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Jaguar XF review: Old school delights

It probably won't amaze you with fancy tech, but the updated Jaguar XF serves up luxury in a more traditional way

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Driving the XF is immensely pleasurable, with nary a peep from the engine while cruising.

Singapore

BEFORE the advent of digitisation and driver assistance systems, luxury cars were defined by how you were physically isolated from the outside world, rather than how connected you could be to the digital one.

And if the Germans have gone all-in on the latter, the new Jaguar XF proves that the British carmaker still espouses the virtues of the former.

The XF's revisions for 2019 are minor, more of an upgrade to the car's local specification rather than a full facelift.

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Some changes are minuscule, like a frameless rear-view mirror and snazzy metallic finishing for the pedals, while others are more tangible, like a cabin headliner made of soft suede, and a larger infotainment screen (10.0-inch, upgraded from 8.0-inch) with Apple CarPlay.

Of more significance are the updates under the skin. The 2.0-litre engine's outputs have been increased slightly to 250 horsepower and 365 Newton-metres of peak torque (up 10hp and 25Nm), while improved refinement is claimed, thanks to new engine mounts and better insulation for the engine compartment and cabin.

It all adds up to a car that is pack-leading in its mechanical aspects, but lagging in its digital ones.

The new screen's increased size and software updates make it simpler and more responsive to use than before, but the way it presents information is more restrictive than the systems from Audi or BMW, and the little info display between the analogue dials doesn't show audio or navigation updates.

A clattery stop/start system aside however, driving the XF is immensely pleasurable. You'll hear nary a peep from the engine while cruising, and the transmission shuffles through the gears without interruption.

Even better, it manages the difficult accomplishment of having a pliant ride, yet being gracefully poised and genuinely fun to hustle through corners, flowing along dips, bumps, zigs and zags like water down a stream.

At S$241,999 including Certificate of Entitlement, the XF as tested in racy R-Sport trim undercuts its main German rivals, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series, by more than S$20,000, yet is faster to boot. Sacrifice the R-Sport's bodykit, big wheels and sports seats for a more basic trim, and you could save a further S$20,000. The XF may not be as digital as its competitors, but the digits on a price list are important, too.


Jaguar XF 2.0 R-Sport

Engine 1,999cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 250hp at 5,500rpm
Torque 365Nm at 1,300-4,500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h 6.7-seconds
Top Speed 244km/h
Fuel Efficiency 7.5L/100km
Agent Wearnes Automotive
Price S$241,999 with COE
Availability Now