by Jake Lingeman
The Jaguar XF made its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in 2007 after the C-XF concept bowed in Detroit a few months prior. The midsize sedan wowed with its good looks and great engine selections, and was well-received, though it never reached the heights of segment leaders like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. It received a second generation in 2016 and has now been updated for 2021 with a new interior, a new infotainment system, and gentle exterior updates that include a bunch of new wheel choices.
Jaguar smartly reduced the XF trim lines from 10 configurations in 2020 to just three in 2021; we also lost the supercharged V6 engine option, leaving two four-cylinder units. They're both 2.0 liters in displacement and turbocharged, making 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque in the base model and 296 hp and 295 lb-ft in the more expensive trims. And speaking of price, the XF now starts at just $44k, down from $51,000 last year.
Jaguar made several significant changes to the 2021 XF, including an updated exterior and an all-new interior. The new front-end design features a new grille with lower air intakes, full LED lights, and new double-J LED daytime running lights. At the rear, there's a revised bumper while the light clusters are carried over. Since the supercharged V6 powertrain never gained traction in the USA, it's been dropped from the line-up. Jag's updated XF is now exclusively available with turbocharged four-pot power. All models are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission standard, and the XF P300 adds all-wheel drive with Jag's Intelligent Driveline Dynamics.
The most notable change is the entirely revamped interior, which was the pre-facelift model's biggest problem. Jag dumped the old clunky infotainment system and now included an 11.4-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen interface. Active Road Noise Cancellation is standard, and Jag says the new cabin features more luxurious materials and better technology, which results in a more tranquil cabin.
See trim levels and configurations:
Jaguar's current design language is a winner, and the British manufacturer's cars have never looked sleeker than they do now. The revised XF gets slimmer all-LED headlights up front with the new Double J LED daytime running lights that first appeared on the facelifted F-Type. The grille is finished in a new mesh design, and below that, there's a set of larger air intakes that create the illusion of a wider stance. The base P250 S rides on 18-inch alloys, but a selection of 19- and 20-inch alloys are available, as is a 20-inch Satin Black wheel with gloss black inserts. The top-spec P300 R-Dynamic SE AWD adds a few model-specific exterior enhancements, including a gloss black finish on the lower front air intakes, bumper, and side skirts.
The updated XF is 195.4 inches long, running on a 116.5-inch wheelbase. Looking at it from the side, you can see there's a minimal overhang at the front, with the rear overhang being responsible for the impressive overall length. The overall height is 57.3 inches, and the XF is 82.2 inches in width, with the mirrors included. Thanks to lightweight construction and two four-cylinder engine options, the XF's curb weight is relatively low. The P250 model weighs 3,655 lbs, while the P 300 with a standard AWD system weighs in at 3,845 lbs. That makes it one of the lighter cars in the segment, and lightness improves everything.
Jag offers a color palette that's 12 strong. It's a welcome departure from the German norm, which is different shades of gray, black, and white. The XF is available in the standard businessman corporate colors, but Jag adds a few attractive exuberant shades.
The entire palette is available across the range with no-cost solid paint options including Narvik Black and Fuji White. Metallic hues cost $600 a pop, and the selection consists of Santorini Black, Yulong White, Firenze Red, Bluefire Blue, Eiger Grey, Portofino Blue, British Racing Green, and Hakuba Silver. Carpathian Grey and Silicon Silver are the only Premium Metallic options, costing $850 each.
With the charismatic supercharged V6 no longer available, the 2021 Jaguar XF now relies entirely on turbocharged four-cylinder power. Jaguar uses the same base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot in two power outputs: 246 hp and 296 hp. Both engines are mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission.
The P250 246 hp engine comes standard in rear-wheel-drive format, but if you want all-wheel drive, you have to step up to the next trim. Jag's P300 296 hp engine is only available in AWD guise for enhanced traction.
Jaguar Drive Control is standard across the range, allowing the driver to select between Comfort, Eco, Rain-Ice-Snow, and Dynamic. According to Jaguar, P250 models can complete the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 6.5 seconds, while the P300 AWD can do the same in 5.8 seconds. Both powertrains are capable of powering the XF to its electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
No longer can you buy an XF with a sonorous V6. Instead, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder does duty in two states of tune. The P250 (246 hp/269 lb-ft) and P300 (296 hp/295 lb-ft) both use the same eight-speed automatic transmission. RWD is standard on the P250, while the high-output P300 is available exclusively in AWD format. All models come standard with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters should you feel the need to partake in cog swapping.
We drove the all-wheel-drive P300 R-Dynamic version for our review of the Jaguar XF, in and around the streets of metro Detroit. Jaguar noted with both this vehicle and F-Pace we also drove that it was not trying to keep up with performance M and AMG versions of its competitors. And that's what we experienced. Jaguar didn't put us on a race track, it put us on a midday commute.
The new XF, even in its quickest form, isn't fast in comparison to those high-performance fire breathers, but it does match up well to those base and middle models. The BMW 540i makes 335 hp and the Mercedes E-Class starts with 255 hp. The XF, with 296 hp, is far cheaper than those two and it was fast enough to keep up with traffic under normal conditions and blow by it when we needed to.
In comfort mode, its speed was completely adequate, but when switched to dynamic using the cool, pop-up drive selector (the gearshift is no longer a dial), and moved the eight-speed automatic transmission into S mode, the XF came alive. The engine sounded louder, revved higher, the steering tightened up a touch, and the pedal was more sensitive. It also has eco and rain/snow modes, which we ignored.
Gear changes came quickly through the new paddle shifters, but no up or downshifts were hard enough to upset the car in a turn. This is still a low and wide sedan, remember, so it changed direction quickly without much body roll too. Jaguar always had a way about it. The company is able to make its suspension compliant under normal conditions, even over rough midwestern roads, but still sporty enough to enjoy the random backroad.
The EPA-estimated figures for the facelifted XF's gas mileage aren't available yet, but Jaguar supplied its own claimed figures. According to Jag, the P250 manages 25/33/28 mpg city/highway/combined, dropping down to 22/30/25 mpg in the P300 AWD. If these figures are believed, it puts the XF on par with the BMW 5 Series 530i, also equipped with a turbocharged four-pot and widely accepted as the leader in this particular segment. The XF is equipped with a large 19.5-gallon tank, which should be good for between 488 to 546 miles on a full tank.
Jaguar's update includes an entirely new interior, elevating it closer to its high-ranking German competitors. The previous model had some quality issues, most notably around the old touchscreen interface. Jag calls its new XF's interior a "tranquil sanctuary." It's hard to disagree, given the overall material quality and the new minimalist layout. The old rotary gear selector has been ditched in favor of a squat shifter with cricket ball stitching. It's flanked by the push-start button and the drive mode selector. The latter is now a rotary dial, raising as soon as the car is started. Jag's new layout not only looks fantastic but is more practical in terms of the space it frees up between the driver and passenger. Above that, you'll find a simplified and modernized climate control interface, and above that is the highlight of the new interior. Jag's new 11.4-inch touchscreen interface is gorgeous, and it runs the new Pivi Pro software. The display is crystal clear, and the layout is intuitive. Mercifully, it responds much quicker to inputs than the old system.
The cabin is where the updated Jaguar XF shows its value. Everything is new from the leather and massaging seats to the trim options and the shifter, which is now a traditional lever, as opposed to a dial. However, the XF is still slightly smaller than rivals when it comes to internal dimensions. The driver sits low and in a comfortable position, and the newly-designed dash feels more spacious than before. Jaguar hasn't yet published figures for the interior, but the front is where you want to be. Being a facelift and not an all-new model, we expect the rear dimensions to be similar to the pre-facelift's 38.2 inches of headroom and 37.2 inches of legroom - not ideal, but at this price point, half an inch here or there won't matter much.
The interior features lots of old-school Jaguar touches, most commonly the hexagonal shape of the old logo. It's on the seats and some of the dial edges, which makes them feel like machined metal. One complaint, like the new F-Pace, the XF uses the one dial for temperature, fan speed and seat hear, for each side. You have to push the dial to get seat heat and cooling, but pull it for fan speed. Those knobs are shallow, and it's sometimes hard to get a grip when driving.
Jaguar wants to make up for the pre-facelift XF's interior oversights. All models come standard with genuine leather upholstery. The base P250 S interior is available in three no-cost perforated grained leather options: Ebony, Light Oyster, and Caraway. The SE trim offers the same but adds the $1,800 Extended Leather Upgrade, adding leather to more interior surfaces. You can also opt for the $800 perforated Windsor leather seats in the same colors mentioned above at this trim level.
The top-spec R-Dynamic SE loses out on Caraway perforated leather but adds Mars Red and Sienna Tan as no-cost options. Perforated Windsor seats are also an $800 option on this model, available in Ebony, Light Oyster, Mars Red, and Sienna Tan.
The XF has a 10.1 cube trunk, which is substandard in the segment. BMW's 5 Series boasts 14.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with a 13.1 cube trunk. The rear seats can be folded forward in a 40/20/40 split to create more cargo capacity.
Interior storage space is slightly better than before, thanks to the new center console layout. There's a storage space underneath the center armrest, dual cupholders, and smartphone-sized storage space underneath the climate control buttons. The door pockets are also a decent, usable size.
From the base S specification, the XF is handsomely equipped. As standard, every XF comes with LED lights, heated auto-dimming side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry, wireless charging, a 12-way power-adjustable heated perforated leather front seats, and dual-zone climate control. The standard safety suite consists of automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking assist, lane keep assist, cruise control and a speed limiter, and a driver condition monitor. SE derivatives add auto high-beam assist, 16-way power-adjustable front seats with a memory function and two-way manual headrests, a digital instrument cluster, and traffic sign recognition, and an adaptive speed limiter. The top-spec R-Dynamic SE adds a few subtle exterior enhancements and an R-Dynamic branded leather steering wheel.
This is where the new crop of Jaguars is going to shine. It has a new infotainment system called Pivi Pro that debuted on the Defender. First, it has a dedicated power source so it starts up instantly illuminating the 11.4 curved glass screen as the first revs hit the engine. It has wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto options and it can get over-the-air software updates.
The home screen features three boxes for your most-used functions, while Jaguar says almost everything else can be reached with two more taps. It works like a smartphone, which means soft touches and pinching and swiping. It has available Wi-Fi, too, and can connect to two phones at the same time.
The screen is curved, but it's convex to follow the dashboard curve, as opposed to concave like most home and new-style video screens. We thought it would catch a lot of reflections, but it was surprisingly easy to read in the middle of the day, and it looks beautiful, on or off.
Jag's XF hasn't been a part of the J.D. Power Ownership survey since 2016, so we have no idea what long-term ownership is like these days. Looking over the recalls on the NHTSA website, it appears to be a relatively trouble-free car and reliability ratings are bound to be better than they have historically for the brand. The last recalls were made in 2018 and included front airbags that may not deploy properly, a possible fuel leak in the engine compartment, and an instrument cluster that may go blank.
Each XF comes as standard with a five-year/60,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranty, as well as a five-year/60,000-mile maintenance plan.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has had the opportunity to inspect the Jaguar XF thoroughly. To understand how safe it is, we have to turn to the European NCAP crash test results, where the XF received the full five stars. Crash tests conducted in the US tend to be more demanding, but we don't doubt the XF will hold together nicely in a crash.
All XF models come with ABS, traction and stability control, six airbags, tire pressure monitoring, and a rearview camera. S models are equipped with automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking assist, lane keep assist, cruise control and a speed limiter, and a driver condition monitor. The SE adds traffic sign recognition and an adaptive speed limiter. Additional safety features like a surround-view camera system and adaptive cruise control are also available.
The Jaguar XF Sedan is certainly a cool car, the new paint choices include British Racing Green, which we would spec on everything we own, but like the rest of Jaguar's lineup, the XF Sedan seems like the contrarian's choice. A BMW might be faster and handle a little better, the Mercedes is a little more luxurious and we'd expect the Lexus ES to outlast the XF, judging through the lens of history. The Lexus sedan is the only one that can compete on price ($40,000), but it just feels a little boring.
But the XF is good. And we'd say the benefits of going with one of its competitors might be outweighed by the fact that you don't see XFs every day as you do with the E-Class, 5 Series, and ES. That counts for something. And if you aren't looking for a weekend track day warrior along with your luxury sedan, the XF can do everything those other guys can.
When you add all of that up and combine it with the new lower pricing and the slick new infotainment setup, the XF starts to look more interesting. It was updated for this year, which sometimes leads to teething pains, but the bones and organs of this car have been around for a while, so it should be solid on that front. If you're not convinced, play with Pivi for a while. If you like it, this could be the luxury midsizer for your garage.
While trimming down the lineup, Jaguar has also substantially cut the price of the 2021 Jaguar XF Sedan to compensate for the smaller XE's departure from the US market. The entry-level XF S P250 has an MSRP of $43,995, while the SF SE P250 retails for $47,095. Jag's top-spec XF R-Dynamic P300 AWD $49,995. These prices exclude the destination charge of $1,150.
There are three models in the XF range: the P250 S RWD, P250 SE RWD, and the P300 SE AWD spec. All models are equipped with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. In P250 guise, the engine produces 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and the power is sent to the rear wheels. The P300 develops 296 hp and 295 lb-ft, and the power is sent to an AWD system.
The entry-level S is equipped with 18-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, LED lights and daytime running lights, wireless charging, 12-way power-adjustable heated perforated leather front seats, dual-zone climate control, and an 11.4-inch infotainment system with a 12-speaker Meridian sound system. A surround-view camera, parking sensors, cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are also present.
SE models come with 19-inch alloys, automatic high beams, 16-way power-adjustable seats, a digital instrument cluster, and a power-adjustable steering column. Safety is bolstered by traffic sign recognition and keyless entry aids ease of access.
Not only does the R-Dynamic SE get the more powerful engine, but it also comes with model-specific exterior adornments, an R-Dynamic branded leather steering wheel, Ebony Morzine headliner, and grained leather sports seats.
There are no notable packages for the S model, and the nicer optional extras are reserved for the SE and R-Dynamic SE trims. The $1,000 Convenience Package adds an electric rear window sunblind, more power sockets, soft closing doors, and Jaguar's Activity Key. Enthusiastic drivers will likely be interested in the $1,350 Dynamic Handling Package, which adds adaptive and configurable dynamics, a trunk spoiler, and red brake calipers. Adaptive Cruise Control is a standalone option and retails for $1,200 and heated rear seats will set you back $500. A head-up display is also a standalone option at $1,050, and an upgraded 650-watt, 16-speaker Meridian sound system will set you back $600.
If you prefer style over substance, the Black Exterior Pack dresses every chrome element (window surrounds, grille, air intakes, fender vents) in gloss black for $550.
The Jaguar XF only has three trims for 2021, topping out at just under $50,000 before options. Even fully loaded, at $65,695, the XF is remarkably good value for money. The base rear-wheel-drive XF has a lot of features, but it isn't until the P250 SE that we get the Pro version of the Pivi infotainment system included. It also adds heated, electric, power fold, memory door mirrors, approach lights, 19-inch wheels, illuminated tread plates, and 16-way adjustable seats. That starts at about $47,000.
Some of the better options include the Black Exterior Pack for $550 and the Dynamic Handling Pack for $1,350; we loved the massaging seats but we'd skip them for $1,100. But at that point, you may as well get the R-Dynamic model with the more powerful engine and almost all of the bells and whistles for $50,000. Whatever you do, make sure to spend the extra $600 for British Racing Green paint. The Jaguar gods will thank you.
The BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class have traditionally dominated this segment, with only the Audi A6 offering real competition.
Jaguar's pricing structure counts in its favor. The top-spec XF is cheaper than the most basic 5 Series. And $4,000 is enough to make a person step back and think twice. The thing is, Jaguar addressed almost every criticism leveled against the pre-facelift XF. The clunky infotainment system is gone, it comes with more features as standard, and the average interior quality has been elevated thanks to real wood, leather, and aluminum. All of this is beautifully wrapped up in a minimalist cabin featuring a crystal clear infotainment system running the latest software and an active road noise cancellation system.
Previously, this would have been an easy selection process, but the revised XF has us wondering whether the BMW's minimal performance advantage is worth the money. Unless you have your heart set on a six- or eight-cylinder engine, the Jag's value can't be beaten. We highly recommend a test drive.
Merc's recently updated E-Class brings a lot to the party. The pre-facelift 2020 model was getting a bit long in the tooth, but the new E is a whole different ball game. Its design isn't as striking as the XF, but it is a handsome vehicle.
Once again, the XF has pricing in its favor. The entry-level Merc's base price is around $4,000 more, and that's before you start adding options. Add 19-inch wheels, LED intelligent headlights with high beam assist, genuine leather seats, and a wireless charger (all standard on the SE trim), and you have an E-class that costs $57,470. Once again, we're left wondering if the Mercedes is that good. We know it's a better car, but is it $7,500 better than the XF. We don't think so, especially in the wake of a pandemic that has left consumers demanding high value for money.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Jaguar XF Sedan: