2022 Jaguar XF

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Jaguar – the luxury brand known for its cars – currently makes only two of them. And only one of them is a sedan. 

The rest are crossovers – which everyone else is known for making. 

It makes one wonder why Jaguar decided to make them, too – as opposed to making more of what everyone else isn’t making much anymore. 

Like the XF sedan. 

What It Is

The XF is a mid-sized luxury-sport sedan that competes with the handful of other such sedans still on the market, including the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class sedans. Like them, it is available in both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive versions.

Unlike either of them, it is only available with a four cylinder engine. It also comes standard with a much smaller (just 10.5 cubic foot) trunk than they do. 

But it also carries a much lower starting price – $45,300 – than they do. 

The Mercedes-Benz E350’s base price is $54,950. A BME 5 Series stickers for $54,200 to start. That $10k difference makes up a lot for less space in the trunk. 

Indeed, you can buy a top-of-the-line XF P300 R Dynamic – which comes standard with a more powerful four cylinder engine and standard AWD – for $51,000 and still spend thousands less than what Benz and BMW are asking for the four cylinder-powered (and less powerful) rear-wheel-drive versions of their luxury-sport sedans.

What’s New

The XF wagon is no longer available.

What’s Good

Attractive pricing. 

Attractive looks.

12 speaker stereo, panorama sunroof and wireless charger are among the standard features.

What’s Not So Good

No more than just a four.

Not much trunk.

Many desirable options aren’t available with the base P250 S trim.

Under The Hood

Every ’22 XF is powered by a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine – which isn’t much engine by historical standards, as well as Jaguar standards. Memories of Jaguar inline sixes and even V12s linger like those of a time when only the homeless and extreme hypochondriacs wore “masks.”

But there are two versions of this engine available. 

The standard version produces 248 horsepower; the optional version amps that up to 296 via a bit more turbo boost and other tweaks. Both engines are paired with the same eight speed automatic. The 248 horsepower engine in the P250 versions sends its power to the rear wheels. The stronger version, to all four – via a standard AWD system. 

Jaguar doesn’t offer the stronger engine without AWD – and you cannot get the standard engine with AWD. This may disappoint potential buyers who want more power and more traction.

With the standard engine (and RWD) the XF takes about 6.5 seconds to get to 60 MPH. Opting for the stronger engine (and AWD) gets you there about 1 second sooner – and also gets you a 155 MPH top speed (electronically limited) vs 149 for the standard-engine’d Jag.

Gas mileage varies with output – as you’d expect. 

The standard-engined XF delivers close-to-economy-car numbers – 25 city, 33 highway. For a mid-sized luxury-sport sedan, these are pretty good numbers. Even luxury-sport buyers have to think about the cost of gas when it costs $5 per gallon. And the Jag’s tank holds 19.5 gallons. That works out to more than $100 per fill-up, because the Jag’s engines – both of them – want premium gas.

So the less of it the Jag burns, the less expensive it is to drive this cat. 

Equipped with the stronger, 296 horsepower engine, the Jag’s numbers go down to 22 city, 30 highway. These are still not bad numbers, but it’s also not very impressive when you consider how small the 2.0 liter engine is. This is, after, all a Jaguar.

But Jaguar – and everyone else making cars – is under government pressure to downsize their cars’ engines – not so much on account of how much gas they burn but how much gas (C02) they “emit.” 

Evidence that this is so can be found by gleaning the gas mileage numbers of the formerly available sixes in this class of car, or even the handful of sixes still available in generally similar cars such as the Toyota Camry – which is one of the last mid-sized cars in any class that still offers one at all. Its optional 3.5 liter, 301 horsepower V6 rates 22 city, 31 highway – virtually the same numbers as the Jag’s top-dog 296 horsepower turbo two-point-oh. 

Same mileage – just about – and just about the same output. So why not just go with a V6 that makes just about the same power and delivers just about the same mileage, especially given this is a Jaguar and not a Toyota?

See that bit above about the gasses. Which are eventually going to put the kibosh on Toyota’s V6, too.

Soon, there will be no engines at all – as Jaguar has “committed” to “electrifying” its future offerings. What this means – in translation – is that Jaguar has been forced by the fact that gas engines cannot be made to “emit” zero carbon dioxide and thereby comply with government regulations to stop making them, altogether – in favor of electric motors and battery packs that generate their C02 “emissions” elsewhere.

On The Road

Why drive a Jag? It’s important to answer this question because it begs another question: Why buy a Jag?

The answer to that question used to be self-evident: Because a Jaguar wasn’t a Mercedes or a BMW or an Audi or a Lexus. It was a Jaguar.

What made it so?

Well, for one, it was powered by a Jaguar engine. The XF is also powered by one, of course. But even though the 2.0 liter Ingenium engine is a Jaguar-designed engine it is exactly the same layout (n-line four) and displacement as the 2.0 liter engines powering practically everything now.

And not just rivals like the BMW 5 and Mercedes E.

You will find 2.0 liter fours powering many lesser cars – in terms of their MSRPs. There is nothing wrong with those cars – or their engines, as such. But it’s a little disappointing to pop the hood of your Jag – or for that matter, your BMW or Benz – and find the same type of engine you’d find under the hood of a Honda or Mazda.

Even if you don’t pop the hood.

The four moves the Jag well enough – more so if you get the optional iteration of it. But it doesn’t sound like much. Or feel much different than the turbo’d fours that power so many other cars. If this Jaguar had the V8 you can still get in the F-Type it would sound and feel more like something else.

The V8 in the F-Type serves as a counterpoint in more ways than one. Jaguar used to offer the latter – as an option – with the 2.0 four as standard. It now – for what is likely its last hurrah – only comes with a V8. This being Jaguar’s bittersweet goodbye to the V8, before it goes away – not in favor of a four – but in favor of an electric motor.

This latter could prove to be the end for Jaguar – and Benz and BMW, too – as there will then be even less reason to buy any of them, specifically, since all of them will be powered by the same thing. Kilowatt hours and volts lack the emotional appeal of cylinders, displacement and arrangement. It is like buying an 800 watt vs. 1,100 watt microwave. They all heat your coffee pretty much the same way.

I don’t blame Jaguar – or Benz or BMW – for “electrifying” their lineups. Nor for the winnowing of the engines that still remain to more or less the same engines, in everything.

They have little choice. It is the government – the governments, all around the world – that are imposing this sameness and so soullessness upon car brands that used to literally throb with it.

Electric motors whirr.

The other thing about this XF that is under Jag’s control is the way it rides. There is nothing wrong here, either. Just nothing much different, once again. All current luxury-sport sedans ride (and handle) like  . . . luxury-sport sedans.

This being a function of everyone making luxury-sport sedans.

This isn’t the government’s fault. It is the fault of car companies that decided they must make cars that emulate the luxury-sport sedans made by BMW, which (for awhile) was the main car brand making luxury-sport sedans. BMWs were the “ultimate driving machines,” as they were styled – and it was so, in the sense that that they were athletic in contrast to the plush that defined luxury cars like the ones Jaguar used to be famous for.

Then paradox happened. 

BMW – once different – found its rivals had become much the same as they tried to emulate what made BMW successfully different. Then they all became similar. BMW cars were no longer much different from others and the others had become so much like BMWs that there was less and less difference between any of them, in terms of how the rode and handled. 

So it made less and less difference which you were driving.    

The parallel example is luxury-crossover mania. Dial back the clock 30 years to the late ’90s, when Lexus alone sold luxury-crossovers – the hugely successful RX. Nowadays, every luxury car brand is making them. Making the RX just another crossover. And the same as regards its emulators.

But at least the XF is still a luxury-sport sedan – and that is no small difference given the ubiquity of luxury-sport crossovers, which even Jaguar now makes more of than cars, which Jaguar was once defined by making. 

At The Curb

Jags have never been especially practical cars – because they didn’t need to be. People bought Jaguar cars because they were beautiful cars. Some of them were so  beautiful it didn’t matter that they weren’t especially reliable, either. It has been said that an E-Type in the garage looks better than a Corolla on the road – and there is much truth in that.

Current Jaguars are more reliable – but in some ways, less practical. The XF’s tiny 10.5 cubic trunk, for instance. A Corolla (which is a much smaller car) has a much larger (13.1 cubic foot) trunk. The more apt comparison may be with the BMW 5 and Benz E, both of which are about the same size (mid-sized) and both of which have more appropriately sized trunks (18.7 cubic feet for the BMW).

One of the reasons for the decline – in popularity – of the sedan is probably how relatively little they can tote. Even the BMW. Having a five-passenger sedan that can’t tote much more than three people’s things is a problem that five-passenger crossovers haven’t got. A typical mid-sized crossover will usually have more than twice as much tote-space as a same-sized sedan. In the case of the Jag, the paucity of tote-space is easy to see.

But then you see the Jag, itself.

Though it’s not in the same league, visually, as the E-Type (what is?) it is nonetheless a Jaguar in terms of how it looks. Elegant and sleek, like the namesake cat.

Inside, too.

Where things are even sleeker. The centrally mounted LCD touchscreen, especially. As electronic things go, it is attractive-looking (though not as attractive as the timelessly beautiful leaper mounted on the steering wheel).

It is, however, somewhat less intuitive to operate than the interfaces used in some (though not all) rival cars. But there is the compensatory happiness of very usable rotary dials for the temperature and fan speed settings.

The Rest

Though this Jag no longer offers more than one engine type there are many options to choose from insofar as the amenities – if you opt for the P250 SE. Then you can get red powder-coated (and higher performance) brake calipers – poking out of 19 (rather than 18 inch) wheels as well as an adaptive suspension, heated windshield (and steering wheel) and massaging seats, among the many availables.

But none of them are available as options with the base P250 S trim. This includes all-wheel-drive, as discussed earlier.

On the upside, stepping up to the SE still costs thousands less than the base-trim versions of the rival BMW and Benz sedans. Which means you have those thousands available to buy things like massaging seats.

The Bottom Line 

The current XF – which dates back to the 2016 model year – may be your last chance to buy a Jaguar like the XF. 

That is to say, a Jaguar that’s a sedan – and isn’t “electrified.”

. . .

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13 COMMENTS

  1. the biggest problem with the current line of Jaguars with 4 cylinder engines isn’t the power – its the sound. They basically sound like a Dyson when you rev them up…. (Probably in preparation for their future which is all electric anyways). Wasn’t the point of a car like a Jaguar the sound ?!

    • Hi Nasir,

      I agree with you. The sound is both sad (for a Jaguar) and anodyne (Jaguars used to sound orchestral). Indeed, one of the main reasons for buying a Jag, historically, was the music these things made. And the under-the-hood visuals. I remember being in awe – as a kid – of a buddy’s Dad’s V12 Jaguar. Just looking at it was a treat!

  2. ‘Every ’22 XF is powered by a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine.’ — eric

    Wow. Kind of like learning that the latest Miss America is flat-chested, has buck teeth, and full-length arm and leg tattoos.

    My first ride in a Jag was in a dark blue E-type with a bad-ass 4.2 liter, DOHC straight six. When my buddy floored it, it rumbled like a muscle car and pinned me to the seat — unforgettable.

    And unimaginable at the time, when sixes were found mostly in econoboxes and pokey pickups.

    Without the sinuous body and legendary engine, ‘Jaguar’ is just another recycled historical nameplate, milking a reputation won three generations ago by entirely different vehicles.

  3. A Jaguar with a four cylinder engine? No, no, a thousand times no! Twincam inline sixes, and Double Sixes, yes, please, thank you sir, may I have another? What’s next, a new MG or (shudder, Brand X) Triumph with a 3 cylinder mill?

  4. If you are a high roller buying Jaguars you might as well get a real luxury GT sports car, with a real V8.

    French tuner Nardone Automotive, which felt the 928 deserved a little more attention, starting with a body fully made out of carbon fibre and feature a few subtle tweaks. Like wider arches and new front and rear lights.

    It runs an uprated V8 producing 400bhp, gets a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip differential. We’re told both axles have been tweaked, and the new 928 features active suspension, bigger brakes and adaptive electric power steering.

    The 928 was originally supposed to get a 6.0 litre V8 but because of the 1970’s fuel crisis got a 5.0 lt V8. With the 6.0 lt engine it might have been more popular.

    https://www.topgear.com/car-news/retro/nardone-automotive-porsche-928-restomod-starts-eu480k

  5. All for the sake of preventing a climate that has always been changing, from ever changing again. If the greenies had been around 10k years ago, and successful, much of the world would still be covered in ice. Barring some of Bill Gates technological ideas, like cutting off sunlight, I suspect we couldn’t create significant climate change if we tried. We are as nothing compared to the most powerful engine in the Solar system. The Sun, which is the reason we have a climate.

    Jags used to be notorious for their lack of reliability. A running joke being, “why has Jaguar never made a successful sports car? Because there’s no back seat for the mechanic to ride in”.
    But they are, and always have been beautiful. From the notorious hood ornament on back. Their design not wholly a result of aerodynamics. Which is why it’s hard to tell a Honda from a Toyota from a Mazda, except for the grille/headlights and the badge.

    • Reminds me of the MG, which had Lucas electronics. My brother and I used to restore MG’s way back and had a lot of fun doing it. We used to call Lucas the Prince-of-Darkness, but we may have heard that from somewhere? 🙂

      • Lucas headlamp switches have 3 positions, Dim, Flicker, and Off. Ozzy Osbourne worked for John Lucas and Sons in Birmingham at one point, tuning horns. Maybe that’s why my MG toots its horn to Iron Man! Know why our British cousins drink room temperature beer? They keep their kegs in Lucas fridges! Lord Lucas, the Lord of Darkness!

        That having been said, I never had a British car with Lucas electricals leave me by the side of the road without being able to fix the problem rather quickly with tools at hand. The same can’t be said of Bosch, Nippondenso, et. Al.

  6. These 2.0 liter 4 cylinders sound like vacuum cleaners on steroids. I had one in my 2011 Hyundai Sonata. It had good power, a nice flat torque curve and got great MPG on the interstate and positively lousy MPG in any sort of stop/go traffic.

    My late grandfather warned me when I was younger about the reliability problems with forced induction. I didn’t listen and bought the Alabama-built Hyundai to replace a more reliable Scion that is probably still on the road.

    The engine seized one day and was subject to a recall that my car almost missed because of its mileage. The car spent 6 months at a Hyundai dealership getting the engine replaced. To Hyundai’s credit, they did pay for rental car for the whole time. As soon as the new engine was a go, I immediately sold the car for peanuts and got an Infiniti Q50 with an honest-to-goodness naturally aspirated V-6 that gets similar mileage to the “more efficient” 4-cylinder it replaced. And it’s rear wheel drive to boot.

  7. Well that’s a bummer. Wife has a grand Cherokee V8 and the kids are finally moving on, so she just said to me “probably time to go to the sports sedan I’ve always wanted”
    I thought this was going to be on the list because they always came with a pretty nice blown V6, and she would want that. Ohhh well. one less to go see.
    Not sure what else is out there, but I’m guessing she may be keeping the V8.

  8. This thing looks like a 1995 Toyota Avalon. No kidding. The only thing that distinguishes it is the leaping cat on the steering wheel.

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