2010 Jaguar XF Review

2010 Jaguar XF - Last year new car, this year new engine.


Vehicle Tested
2010 Jaguar XF Premium
Base Price: $56,150
At-Tested Price: $58,875
Built in England.

Bowers & Wilkins Sound System

Engine: 5.0-Liter V8
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Drive Wheels: Rear-Wheel Drive

The XF was introduced in 2009 as Jaguar's entry into the premium midsize sedan market. It replaced the slow-selling S-Type in the British automaker's lineup. The XF competes with cars like the Acura RL, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti M, Lexus GS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Volvo S80. Like these other cars, the XF is a five-passenger vehicle with twin front bucket seats and a three-place rear bench.

While the XF was all new last year, it gets a couple of new engines for 2010. XF comes only as a four-door sedan.

Four models are offered: Base, Premium, XFR and Supercharged. All have rear-wheel drive. The Base carries over a 300-horsepower 4.2-liter V8. Premium comes with a new 5.0-liter V8 that makes 385 horsepower. Supercharged and XFR models get a blown version of that engine. In the Supercharged it makes 470 horsepower and in the XFR is makes 510 ponies. All models get a six-speed manual transmission that sports steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters for manual operation.

Standard safety equipment includes antilock four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat active head restraints, tire-pressure monitor, rear-obstacle-detection system, and dual-front, front-side and curtain-side airbags. Blind-spot alert, front-obstacle-detection system and rearview camera are optional on the Base and standard on other models.

The Base has a list price of $51,150 and includes air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate controls, interior air filter, power tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, ten-way power front bucket seats, memory system, center console, split-folding rear seat, wood interior trim, heated power mirrors with automatic day/night and turn signals, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, sunroof, AM/FM radio with  in-dash six-disc CD changer and digital-media player connection, satellite radio, Bluetooth cell-phone link, trip computer, rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers, universal garage door opener, automatic day/night rearview mirror, rear defogger, automatic headlights, floormats, theft-deterrent system, 245/45HR18 tires and alloy wheels.

The Premium lists for $56,150 and adds to the Base navigation system with voice recognition, heated front seats, upgraded leather upholstery, keyless access and starting, HID headlights and
245/40HR19 tires.

The Supercharged lists for $67,150. In addition to the supercharged engine it adds to the Premium limited-slip differential, stronger brakes, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front seats, 16-way power driver seat, 12-way power passenger seat, Bowers and Wilkins sound system, suede-like headliner, power rear sunshade, sport suspension with automatic shock absorber control and 255/35YR20 front and 285/30YR20 rear tires.

The line-topping XFR lists for $79,150 and adds to the Supercharged adaptive cruise control, 18-way power driver seat, 14-way power passenger seat and rear spoiler.

Available on the Premium is the Portfolio Package. It lists for $4000 and adds many of the features found on the Supercharged. All models have an $850 destination charge and are assembled in England.

Get Up and Go  Get our your slide rules, Jaguar's 0-60 mph acceleration claims for the 2010 XF are the following: 6.2 seconds for the Base, 5.5 seconds for the Premium, 4.9 seconds for the Supercharged and 4.7 seconds for the XFR.

All are impressive but perhaps the Premium's 5.5 seconds to sixty mph garners the most attention. Featuring a new engine, the Premium now has more horsepower than all direct competitors. The engine has ample low-end grunt for around-town blasts and plenty of top end for highway passing situations. In addition, the engine is smooth and makes an authoritative snarl in hard acceleration that's entirely appropriate. Obviously those wanting more power can opt for the Supercharged or XFR, but the new 5.0 mill in the Premium is such a good engine, there's really no need.

The six-speed automatic transmission operates as it should, though some other luxury brands have seven- and eight-speed automatics. Upshifts are buttery smooth and downshifts, though quick, are cushioned somewhat by the engine's electronic management system. One quirk is in deceleration as the transmission imparts a larger-than-normal amount of engine braking. This slows the XF more quickly than you might expect. Over time, you get used to it and it makes stop and go driving a little less tiring.

The pop-up gear selector is more gimmick than innovation. It replaces Jaguar's "J" shift gate. While it saves space on the center console it doesn't bring any additional functionality over a traditional shift lever. Combined with the electronically activated emergency brake switch, the gear selector creates an antiseptic feel for XF drivers. In addition, those uninitiated are instinctively drawn to it when you want to change a setting on the radio or navigation system.

The EPA gives the XF Premium ratings of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Though underwhelming, those numbers are as good as or better than most other V8-powered midsize luxury sedans. In real-world driving expect to average about 17 mpg, perhaps as high as 20 mpg if your commute includes lots of expressway travel. Jaguar says that premium-grade fuel is required for all engines.

On the Road  Jaguar sedans have long been known for offering a supple and controlled ride that's firmer than traditional American-car standards but never harsh. The XF follows suit perfectly. Even on the Supercharged model there is enough impact absorption in the suspension and tires to keep the ride from growing stiff or busy. If you want a smoother ride, go with the Premium. It's placid on all but extremely rough roads.

One note, the XFR has a firm ride that's best appreciated by hard-core enthusiasts and not entirely appropriate for Chicagoland's pockmarked roads.

The XF accounts for itself fairly well on twisty roads. Obviously handling limits vary between the Base, Premium, Supercharged and XFR, but all models are athletic and have exemplary grip. The Supercharged and XFR, with their 20-inch tires and active suspension come alive when driven hard where the Base and Premium come off slightly winded.

Regardless of model, the steering is nicely weighted and imparts good road feel. Highway tracking is dead true. Brakes are strong and the pedal is easy to modulate. No one will ever confuse the confidence of the XF with the lithe moves of a BMW 5-Series, but then again the 5-Series sets the standard in the class for balancing handling with ride comfort.

Interior noise levels are quite acceptable. There's little wind rush at highway speed and tire roar only becomes a problem on coarse concrete pavement. All engines cruise quietly and emit a refined growl in hard acceleration.

Behind the Wheel  Perhaps the most traditional part of the XF is its interior. The cabin is awash in premium fabrics, expensive leather, finished wood, and polished aluminum. Sadly, some of the panel gaps on the center console and center stack were uneven, creating a patchwork appearance.

Where many midsize luxury sedans present interiors that would rival the cockpit of a 747, the XF comes across as uncluttered and understated. This is due to grouping many of the radio, climate, and navigation systems controls into a central touch screen. While the design does eliminate clutter, it makes simple tasks like adjusting the radio or turning on the heated seats more distracting. Thankfully, there are simple controls for the windows, locks and mirrors. The pop-open AC vents are another faddish gimmick that could have easily been left on the drawing board.

The front seats strike an excellent balance between easy-chair comfort and sports-car support. The cushions are wide, nicely contoured, and long-trip comfortable. Head room and leg room are only adequate for adults more than six-feet tall. This has long been a Jaguar deficit that needs to be adjusted for American drivers. Visibility is good to the front and sides, slightly obstructed to the rear by thick roof pillars and tall haunches. The blind-spot indicators are the best implementation of this technology to date. They are subtle, but work well, rain or shine.

Rear-seat room is disappointing with leg room that's only acceptable, and then only when the front seats aren't pushed more than half-way back. Head room is also compromised for taller riders by the sloping roofline. Three kids can sit three across, and there's easy entry/exit through the wide door openings.

The XF has one of the largest trunks in the class. In addition the trunk lid has expensive hinges that don't eat into cargo room and the rear seat backs fold flat--a rare feature in this class. Interior storage is limited to front-door map pockets, and modestly sized glove box and center console bins.

Bottom Line  The XF offers midsize-luxury buyers an interesting choice. It's not as athletic as a BMW 5-Series nor is it as technologically advanced as and Audi A6. However, it offers a level of distinction and sophistication that few competitors can match.

Unlike the conservative S-Type, which it replaced, the XF isn't afraid to break from Jaguar tradition. Thankfully, Jaguar imbued the XF with Jaguar's excellent sense of on-road refinement and tasteful interior décor.

Rear-seat room and interior gimmicks keep the XF from being an all-out winner, forcing away family buyers and those seeking traditional luxury. Otherwise, you'd be silly not to give the XF a test drive when shopping for a midsize luxury sedan. Prices are steep, but most buyers in this segment are looking for substance and character rather than overall value.

Specifications, 2010 Jaguar XF Premium
4-door sedan
Wheelbase, in.
Size, liters/cu. in.
5.0 / 305
Length, in.
Horsepower @ rpm
385 @ 6500
Width, in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm
380 @ 3500
Height, in.
6-Speed Automatic
Weight, lbs.
EPA Estimates, mpg
16 city / 23 highway
Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.

Fuel Capacity, gals.
Manufacturer's Warranty
Seating Capacity
4 years / 50,000 miles
Front Head Room, in.
Front Leg Room, in.
6 years / Unlimited miles
Second-Row Head Room, in.
37.4Free Roadside Assistance
4 years / 50,000 miles
Second-Row Leg Room, in.
Free Scheduled Maintenance

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.