Does the Jaguar XF R-Sport broaden the XF’s appeal? David tries one for a week to find out.
Three word review: A Classy, Refined Headturner.
As I rapidly approach my 30th birthday, I realise that I am more of a Radio 2 listener than Radio 1. Luckily though, you no longer need to be a long-time listener of Radio 4 to own and drive a Jaguar. The company is currently on a roll and is churning out some of the most desirable luxury cars currently on the market.
The XF R-Sport on face value is a somewhat odd package. You get 90% of the looks of the full-fat XFR but under the bonnet is the least powerful Diesel engine in the car’s line-up. Only once you spend some time with the car do you realise what the XF R-Sport is all about. For years now BMW have offered diesel versions of the 5 -Series with M-Sport goodies. You still get all of the practicalities of the most frugal models with a bit of sportiness thrown in. That is exactly what the R-Sport offers. It opens the XF up to a younger audience, one that values style and presence as much as refinement and economy.
Don’t fall into the trap that I did when I looked at the spec sheet. The Engine may only pack 163PS but it isn’t the slouch you might be thinking it is. The performance figures say it’ll hit 60 in just under 10 seconds but it feels faster than that and the fast changing 8-speed auto makes for easy and swift progress. The engine is smooth and more refined than its Ford heritage would suggest. It’ll never rip your face off but it suits the car’s nature well and still has enough power to provoke the rear to step out under damp conditions. Boring and stuffy, this Jaguar is not.
The XF R-Sport like all XFs is a very nice place to spend your time. The seats are more than comfortable for long journeys and most of the controls are simple and fall easily to hand. The infotainment is both superb and flawed all at the same time. The 7.1 Meridian sound system is well worth the extra dosh (£590) but the menu system can feel a little last-generation. That being said it isn’t anywhere near as complicated as some and within half a day’s driving I was using the system like a pro.
Looks are a subjective argument when it comes to cars but I found myself constantly comparing the XF to similar cars from the obvious makers. Each time I came across a new E-Class, 5-Series or A6 I couldn’t help thinking how much better the XF looked. It’s mid-life refresh has helped to make it not only more aggressive but more distinctive. In R-Sport guise it works even better. It garners attention from passers by in a way that I wasn’t expecting. The Rhodium Silver paintwork and black trim (£650 option) with 20″ ‘Kalimnos’ gloss black alloys (£1600 option) makes it stand out. Not so much that it shouts look at me but enough to tell people you bought something that isn’t like every other middle-management barge on the road. The only issue I have is that you can’t have the R-Sport spec with some of the other engine choices.
The XF R-Sport might not be the newest or freshest medium sized saloon on the market but it makes a compelling case against tough competition. I can’t help feeling like you buy the XF not because it is better than the rest but because more so that you are better than the rest. Driving a Jaguar means you have taste and the ability make an emotional purchase. Not that the more obvious German rivals don’t offer their own version of this kind of desirability but for my money the Jag is simply the classier choice. I would just opt for smaller wheels in the hope of slightly softening the ride.
What do you think of the Jaguar XF R-Sport? Let us know in the comments below.
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