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Weidel on Wheels

Jaguar enters a new era

Jaguar XF sedan offers power, handling, technology and style
By: Jeffrey Weidel, Special to Gold Country Motoring
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In this profession there are plenty of vehicles that come along that rarely create much of a stir — as in, been there, done that. Then there are weeks when a special one arrives and one agonizes toward the end of the visit because the week has simply gone by way too fast. One of those cherished weeks came with the arrival of the 2009 Jaguar XF. Haven’t heard of the XF? That’s because it just came out in 2009 and replaces the S-type, a Jaguar that never gained much acceptance. The folks at the British automaker have also decided to dump the X-type as well, phasing it out gradually. Jaguar intends to make the sleek XF part of its new direction that will blend both tradition with technology and styling. Although not an astonishingly eye-appealing mid-size luxury sedan, the XF is still capable of turning heads with its stylish appeal. But it’s the superior technology features that really make this Jag appealing. For technological starters, let’s begin with the start button. Keep the keys in your pocket, or somewhere close by because there is no standard ignition. Merely push the start button to engage the engine and a unique dial rises out of the center console and controls the transmission. Although that alone is enough to impress even your most discerning friend, there’s more. Masqueraded as part of the dash, the heat/air conditioning vents rotate to an open position when in use, and roll back when turned off. Other cool features include blue instrument lighting, sensors instead of buttons to open the glove compartment and turn on the interior lights, plus a seven-inch display screen that controls practically everything — heated seats, climate control, audio interface, back-up camera, audio and much more. Besides the wonderful technology, the XF features a great balance of handling and performance. The luxury model has a high-powered 4.2-liter, V8 engine with 300 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. It also includes paddle shifters. The XF has scary power as it accelerates rapidly. This is evidenced by the vehicle going 0 to 60 mph in a mere 6.2 seconds. And if that isn’t fast enough, and trust me, it really is, the supercharged version is a V8 with 420 horsepower that races from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The handling is equally impressive — providing the type of experience that will have many drivers looking for an excuse to take the XF out for any type of errand. This sporty sedan corners with great efficiency and the steering is extremely precise. Noise is well muted and the ride is smooth even on coarse surfaces. There are few minor negatives regarding the XF. The exterior style — fastback look, squarish grille — might not be bold enough for some car shoppers. No all-wheel-drive option might be a turnoff as well. Rivals like the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G37 and Lexus ES 350 all feature available all-wheel drive. The XF is pretty pricey for an entry-level model, especially in today’s trying economic times — $55,200 for the premium luxury model (the cheapest of the three trims goes for $49,200). Gas mileage averages between 16 to 25 miles per gallon. ---------- Jaguar XF Price: Starting at $55,200 Mileage estimate: From 16 mpg city to 25 mpg on the highway Power: 4.2-liter, V8 engine with 300 horsepower Standard features include: Anti-lock disc brakes; traction control; brake assist; automatic climate control; leather upholstery; 10-way power front bucket seats with memory system; wood interior trim; power sunroof; universal garage door opener; automatic headlights