Tom Crosby: 2016 Jaguar XF-S hits a sweet spot

Tom Crosby

Tom Crosby

Some car names immediately engender envy from the financially challenged who wish they could afford one.

Jaguar is one of those brands and the all-new second-generation 2016 XF-S can make the average homeowner think about taking out a second mortgage. Our test drive price tag was $66,685 with options – twice the average cost of a new car today.

The ride is cloud-like, absorbing bumps you see but cannot feel, the supercharged engine will sneak up to ticket-attracting speed without any driver sense of acceleration and the inside has traditional Jaguar soft leather and luxury. That said, there are still some things you wish Jaguar would improve, like the occasionally jerky stop/start function, adding extendable driver visors and putting a notch in the console cover for a cell phone cord. Stop/start -which can be turned off – helps mileage in city driving.

Our test-drive XF-S, top power performer of four XF models and riding on 20-inch wheels, averaged more than 30 miles per gallon on a 300-mile plus highway trip. The navigation system memorizes past drives and monitoring real-time traffic info so it can offer alternate routes around traffic jams. The ride is composed – dampers react to body and wheel movements up to 500 times a second – and the electric power steering feels almost intuitive before you turn the steering wheel. The twin-vortex supercharged engine accelerates seamlessly and rapidly with either manual paddles or an 8-speed highly regarded ZF transmission. Drive modes selections on center console pop-up knob include Eco, Winter and sporty Dynamic.

Outside, the look of the lighter-weight aluminum-intensive monocque profile uses Jaguar DNA. It remains European sleek with sculpted hood, large chrome elliptical grille, high beltline, raked windshield and new full LED headlights.

Inside, our tester had a $2,000 comfort and convenience package with cooled front seats, heated rear seats, soft door and power trunk close. Jaguars reek luxury with soft high-grade leather seats and design stitching combined with natural wood veneer and chrome accents for a visually excellent fit and finish. The 8-inch dashboard screen’s four quadrants – audio, climate, phone and navigation – are chosen by touch or on a pop-up knob for extensive drill-down features.

A longer wheelbase increases cabin headroom and leg room. The trunk’s bigger and still contains a spare tire. Safety features include a blind spot monitor, lane keeping assist and rear view camera. Option packages add more safety features. A speed limit display, color graphics for radio artists are among technology upgrades.

LIKES: Looks, handling, quiet, ride, mileage

DISLIKES: Jerky stop/start, non-extendable visors

BOTTOM LINE: For those who can afford it, worth the price and prestige

FACT FILE

JAGUAR XF-S

Base price w/destination fee: $63,695 ($66,685 as tested)

Vehicle weight: 3,770 pounds.

Wheelbase: 116.5 inches

Length: 195 inches

Width: 78.2 inches

Engine: 3.0-liter, DOHC, V-6, w/supercharger

Horsepower: 380-hp at 6,500 rpm

Torque: 339-lbs.-ft. at 3,500 – 5,000 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic w/manual paddles

EPA rating: 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy

Range: 18.5-gallons, premium unleaded required

Performance: 0-60 in 5.1 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.

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