 in
Wheelbase: 114.5 in
Track F/R: 61.4 / 61.8 in
L x W x H: 195.3 80.8 x 57.5 in
Cargo Capacity: 17.7 cu ft
Weight: 4194 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: N/A
Fuel Capacity: 18.4 gal
Est. Range: 312 miles
Front, side, curtain airbags
Heated and cooled leather seats
Adaptive Cruise Control - $2200