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Monday, November 3, 2008

Jaguar XF Supercharged- Jaguar is at least Jaguar Again

S-type? What's an S-Type? Jaguar's luscious new XF four-door obliterates all memories of its Lincoln-based, J-gated predecessor. The XF, like the illustrious E-Type, is a real Jag. In last July's Motor Trend, the top-model, 420-horse XF Supercharged also dusted off rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus, handily winning our "Private Reserve Cabs" sport-lux comparo and inspiring every test driver to mutter, "We gotta get ourselves one of these."

So we did. A Liquid Silver XF Supercharged (with interior resplendent in "Spice/Char" soft-grain leather) has joined our long-term fleet. In barely a month, it's racked up more than 3400 miles.

The XF Supercharged, based at $64,475, arrives with every worthwhile goody standard: touchscreen nav, oak-veneer trim, air-conditioned seats, rear-parking camera, full iPod integration, 440-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio that could even make the Jonas Brothers sound good. To that our test car adds only adaptive cruise control (for, ahem, $2200), which managing editor Rusty Kurtz calls, "one of those features you'd never imagine needing until you try it."

Immediately upon the Jag's arrival, bachelor-about-town Mike Suggett graciously offered to sign out the car for important study in socio-cultural anthropology. "Evidence reveals that women particularly enjoy the XF," Suggett notes, "as three female friends independently offered outspoken praise for the exterior design ('It looks like the Aston Martin's smarter older sister') and the chic interior ('The W Hotel on wheels')." At night, the look is glamorized by phosphor-blue backlighting that, Suggett says, "makes you feel like you're piloting one of those Light Cycles from 'TRON.'"

In the months ahead we'll monitor the sturdiness of the XF's whiz-bang: the round automatic-transmission selector (rises up from the console after engine start), the hidden air vents that rotate open, the touchscreen display (controls navigation, audio, climate, and more), the blind-spot monitoring system.

Gripes have cropped up: "The rotating vents are fun to watch, but what's the point?" asks Kurtz. "Why does Jaguar insist on using that growling Jaguar logo on the steering wheel, rims, and front grille?" asks Suggett, undoubtedly steamed after picking up another dinner check. "It looks like a high-school mascot."

Ah, but 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat. Sublime steering and handling. That peerless lan. No question: Jaguar is Jaguar again.

Our Car
Base Price $64,475
Price as tested $66,675
Vehicle layout Front engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
Engine 4.2L/420-hp/413-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 4204 lb (53/47%)
Wheelbase 114.5 in
Length x width x height 195.3 x 73.9 x 57.5 in
0-60 mph 5.0 sec
Quarter mile 13.5 sec @ 104.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 106 ft
EPA city/hwy econ 15/23 mpg
CO2 emmisions 1.23 lb/mile
Total mileage 3437
Average fuel economy 15.8 mpg
Unresolved problem areas None