It all happens for Jaguar in 2016. A new XE compact sedan. A stunning new F-Pace sports crossover. And it all kicks off with a transformed, aluminum-bodied XF, blogs road test editor Howard Walker
It was the soft-rock anthem of 1976 by that Glaswegian folkie Alastair ‘Al’ Stewart. Go on, take a trip down memory lane and dial it up on iTunes. Fast-forward 40 years - yikes - to 2016 and I reckon ‘Year of the Cat should be anointed as the official anthem for Jaguar.
Add to those an impressive new Elite Care five-year, 60,000-mile, free-maintenance, warranty program, and the kind of aggressive model pricing you see at Wal-Mart. If all this doesn’t attract buyers, nothing ever will.
And to start it all off, Jaguar has an all-new,
fresh-from-the-tires-up XF mid-size sports sedan that I’ve been driving. Like the big XJ and racy F-Type two-seater, this new XF features a lightweight, aluminum-intensive body. Using aluminum shaves a Jenny Craig-approved 265 pounds off the waistline compared with the old XF, and increases body stiffness by 28 percent.
For the time being, U.S. buyers get to chose between 340 and 380-horsepower versions of Jag’s proven 3.0-supercharged, direct-injection V6. There’s a new fuel-sipping 2.0-liter turbo diesel coming soon, but in these VW emission scandal days, no one will care.
No, it’s not the smoothest, most refined V6 out there, and it lacks any of the snap and snarl you get in the F. But coupled with the lightening-fast responses of that eight-speed auto, it delivers exhilaration by the bucketful.
Jaguar’s new, more aggressive pricing policy also further heightens the appeal of this new XF. It slashes $5,000 off the price of the entry-level XF 35t that now stickers at $52,895, while the sporty XF S is a steal at $63,695. The year of the cat, indeed. Purrfect.
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