by Jay Traugott
The first-generation Jaguar XF was a design game changer for the British automaker, replacing traditional sedan styling with something entirely different inside and out. The original XF was an immediate hit, helping Jaguar to regain its design credibility. The second-gen XF, launched in 2015, didn't look that much different than its predecessor, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. However, some felt Jaguar didn't push the design envelope far enough.
Enter the heavily refreshed 2021 Jaguar XF. With more F-Type-inspired exterior styling and plenty of new technology features, the 2021 XF is the sexy sedan Jaguar needs right now. The sedan segment has been losing ground to crossovers and SUVs over the past several years, but the updated XF reminds us why sedans still matter. The ultimate question now is whether customers will respond. Fortunately, the XF has a lot to offer, especially for those tired of seeing so many BMWs and Audis crowding the country club parking lot.
2.0-liter Turbo 4 Cylinder Gas
While the overall lines of the 2021 XF remain unchanged there are many noticeable styling differences from last year's model. There's a new front bumper with larger and lower air intakes along with a wider front grille complete with a fresh mesh design. The fender side vents also now have the iconic Leaper emblem. The ultra-slim LED headlights include "Double J Blade" daytime running light signatures.
There's a new optional Black Exterior Pack boasting elements such as the lower air intake surrounds, side vents, window surround, and grille surround finished in Gloss Black.
A total of seven wheels designs can be selected from, including new 19-inch, five-spoke rims in Silver and Gloss Black. A set of 20-inch wheels in either Satin Black or Gloss Black inserts is optional. R-Dynamic specification XFs have their own unique styling traits with similar Gloss Black-finished design elements such as the lower front bumper.
One of the key areas Jaguar needed to improve was the interior and it didn't disappoint. The 2021 XF has a new 11.4-inch touchscreen with anti-glare treatment, surrounded by a magnesium frame painted in a cool satin black. This new touchscreen has some seriously good technology behind it, specifically the Pivi Pro infotainment system. Not only is it capable of over-the-air updates, but also has an easier-to-use menu system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as standard.
Drivers will also enjoy many upgraded luxurious touches including open-pore wood veneers and aluminum accents, and laser-etched speaker frets finished in premium brushed metal. A redesign center console and a new Drive Selector knob (instead of a traditional gear shifter) with unique stitching and a sculpted metal design are also new. Other standard features include a 12-speaker stereo system, new ambient interior lighting, and new front seat designs with wider cushioning and expanded heated and cooled sections.
The new steering wheel has hidden-until-lit switches while high-quality zinc alloy gearshift paddles flank each side.
The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 has been dropped for 2021, but this doesn't mean the XF isn't fun to drive. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine remains, producing 246 horsepower for the rear-wheel-drive P250S and SE trims and 296 hp for the P300 R-Dynamic SE trim, which is all-wheel drive only. To compare, the discontinued V6 had 380 hp. An eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission option.
Jaguar claims base trim XFs will make the 0-62 mph sprint in 6.5 seconds while the R-Dynamic does this in 5.8 seconds. The XF may no longer be a hot rod, but buyers can opt for the Adaptive Dynamics suspension system that is capable of analyzing acceleration, steering, throttle, and brake pedal inputs in order to continuously adjust damper stiffness for maximum control and comfort.
A number of new driver-assist systems include the optional clear exit monitor that can alert the driver and passengers of incoming cars and even cyclists. Also, a 3D surround camera is standard.
Jaguar has not released official pricing for the 2012 XF, but we don't expect it to differ much from the 2020 model, which began at just over $51,000. The outgoing supercharged V6-powered XF is priced at $68,000. Another important factor that needs to be mentioned is that the XF Shooting Brake, aka the station wagon, has been dropped for 2021, although it remains available in overseas markets. The fact that America no longer has an XF wagon means the Audi A6 all road and Volvo V60 now have one less competitor.
And speaking of competitors, the 2021 XF will face off against the usual crop of luxury performance sedans, including the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. However, the lack of a V6 option could put the XF at a disadvantage because those rivals all offer over 300 hp.
No launch date for the 2021 Jaguar XF has been announced, but we suspect sales will get underway sometime in the next few months.