When choosing a sports car, plenty of variables come into play. Is it all about styling or performance? How does luxury enter the picture? Of course, hard numbers aside, these are subjective questions…
When choosing a sports car, plenty of variables come into play. Is it all about styling or performance? How does luxury enter the picture? Of course, hard numbers aside, these are subjective questions that can only be answered by an individual after contemplating personal preferences. We all have differing tastes, which is why so many competing brands and models exist.
While similarly powerful, a Porsche Turbo provides much quicker acceleration than the Jaguar F-Type SVR being reviewed here, and both are dramatically different through fast-paced curves, with the rear-engine German providing a wholly unique feel when raced side-by-side against the front-engine Brit, and most agreeing the former is more capable at the limit. Nevertheless, the Porsche Turbo is not necessarily more fun to drive.
I’ve enjoyed many Turbos over the years, not to mention a plethora of other 911 models, and all have provided thrills aplenty. Likewise, for F-Type SVRs, having spent a week with 2018, 2019 and 2020 models, the first two coupes and the most recent a convertible. I tend to lean toward coupes more often than open air, mostly because the aesthetics of a fixed roof appeal to my senses. Still, there are a number of reasons I’d be pulled in the direction of this Madagascar Orange-painted F-Type SVR Convertible, the sound emanating from its tailpipes certainly high on the list.
Sure, the coupe provided an identical rasping soundtrack from the same titanium Inconel exhaust system, it was just easier to hear with the triple-layer Thinsulate-insulated cloth top down. Likewise, the source of the noise, Jaguar’s 5.0-litre “AJ-8” V8, making 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, has been stuffed between the SVR’s front struts all along, but somehow it feels more visceral when accompanied by gusts of wind.
That’s how I drove it throughout most of my sun-drenched test week, and while I was never tempted to see how stormy its interior would become with the throttle pinned for a 314 km/h (195 mph) top track speed test (322 km/h or 200 mph with the coupe), I certainly dabbled with its zero to hero claim of 3.7 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h in either body style.
Yes, I know this is a very “well-proven” engine (auto code for old), having been offered by Jaguar since 1997 in one form or another, but I could care less because it sounds so fabulous and delivers such scintillating performance, fuel economy be damned.
As for styling, the F-Type is eye-candy no matter which powertrain is chosen, Jaguar even offering an impressively spirited turbocharged four-cylinder in base trims. Of course, along with its sensational straight-line performance, the SVR provides more visual treats in the way of carbon fibre aero aids and trim.
The same goes for the interior, which offers a level of exoticism that sports cars in this class simply can’t match. It’s downright sensational, featuring perforated Windsor leather quilted into a ritzy diamond-style pattern on both the seat inserts and door panels, plus contrast-stitched solid leather on most other surfaces. Additionally, a rich psuede micro-fibre stretches across much of the dash-top, headliner and sun visors, while carbon-fibre and beautifully finished brushed and bright metalwork highlights key areas. The interior clearly appears British in look and feel, yet it’s more modernist than steeped in parlour club tradition (i.e. there’s no wood).
Jaguar infotainment has improved a lot with each new generation too, the F-Type not receiving a full digital cluster, but nevertheless boasting a big, colourful multi-information display between a gorgeous set of primary analogue gauges. It gets most of the functions found in the centre display, is easily legible and no problem to scroll through via steering wheel controls. Similarly, the just-mentioned centre display is a user-friendly touchscreen jam-packed with stylish high-resolution graphics plus plenty of useful features like a navigation interface with detailed mapping and simple directions settings, an audio/media page with satellite radio, a Bluetooth phone connectivity section, a graphically organized climate panel, an camera interface with many exterior views, an apps section with some pre-downloaded and available downloadable applications, and last but not least, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
One more page not yet mentioned is the My Dynamic Setup interface that lets you set up your own individual drive system calibrations. What I mean is, after fine-tuning the SVR’s engine, transmission, suspension and steering dynamics in order to suit outside conditions as best as possible, not to mention your mood, you can mix and match them as much as you like. For instance, you can go for snappier engine response and a quicker shifting transmission along with a more compliant suspension setup, which may be ideal for driving fast over the kind of rough pavement you might find in the types of rural settings that’ll allow you to really open up the car’s performance. For this reason, I’m not a fan of sport settings that automatically firm up the chassis, because a rock-solid suspension setup only works well when coursing over the kind of unblemished tarmac found on recently paved tracks, not real-world patchwork asphalt hack jobs.
This is an apropos descriptor for the roads used when pushing my F-Type SVR Convertible tester near its limits, the car’s unbridled power ideally matched to a particularly stiff, light and well-sorted aluminum body structure, chassis and suspension design. Steering response is quick and the rear wheels follow ideally, no matter how much I applied the throttle. Certainly, it was important to remain smooth, other than applying slightly more than needed when wanting to induce oversteer. The massive yellow calipers signify that Jaguar’s available carbon ceramic brakes fill the SVR’s 20-inch alloys, these being brilliant when it comes to quick stops in succession with barely any fade. Yes, this is a wonderfully capable roadster if you’ve got the confidence to push its limits, but I wouldn’t say it provides the same level of high-speed control as a recent Porsche 911 Turbo. This means the Jag can be even more fun for those with performance driving experience.
I should mention here that Jaguar’s 2020 F-Type SVR is a relative bargain compared to that just-noted 911 Turbo, the Brit starting at just $141,700 with its “head” fixed and $144,700 for the as-tested retractable fabric roof variety, compared to $194,400 and $209,000 respectively for the latest 2021 German variant. Granted, Porsche’s performance alternative is quite a bit quicker as noted earlier, knocking a full second off its zero to 100 km/h sprint time, with the brand’s Carrera S/4S models in the mid-three-second range. These start at $132,700, or in other words considerably less than Jag’s F-Type SVR, but this is where I must interject (myself) by once again saying there’s a lot more to a sports car than straight-line performance.
After all, a number of much more reasonably priced Ford Mustangs sprint into similar territory, while the new mid-engine Corvette dips into the high twos. I’m not comparing a 911 to a Mustang or even the ‘Vette (although the latter car may be embarrassingly comparable to a number of mid-engine Italians), but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m saying. The F-Type SVR delivers an immense amount of premium-level style crafted mostly from aluminum along with phenomenal attention to detail, much made from high-gloss carbon fibre, plus a beautifully crafted interior, superb musical and mechanical soundtracks, and more to go along with its respectable muscle.
Better yet, a quick check of CarCostCanada’s 2020 Jaguar F-Type Canada Prices page is showing up to $8,950 in additional incentives, which is one of the more aggressive discounts I’ve ever seen on this highly useful site (CarCostCanada provides members with rebate info, details on manufacturer financing and leasing, plus dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, via their website and the Apple Store and Google Android Store downloadable CarCostCanada app). The refreshed 2021 F-Type is already being discounted up to $6,000, incidentally, and while we’re on the subject of the new model, there’s no 2021 SVR yet. Instead, the updated 2021 F-Type R gets the same 575 horsepower V8 as the outgoing SVR, but don’t just think it’s a discounted SVR, as the significant $20,400 price reduction for the 2021 R Coupe and $20,800 savings for the 2021 R Convertible probably mean that much is missing from the top-tier package. No doubt Jaguar will introduce a more potent 2021 SVR soon, complete with all of its sensational upgrades, so we’ll have to keep our ears to the ground for this one.
All said, the current 2020 Jaguar F-Type SVR is a fabulous offering from a brand that’s steeped in sports car tradition, and well worth its very reasonable entry price. I’ve driven three in exactly the same amount of years, and have enjoyed every moment behind the wheel each time. For those with the means, I recommend it highly.
Story and photo credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo editing: Karen Tuggay
My goodness this thing is insane! The power, the outrageous sound of the supercharged V8’s sport exhaust, and the sensation of 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque thrusting head and backside into…
My goodness this thing is insane! The power, the outrageous sound of the supercharged V8’s sport exhaust, and the sensation of 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque thrusting head and backside into the rich red and black diamond-pattern leather-skinned driver’s seat upon takeoff while hands grasp at the leather-clad sport steering wheel, there’s absolutely nothing quite like it in the compact luxury SUV class.
With a flagship SUV like this you’d think the F-Pace would be number one in its ever-burgeoning segment, and while it’s certainly top dog… er cat within Jaguar’s model hierarchy it appears premium brand buyers are more interested in easy comfort than scintillating performance. A shame. The F-Pace and most Jaguar models deserve better than they get.
First off, the F-Pace is inarguably good looking no matter which trim is being discussed, with this SVR downright stunning. I can’t think of a better looking crossover SUV, unless the origami folds of Lamborghini’s Urus are more to your liking, or the Audi Q8 that shares its underpinnings, but the Italian, at least, is in an entirely different price stratosphere, starting at $240,569 in Canada, compared to just $89,900 for the F-Pace SVR.
Certainly a base Q8 can be had for less, but that sporty looking SUV’s $82,350 entry trim merely makes 335 horsepower, and while a wonderfully comfortable city and highway cruiser it’s not even in the same performance league. The equivalent Audi would be the near 600-horsepower RS Q8, but that upcoming super-CUV will set you back at least $110k (pricing hadn’t been announced at the time of writing, and it’s a larger mid-size SUV to boot.
Now that we’re talking competitors, Audi offers its 349-horsepower SQ5 in the compact class the F-Pace truly competes in, and while a true bahn-stormer its 5.4-second run from standstill to 100 km/h doesn’t measure up to the SVR’s 4.3-second blast, and I can knowingly guarantee (by experience) its 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 doesn’t sound anywhere near as menacing as the SVR’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8.
No, the F-Pace SVR’s truest competitor (and no doubt most popular rival due to its three-pointed star) is probably the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 4Matic+ that makes 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 resulting in a sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. The Mercedes maxes out at 280 km/h (174 mph) compared to the Jaguar’s slightly quicker 283 km/h (176 mph), so they almost evenly share two key bragging rights. All you’ll need to do if you want the Merc is amortize about five percent or $4,000 into your monthly payment, the German ute starting just above $93k, that is unless you end up buying a 2020 F-Pace SVR that’s now priced at $92,000 even (which means there’s only a thousand separating these beasts).
Incidentally, you can find pricing for everything just mentioned, including the 2019 and 2020 F-Pace at CarCostCanada, including trims, packages and standalone options, while you can also learn about valuable manufacturer rebate information, like Jaguar’s current factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent (at the time of writing). Additionally, become a member and you can access dealer invoice pricing on the cars you’re interested in buying, which means you could save you thousands when it comes time to negotiate. There’s up to $3,075 in additional incentives on 2020 models right now.
As far as those two German super SUVs go, I have yet to drive either, but I’ve tested plenty of BMW M models as well as AMG V8s and, while fabulous on their own, none sounds as malevolent as Jaguar’s supercharged V8. Sure, their acceleration numbers are better and their prices aren’t much higher, but performance enthusiasts can appreciate how important sound is to the overall driving experience. As for deciphering a few milliseconds of sprint time, that’s a lot more difficult from the seat of the pants.
Using the Mercedes-AMG for an example, the sportiest versions of the GLC and F-Pace provide nearly identical wheelbases at 2,874 millimetres (113.1 in) for the Jaguar and 2,873 mm (113.1 in) for the Mercedes, while their tracks are almost the same too, the SVR measuring 1,641 mm (64.6 in) up front and 1,654 mm (65.1 in) in the rear and the AMG spanning 1,660 mm (65.3 in) at both axles, but despite the F-Pace being 52 mm (2.0 in) longer at 4,731 mm (186.3 in), 79 mm (3.1 in) wider to the edges of side mirrors at 2,175 mm (85.6 in), and 42 mm (1.6 in) taller at 1,667 mm (65.6 in), plus having 100 litres (3.5 cubic feet) of extra cargo capacity behind the rear seats at 650 litres (22.9 cu ft), it tips the scales 67 kilograms (148 lbs) lighter at just 1,995 kg (4,398 lbs). That’s the benefit of its mostly aluminum construction over Mercedes’ mixed use of steels and alloys.
Two additional SUVs worthy of contention in this hyper-powerful compact luxury SUV class are Porsche’s Macan Turbo and Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the former good for 400 or 440 horsepower depending on whether buying the old 2019 or new second-generation 2020, or opting for the old model with its Performance Package (which also makes 440 horsepower), its acceleration similar to the F-Pace SVR when choosing one of the more potent options, yet its price reaching into six figures, whereas the hyperactive Italian makes 505 horsepower out of the box and sprints to 100 km/h in only 4.0 seconds, albeit with a price tag starting at $95k. Both of these SUVs are impressive, but once again their turbocharged V6 engines won’t ignite the senses like the Jag’s big, raspy V8.
You’ve really got to hear it to appreciate it. Think about the sound of a chainsaw cutting through metal, without the high-pitched annoyance of the tiny, little two-stroke screamer, and you can kind of get an idea of what I’m talking about, although it’s thoroughly pleasing whereas the chainsaw through metal experience probably wouldn’t be. Either way it’s a raucous affair, especially when the exhaust button gets pressed, which allows for freer flow and thus less backpressure resulting in more snapping, crackling and popping when letting off the throttle. It’s obnoxious like an impertinent royal, yes the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of SUVs.
While no doubt worthy of appointment to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel, let alone His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel, as the SVR’s interior is at the level of super-SUVs from the most exotic names in the industry, it’s also capable of hauling around little Prince Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in back, and a couple of his friends along with a picnic basket or two, plus some folding chairs and no doubt a safari tent stowed in the cargo compartment. In other words, the F-Pace, SVR or otherwise, is a capable family hauler with room for more cargo than a number of its compact luxury competitors.
The F-Pace SVR is also capable of light-duty off-roading (with a quick change from its optional 22-inch black-painted rims wrapped in stock 265/40 front and 295/35 rear Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-seasons to something somewhere around 18 inches with a higher sidewall and more tread grip), although it’ll be the serpentine stretches of paved highway on the way to the campground that’ll get the adrenaline flowing.
As you might suspect it’s sensational through curves, its wide track and light weight (for its size, beefy powertrain and luxury accoutrements), plus those just-noted Pirellis (even better performing Jaguar-specific P Zeros are available from tire retailers) and brilliantly tuned (read stiffer) aluminum-intensive front strut and rear multi-link underpinnings get a more buttoned down adaptive suspension setup plus a reworked electric power-steering system, for more of a super sedan feel than anything SUV-like.
Ribbons of narrow, undulating two-lane tarmac are exactly where this SUV shines, and ironically when I prefer the extra ride height an SUV like this provides over a sports car like the F-Type SVR. Don’t get me wrong, as the F-Type remains the cat to beat through twisting backroads and racetracks alike, but when the roadway is lined with trees and sharp declines arrive more quickly than an attentive eye can discern, that extra bit of visibility certainly makes for a bit more comfort at speed, as does the more compliant suspension of the larger, heavier SUV. In such conditions, both SVRs work best when their aforementioned Dynamic driving modes are chosen over their more comforting and economical settings, this more aggressive adaptive suspension setup aiding the body against its innate tendency to pitch and roll.
I didn’t drive it like this all week, of course, the fuel cost of doing so well beyond my full-time journalists’ budget, not to mention the cost of potential points and fines against my driver’s license. While I wouldn’t want to guess the latter, the former has been given a best-case-scenario estimate by Transport Canada’s reasonably accurate five-cycle testing process being 14.5 L/100km in the city, 11.0 on the highway and 12.7 combined, which is actually better than I would’ve guessed for something this powerful and wonderfully sonorous. Alfa’s most potent Stelvio gets a rating of 14.1 L/100km city, 10.4 highway and 12.4 combined, incidentally, and it’s smaller overall with a V6 engine displacing just 2.9 litres, whereas the new 2020 Macan Turbo is rated at 14.2 city, 10.1 highway and 12.0 combined. How about the GLC 63? It’s pretty thirsty at 15.0 in the city, 10.9 on the highway and 13.2 combined, but then again BMW’s X3 M is an absolute glutton at 16.6 city, 12.1 highway and 14.2 combined, that is if anyone buying into this class really cares.
Along with the Dynamic drive mode noted earlier, which I left engaged most of the week, there’s also a Comfort mode when traversing rougher roadways or just in the mood to relax, plus an Eco mode, which I probably should’ve relied on more for the reasons stated above. The latter two driving modes allow the engine to shut off when it would otherwise be idling, saving yet more fuel while further reducing emissions. I found the large Eco screen estimating how much fuel I supposedly saved while using its greenest drive setting somewhat humourous in this hyper-fast SUV, but fortunately it includes a Performance screen is well, which is much more useful in the SVR.
The SVR’s infotainment touchscreen is more or less the same as with other F-Pace models, and I have to say a big improvement over earlier examples. It’s reasonably large at 10-plus inches across, with an interface divided into three large tiles for navigation, media and phone, or whatever you choose as it can be set up for personal preference. Swipe the display to the left and another panel with nine smaller tiles appears, allowing access to most any function you need to perform. It’s simple, straightforward and therefore easy to use, with the just-noted swipe gesture control accompanied by the usual smartphone/tablet-style tap and pinch gestures, the latter most useful while using the navigation system’s maps. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is included, as are myriad other features (although you’ll need to pay extra for satellite radio), this system fully up to class standards.
Even better is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that Jaguar dubs its “Interactive Driver Display.” If you want it to look like a regular two-dial primary gauge package leave it as is, but if you’d like to transform it to a big map so you can keep tabs on directions as you’re rocketing to your destination, go ahead, or alternatively you can place a single driving dial with a numeric speed readout surrounded by a traditional tachometer in the middle, plus the map to one side and something else on the other. Configure it to your heart’s content, as there’s no shortage of options to make your driving experience as convenient and colourful as possible (you can optionally change the SUV’s ambient interior colour scheme via the centre touchscreen, by the way, or project more info onto the windshield via an available head-up display).
There’s good connectivity within the tiny centre bin, including two USB-A ports, a Micro SD card slot, and a 12-volt charger. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Jaguar hadn’t made the rubberized pad ahead of the shifter, which was ideally size for my Samsung S9, into a standard wireless charging pad, but unfortunately such was the case. You can’t even get it as an option for this 2019 model or the new 2020, so those wanting their SUV that has everything to actually have everything might want to ask your local car stereo retailer (or Jaguar dealer) if they can install one and how much it’s going to cost.
Digital extremism in mind, super-SUV buyers truly care about over-the-top interior opulence, or so it seems by the five compact luxury crossovers being loosely compared in this review. The one you personally like best will be purely up to you and your individual taste, but all present dramatic cabin designs filled with the best quality materials and state-of-the-art electronics. Having lived with various trims of each of these vehicles for weeks at a time I’ll give the overall quality nod to Porsche quickly followed by BMW and Mercedes, with Jaguar having reluctantly conceded the best interiors of its SUVs to Land Rover (the F-Pace’s fraternal twin being the Range Rover Velar that’s far and away more impressive inside), while my Stelvio tester was the only vehicle in 20 years of testing/reviewing cars that’s ever left its hood release lever in my hand after trying to view the engine (which I never saw or photographed due to this malfunction).
The SVR nevertheless ups interior materials quality and its sense of occasion over its lesser trims, thanks to an available black Suedecloth roofliner and pillars, plus contrast stitch premium leather just about everywhere, the bottom half my tester’s dash and centre console, plus its armrests and seat bolsters done out in a deep, rich Pimento red, while Ebony Lozenge hides covered most everything else, including the quilted leather seat inserts that featured a sort of zigzag-diamond, hourglass pattern with a subtle bit of red dye peeking through the leather’s perforated holes. It’s a captivating look, although I’d probably choose something more subdued. I love the carbon-fibre detailing elsewhere, however (an upgrade over standard textured Weave aluminum), while all the piano black lacquered surfaces are a given these days. So are brushed aluminum accents, the SVR filled with very real bits and pieces for its plentiful interior trim accents, with the cutouts in all four seats’ backrests particularly eye-catching.
Yes, there’s a fifth seat, but it’s merely a semi-flat space, or rather a hump in between two ideally carved out window seats, simply left in place to carry an additional small adults or child when you’re forced to fit three abreast in back. I’d say the outboard positions of the F-Pace’ back seats are a bit more accommodating than in the average compact luxury SUV, which is why some keep referring to its as a mid-size. Passengers in the rear can be treated to as-tested optional quad-zone automatic climate control featuring its own comprehensive panel on the backside of the front console that’s also replete with three-way heatable or cooled seat switches, which means there’s less need to yell shotgun or sprint to the front passenger’s door, depending on how your family deals with seating hierarchy.
There will be no need to force one of those rear passengers onto the centre bump during trips to the ski hill either (which would be a dreadful waste of those rear seat warmers when they’re needed most), thanks to 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks (that can be folded via optional cargo wall levers). The 20-percent centre section folds down on its own to allow skis, snowboards, a surfboard, a stack of 2x4s or other long items down the middle while your rear passengers continue to enjoy the more comfortable heated (or cooled) window seats, exactly how it should be done in this class or any other.
Yes, next time you’re heading to the hills, or for that matter merely shuttling the kids to school, think about how much more comfortable, let alone quick it would be in a Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Imagine the time saved, and the look of your kids grinning from ear-to-ear as you show off your action hero driving skills. So what if your significant other is glaring with a slightly different expression, taking control of the sport exhaust button as you enter the school drop-off zone.
This is the most fun I’ve ever had in a compact luxury SUV (sorry Porsche), yet it can be highly civilized, reasonably economical and highly practical for everyday use. Those who want an SUV with the heart of a supercar need look no further than the Jaguar F-Pace SVR.
“And now for something completely different.” Yes, it seems fitting to quote one great British icon in support of another, yet sad as it may seem for those of us weaned on big, luxurious four-door…
“And now for something completely different.” Yes, it seems fitting to quote one great British icon in support of another, yet sad as it may seem for those of us weaned on big, luxurious four-door sedans and estate wagons (not to mention Monty Python’s Flying Circus), cars like Jaguar’s XF are becoming few and far between these days.
The Coventry, UK-based premium brand grew legendary with the forever-beautiful Mk II and ultimately elegant XJ Series I, II and III that followed, not to mention the B-Type, C-Type and E-Type sports cars that were the inspiration behind today’s sensational F-Type, but times are tough for all but a few luxury sedans these days. Jaguar designers Ian Callum and Adam Hatton did a stellar job reinvigorating the XJ nameplate back in 2009, the of which I personally witnessed seen while descending the escalator to baggage claim at Pearson International, literally causing my jaw to drop in dumbfounded adoration, but that was a decade ago and as much as I still love the big, beautiful and surprisingly agile machine, the full-size luxury F-segment hasn’t exactly stood still while Jaguar decides what to do for an encore.
Meanwhile, the second-generation mid-size E-segment XF being reviewed here arrived in 2015 as a 2016 model, once again designed by the Scottish-born Callum, and then less than a year later, in June of 2016, Jaguar introduced the compact D-segment XE to Canadians (a 2020 refresh was just revealed) for the 2017 model, a car also penned by the Royal College of Art graduate. He does have a way with sculpted aluminum panels and composites, the XF’s slippery shape achieving Jaguar’s best aerodynamics thanks to a drag coefficient of 0.26. Each is beautiful, and therefore receives steady compliments from enthusiasts who appreciate special cars made by an even more endearing brand, but thumbs up and nods of appreciation from fans hardly pay the bills.
I went over Jaguar’s sales in detail as part of an “In Our Garage” story published in March, so feel free to head on over there to read more if such dry commentary is your thing. Suffice to say the first three months of 2019 have been abominable for all but one of the entire luxury sector’s full-size luxury sedans, with the XJ losing the most ground (68.8 percent) compared to the same initial quarter last year (albeit with most others close behind), while the XE (78.1 percent) was the biggest loser within its compact D-Segment, and XF, surprise, surprise (ok, no surprise), lost the most sales (62.7 percent) in its mid-size E-Segment. Rather than leaving Jaguar faithful crying into their refill bottles of mineral oil (previous generation XJ owners will appreciate the jab), take heart that the F-Pace grew its market share (15.5 percent) over Q1 of 2019 while many rivals lost ground, and the new I-Pace electric found new buyers too, leaving the E-Pace to retreat less territory (7.1 percent) than some competitors.
This said, if you’re the type of buyer who prefers to follow the crowd, then an XF, or any other Jaguar model, probably isn’t for you, yet then again if you’re into exclusivity, and appreciate being one of few anywhere in Canada to own something as wholly unique as the car shown here on this page, you may want to take a closer look at a brand that still takes pride in delivering plenty of old school charm together with formidable performance and highly advanced technologies.
The latter issue is actually improved upon for this 2019 model year, with all XF trims incorporating Jaguar’s updated 10.0-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment touchscreen, which provides much more area to enjoy its totally new more minimalist graphics (the British red telephone booth and other scenes are gone), easier viewing rear parking camera, more detailed navigation mapping, and many other improvements. If the simpler more sophisticated interface is not your cup of tea, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration give it a reskin when hooked up to your device while adding proprietary features. Being an Android user I prefer Jaguar’s stock system, which includes features like navigation and voice recognition in the XF’s second-rung Prestige trim and above.
On a more luxurious note, Jaguar’s ultra-rich Suedecloth now comes standard for the roof pillars and headliner no matter the XF trim chosen, as does a set of aluminum treadplates with illuminated Jaguar branding, plus rich premium carpeted floor mats, sporty metal foot pedals, classy chromed power seat switchgear, and a classic looking frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror that I happen to love.
Standard features and other XF trims in mind, this 2019 model includes the $59,100 Premium trim, $64,500 Prestige, and $67,800 R-Sport when choosing the 247 horsepower base 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder; $67,000 Prestige, $70,300 R-Sport, $72,300 300 SPORT and $79,100 Portfolio with the 296 horsepower version of the same gasoline-powered engine; $66,500 Prestige and $69,800 R-Sport with the 180 horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel; and lastly $75,300 for my tester’s 380 horsepower 3.5-litre supercharged V6-powered model’s sole S trim. Take note, all prices, trims, packages and standalone options can be found at CarCostCanada, where you can also save thousands by learning about available rebates and otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing.
Recent news of Jaguar losing money by the bucket loads might have something to do with the amazing number of unique powertrains and trims available (and I haven’t touched on options yet) in a car that only sold 173 units in Canada last year. It would’ve been difficult enough when it made 494 deliveries in 2017, or for that matter reached its sales pinnacle in 2016 with 542 down Canadian roads, but such diversity will be hard to maintain if Jaguar plans to keep providing this model in Canada. Similarly in the US, a country roughly 10 times the population of Canada and supposedly experiencing the best economy it ever has (don’t worry Jaguar, we know that’s not true), Jaguar sold 4,704 XFs in 2018, down from 9,278 units the year prior.
While the diversity of XF engines is generous to say the least, all trims incorporate a quick-shifting yet smooth operating ZF-sourced eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with an ultra-cool rotating gear selector that automatically powers up from its otherwise flush position on the lower centre console upon startup, as well as paddle shifter-actuated Jaguar Sequential Shift manual mode for hands-on engagement, and all-wheel drive for four-season grip.
Further aiding command of the road, all trims include Jaguar Drive Control with Standard, Eco, Dynamic (sport), and Rain/Ice/Snow driving modes, which makes a significant difference to comfort, performance and everything in between, while Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVBB), and hill launch assist help drivers master any road condition.
Making my XF S tester even more fun to drive was Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) plus Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Dynamics that let you choose personal engine, suspension, steering, and transmission settings, all of which dramatically change the way the car responds to inputs, from a comfortable cruiser to a seriously reactive sport sedan.
Along with everything already mentioned, the top-line XF S being reviewed receives stronger 350-mm front brake discs and red calipers all-round, and 20-inch alloy wheels, these improving both performance and styling, while the latter gets upgraded with a special “S” body kit that incorporates a sports front bumper, gloss black side sills and rear valance, plus a discrete rear deck lid spoiler. Inside, the XF S incorporates unique metal sill finishers with “S” branding, really attractive Dark Hex aluminum inlays on the instrument panel, a soft leather-like Luxtec-wrapped dash top, ultra-comfortable and supportive “S” embossed 18-way power-adjustable sport seats, and more.
Additional XF S features not yet mentioned include proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, an acoustic layer windshield, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, an electromechanical parking brake, a power-adjustable steering column, auto-dimming, power-folding, heatable side mirrors with approach lights and puddle lamps, memory for those mirrors as well as the front seats, front seat heaters, mood lighting, a Homelink garage door opener, a rearview camera, navigation with detailed mapping, InControl Apps, Pro Services, Bluetooth telephone connectivity with audio streaming, a USB charge port, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, etcetera.
What’s more, along with all the expected active and passive safety features the XF S comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blindspot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic monitoring, driver condition monitoring, and more.
On top of the all these standard XF S items my test model was upgraded to include $670 worth of gorgeous Rossello Red paint; a stunning set of $770 gloss-black twinned five-spoke alloys; a $460 Black package with a gloss black mesh grille and surround, gloss black side vents and the same treatment for the trunk garnish; a $2,200 Comfort and Convenience package with a hyperactive gesture control for that trunk’s powered deck lid (keep reading for the sordid details below); as well as soft closing doors, three-way active ventilated front seats, and heatable rear outboard seats; a $1,030 Technology package with 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Pro Services, and a CD/DVD player; a $3,680 Driver Assistance package with a 360-degree surround camera, a forward facing camera, 360-degree Park Distance Control, Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, blindspot assist, and traffic sign recognition with an intelligent speed limiter; a head-up display for $1,330; a heated windshield and heated washer jets for $410; plus satellite and HD radio for $210.
All that was missing in order fully load up this particular XF S was a $2,230 Premium Interior Upgrade package boasting four-zone auto climate control with an air quality sensor and automatic air re-circulation, a lockable cooled glove box, manual side window sunshades, a powered rear sunshade, and configurable interior mood lighting; plus optional interior décor trim (the carbon fibre would’ve been sweet); yet even as tested the base XF S model’s asking price of $75,300 moves up by $10,550 to $85,850 plus freight and fees (again, check out CarCostCanada for more detail).
As good as all of this sounds, and the XF arguably delivers a great deal of value for the money asked, we need to face the reality that Germany leads this category by a country mile for good reason (as does Tesla for a different cult-like electrified rationale), and despite Jaguar investing quid upon quid by the bucketful into the XF’s lightweight and ultra-rigid bonded and riveted aluminum body shell, that I happen to think is one of the more attractive in its class, plus as noted earlier, offering more engine options than the majority of rivals (albeit no longer a supercharged V8… sigh), it would need to perform barrel rolls on the spot if it truly wanted to get noticed by mid-size E-segment luxury sedan buyers.
This seems a good time to mention that the XF is finished to a higher degree of refinement than the smaller, more affordable XE, my tester’s luxuriously appointed Ebony leather and Light Oyster grey contrast-stitched cabin also showing off beautiful Grey Figured Ebony veneer inlays, but while the larger car is more refined than the smaller one, hardly an unusual scenario, I’m not going to go so far as to say the XF is segment-leading when it comes to fit, finish, materials quality, digital interfaces, features, roominess, etcetera. It’s very good in all of the above respects, however, and due to offering a wholly unique look and feel, plus a very different driving experience than any rival it deserves your attention.
Similar to the compact XE and its larger full-size XJ sibling, the XF feels smaller, lighter and more engaging than most in its class, its aforementioned 380 horsepower V6 responding with snappy enthusiasm that’s no doubt attributed to its healthy displacement and noted supercharger. This means all 332 lb-ft of torque come on strong right from the get-go, while its aforementioned standard all-wheel drive eliminates wheel spin no matter the road conditions, and the eight-speed automatic flicks through gears like Swiss clockwork… or rather British clockwork; the XF is more Bremont meets Christopher Ward with some classic Roger Smith thrown in for good measure, rather than anything with the marketing power of a Rolex or grail-like wow factor of Vacheron Constantin.
That’s the challenge, as good as the XF is, it’s up against the Rolex Datejust of the car industry, Mercedes’ E-Class, not to mention the BMW 5 Series, aka Omega Speedmaster, or for that matter the IWC Big Pilot, or rather Audi A6. Enough wristwatch comparos? Either way, I’m sure you get the gist. You’ll need to be a serious watch nerd to know about Bremont, Christopher Ward or Roger Smith, and while I probably should have compared the Germans to Teutonic watch brands such as Nomos, Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Söhne, my point was more about brand power than source of mechanicals and manufacture.
The truth is, no matter how entertaining and informative I try to make this review out to be, you’re one of a very small number of Canadian consumers showing any interest in this car at all. It’s partially a sign of the crossover SUV times, which is recently being borne out by the success of Jaguar’s own E-Pace, F-Pace and new I-Pace EV, as noted, but as I suggested earlier, it also has a lot due to with Jaguar’s declining fortunes overall.
This doesn’t stop the XF from being an excellent car that’s great fun to drive, its strong straight-line performance, that’s good for a sprint from standstill to 100km/h of just 5.3 seconds in as-tested S trim (albeit with an exhaust note that was a bit too muted even in Dynamic sport mode to keep me smiling), combining with the agile handling and superb ride quality of a lightweight double-wishbone front and integral link rear suspension, ideal for pounding through compressed serpentine stretches of tarmac at heroic speeds, let alone relaxing quietly and comfortably down the freeway or tooling through town. The XF S is a be-all and do-all sport-luxury sedan, capable of mixing it up in a barroom melee with the Bavarians one minute, and quiet, thoughtful contemplation after a night in Tokyo’s Roppongi district the next.
This said it wasn’t without fault, my top-line model devoid of remote engine start from the key fob (they have it available on their smartphone-downloadable InControl Remote App, but iTunes and Play Store complainants say it works sporadically at best), therefore not allowing me to pre-warm the cabin in winter or pre-chill in summer. Speaking of temperatures, I don’t like that there’s no auto mode for the heated seats. They needed to be turned on each and every time I climbed into the car, as did the heatable steering wheel, and there’s only one extremely hot temperature setting for that latter feature. What else? How about an overhead sunglasses holder that wouldn’t fit my small-sized wire rim Ray-Ban aviators. I had to flip them upside down to get them inside and close the lid, which means their lenses rubbed against the inner lid. Looking downward, corner vents that silently whisk into visibility via powered covers are cool, but all the hard plastic used for the glove box lid, lower dash surfacing, console, and lower door panels isn’t.
Lastly, a convenience feature I found quite inconvenient was the powered trunk lid that regularly opened up whenever I walked beside it. Other manufacturers fitted with this type of hands-free trunk access, like Hyundai and its Genesis luxury brand, require that you stand behind the rear bumper for three seconds in order to activate the automatic trunk lid, but the XF’s trunk kept opening when walking past with key fob in pocket, without provocation. One time, after parking at a shopping mall, the trunk popped open while walking around the backside of the car to leave. This exposed all of my valuables to the prying eyes of anyone nearby who might potentially want them for themselves, a security risk for sure. A second time, I left the engine running for less than a minute while dropping off a package at one of the offices I deal with regularly (they have a private parking lot and entrance), and once again when walking past the rear bumper the trunk automatically opened. It did it again when walking around to pump gas, making this the most annoying automatic trunk opening system ever.
Speaking of pumping gas, the XF gets a claimed Transport Canada fuel economy rating of 12.0 L/100km in the city, 8.4 on the highway and 10.4 combined, which is really quite good for such a powerful and sizeable luxury sedan, although take note those willing to sacrifice some performance for better efficiency can opt for the previously noted turbo-diesel that achieves an amazing 7.8 city, 5.8 highway and 6.9 combined. Diesel is often quite a bit cheaper than gasoline too, and let’s you drive farther per tank.
Back to that trunk, I should mention that it’s generously sized at 541 litres (19.1 cubic feet), and can be expanded further via a 40/20/40-divided rear seatback that makes passenger/cargo flexibility as good as this class gets.
The front and rear seats are roomy too, much thanks to a stretch to the car’s wheelbase when the second-generation was introduced. Now, there’s 1,055 mm of legroom up front and 957 mm in back, so no one should complain about cramped quarters and, due to well-designed, supportive seats at all corners, all (even tall John Cleese types) should be totally comfortable.
So, all you luxury buyers who dance to the beat of different drummers, the Jaguar XF might just be your ideal ride. It’s not perfect, but such charming character would be impossible to achieve without the need to excuse a few flaws. All-round, the XF is an impressive mid-size sport-luxury sedan that delivers strongly on most points, and its updated infotainment system makes it even more compelling.
Yes, the XF is something completely different, suitable even for Monty Python royalty.
I’m not going to lie to you. As curious as I am to spend a given week with seriously important big market cars like the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, and as interested as I am to find out how…
I’m not going to lie to you. As curious as I am to spend a given week with seriously important big market cars like the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla, and as interested as I am to find out how far I can go on a single charge with Kia’s latest Soul EV, nothing gets me out of my editor’s chair as quickly or as enthusiastically as a hopped up muscle car, a high-revving super-exotic, or something along the lines of Jaguar’s F-Type SVR, which might be the perfect combination of both.
Regular readers will remember that I spent a blissful week with this very same car last year in its more eye-arresting Ultra Blue paintwork, so having this 2019 model gifted to me for yet another seven heavenly days was a welcome surprise made better due to its stealth Santorini Black bodywork that thankfully doesn’t attract quite as much attention.
It’s not that I was embarrassed to be seen in it, quite the opposite of course, but rather that this car coaxes my most juvenile impulses from their hardly deep recesses all too easily, which can quickly get a person deep into trouble.
How quickly? Well that depends on whether you’re thrown into a stupor or moved into action when first laying eyes on the F-Type SVR, as well as which sense moves you most. If you’re visually stimulated first and foremost, you might be stopped dead in your tracks as soon as it comes into view, but then again if your receptors respond more to an auditory trigger you’ll move right past first sight to initial startup, resulting in the rasp of one of the more sensational exhaust notes in autodom, which will either send you to the moon in a momentary daze or turn you toward the street to put some of that wound up energy to good use.
I’m jaded, or maybe it’s just that experience tells me not to waste a moment gawking inanely at something I can relive later in pictures. Certainly one can recall memories of moments well spent, but the more one collects such moments makes recalling them a helluvalot easier. A quick glance of appreciation, out of respect, immediately followed by a quicker descent into a familiar body hug, the SVR’s performance seats are as wholly enveloping as they’re sinfully comfortable. Foot on brake pedal, finger on start button, mechanical machinations ignited and ahhh… glory hallelujah! What a sound!
Nothing roadworthy this side of an XJR-15 sounds as brutally raw, as purely visceral as an F-Type SVR being brought to life, that is until you’ve given the throttle a few more blips after opening up its two-mode titanium and Inconel active exhaust system via a wee little console-mounted button that makes a great big noise. Any sort of right foot twitch capable of spinning the crank above 4,000 revolutions per minute lets loose a cacophony of crackling barks and blats, the kind of song that’ll have gearheads singing along in dissonant unity, and zero emissions folks sneering.
Allowing spent gases to exit more freely isn’t exactly the Tesla mantra, and to think the minds behind this wondrous high-test glutton are the very crew responsible for the Model X-beating I-Pace (well, it beats the entry-level Tesla crossover, at least). We’ve all got to love the bizarre dichotomy running rampant in today’s automotive market, where the cars we all lust after are paying for the ones that government mandates are forcing down our throats.
Of course, thanks to companies like Jaguar and Tesla we’re all beginning to realize that going electric isn’t the end of motorized fun, but potentially a new beginning. Could there be an electrified F-Type in our future? Likely, and it’ll be the quickest Jaguar sports car ever. Still, the good folks at Castle Bromwich will need to expend terahertz levels of energy in their artificial sound lab to recreate the auditory ecstasy this SVR composes. Let’s hope they succeed, because we all know that as sensational as this 5.0-litre supercharged V8 sounds, and as fabulously fast as this Jaguar becomes when powered by it, the still impressive yet nevertheless 23-year-old AJ-8 power unit’s days are numbered.
As it is, this 575 horsepower beast catapults from naught to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds before attaining the seemingly unattainable terminal velocity of 322 km/h (200 mph)—that’s 1.1 seconds quicker and 122 km/h (75.8 mph) faster than the I-Pace, in case you were wondering. Certainly a driver’s license would be unobtainable for the remainder of my sorry life if I were so foolish as to attempt the former speed on public roads, and being that no such track is long enough within close proximity of my home we’ll all just need to take Jaguar’s word for it. Suffice to say that zero to all other cars at the stoplight looking like tiny coloured dots happens all of a shockingly sudden, so you’d better gather your stunned thoughts, get into the game and prepare for upcoming corners or you’ll fast be shuffled off this mortal coil.
Fortunately the F-Type SVR manages all roads serpentine as easily as it’s guided down the straight and narrow, its brilliantly quick-shifting eight-speed automatic as ideally suited to flicking up through the gears as for rev-matched downshifts. Remember when I mentioned muscle car credentials earlier? That was strictly referencing the engine, its prowess over undulating, curving backroads the stuff of mid-engine exotica. Just look at the meaty 305-section Pirelli P-Zero rubber at back and plentiful 265/35s up front, both ends supported by the lightweight aluminum chassis and riveted, bonded body shell noted earlier, and then factor in that suspension’s Adaptive Dynamics system, the electronic active rear differential, and the brake-sourced torque vectoring. Tap the carbon ceramic brakes to load up the front tires, enter the apex, add throttle and enjoy as the SVR’s backside locks into place while catapulting this leather-lined beast toward the next bend, a process I repeated over and over, as often as opportunity would allow.
All said, you’d think something as fabulously fast as the F-Type SVR would be a handful around town, but that’s where its exotic nature ends and more upright practicality enters. It’s actually a very comfortable coupe to spend time in, while visibility is quite good considering its sleek greenhouse and thick C pillars. The 12-way powered driver’s seat and steering column fit my long-legged, short torso five-foot-eight frame well, and due to much more movement in all directions should provide good adjustability for all sorts of body types, and I certainly had no complaints from my various co-drivers.
On the practicality question, Jaguar provides a large hatch opening for loading in all kinds of gear, with up to 408 litres (14.4 cubic feet) in total and about half that below the removable hard cargo cover. It’s beautifully finished, as one would expect in this class, but remember that unlike the old XK the F-Type is strictly a two-seater with no rear seats to fold, so there’s no way you’ll be able to fit skis or any other long items aboard, unless you slot them down the middle between driver and front passenger.
I remember stuffing my significant other and kids into an XKR coupe years ago, and while its 2+2 grand touring profile wasn’t carried forward into the F-Type’s design, the interior’s fine workmanship and beautiful attention to detail continues. In fact, I’d say this SVR’s cabin is even better, with rich red stitching and piping providing colour to the otherwise black Suedecloth and quilted leather surfaces, while its electronic interfaces are beyond comparison.
Classic analogue dials flank a large 5.0-inch colour TFT multi-information display at centre, unchanged from past years, albeit the Touch Pro infotainment touchscreen on the centre stack is all new for 2019, growing from 8.0 to 10.0 inches in diameter and now flush-mounted without buttons down each side. It’s properly outfitted with navigation, a backup camera with active guidelines, Pro Services, InControl Apps, 770-watt 12- speaker Meridian surround audio, satellite and HD radio, and the list goes on, while Jaguar also added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for $300.
You can get into a 2019 F-Type Coupe SVR for just $140,500, or go topless for an extra $3,000, either of which is a bargain when compared to the Porsche 911 Turbo that will set you back $43,700 more for the hardtop or an additional $54,700 for the drop-top. That easily pays for the aforementioned $13,260 Carbon Ceramic Brake Pack with plenty left over, which includes 398 millimetre rotors up front and 380 mm discs at back, plus massive yellow calipers encircled by a stunning set of 10-spoke 20-inch diamond-turned alloys. Plenty of options were included with my test car and a yet more, like LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming centre and side mirrors, auto climate control, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, and lane keeping assist, comes standard, so make sure to check out all the 2019 F-Type trims, packages and options at CarCostCanada, not to mention rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
It’s difficult not to write an epic for such a phenomenal sports car, but instead of running on at the mouth I recommend you head to your local Jaguar retailer and ask them to start one up in the showroom or on the lot, turn on the switchable active exhaust, rev the throttle and then listen to the snap, crackle and pop of the exhaust. If you’re not raring to go for a drive after that, you might be better off moseying down the road to the Lexus store for a smooth, comfortable ride in ES 300 hybrid.
We’ve got the lovely Jaguar XF in our garage this week, and despite its elegantly classic sport sedan lines, beautifully deep, rich Rossello Red metallic paint, luxuriously appointed Ebony leather and…
We’ve got the lovely Jaguar XF in our garage this week, and despite its elegantly classic sport sedan lines, beautifully deep, rich Rossello Red metallic paint, luxuriously appointed Ebony leather and Light Oyster grey contrast-stitched cabin with beautiful Grey Figured Ebony veneers, full assortment of standard and optional features, some of which are new for 2019, and the list goes on, it’s difficult to be 100 percent positive.
The truth of the matter is, no matter how entertaining and informative I try to make this review out to be, you are one of a very small number of Canadian consumers showing any interest in this car at all. It’s partially a sign of the crossover SUV times, the success of Jaguar’s E-Pace and F-Pace plus interest in its new I-Pace EV verifying that, but to be totally honest, it’s also due to Jaguar’s declining fortunes overall.
This is where I give kudos to Jaguar for sticking to its guns in the luxury car business, “car” being the key word I’m referring to in this respect. The brand grew legendary thanks to classics like the forever-beautiful Mk II and XJ Series I, II and III that followed, not to mention the B-Type, C-Type and E-Type sports cars that were the inspiration behind today’s fabulous F-Type, but times are tough for all but a few luxury sedans these days.
Jaguar designers Ian Callum and Adam Hatton did a momentous job reinvigorating the XJ nameplate back in 2009, the first one I saw in the metal while descending the baggage claim escalator at Pearson International literally dropping my jaw in dumbfounded adoration, but that was a decade ago and as much as I still love that big, beautiful and surprisingly agile car the full-size luxury F-segment hasn’t exactly been twiddling its thumbs while waiting for Coventry to show us all something new.
In the meantime, Jaguar introduced the Callum-designed compact D-segment XE in April of 2015 (a 2020 refresh was just revealed), designed to fight it out with the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and the like, plus the second version of its mid-size E-segment XF later that year, also penned by Mr. Callum—he does have a way with sculpted aluminum panels and composites. They’re all beautiful, more than capable of receiving compliments from true enthusiasts who appreciate special cars made by an even more endearing brand, but thumbs up and nods of appreciation from enthusiasts won’t pay the bills.
As it is, Jaguar’s Canadian sales aren’t exactly on fire. Jaguar sold a grand total of 188 XJs in Canada last calendar year, representing 17.5 percent fewer than in 2017, while year-over-year XF sales were down a staggering 63.5 percent to just 173 units throughout all of 2018. The smallest XE was the only bright spot amongst Jag’s four-door sedan lineup with 571 sales and a downward trend of just 27.8 percent.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for the Alfa Romeo Giulia the just-noted XE would be dead last in its class, while the XF has the Acura RLX and Infiniti Q70 to thank for not bringing up the rear in the E-segment. On that happy note I’m glad to report my favourite XJ had a more respectable showing amongst its peers last year with the Audi A8, Maserati Quattroporte and Genesis G90 left far behind, but factoring in that Mercedes sells nearly five times as many S-Class models as XJs, and more than 20 times as many C-Class and E-Class variants than XEs and XFs, makes even this tiny positive a tad disconcerting.
Year-over-year F-Type sales were down in 2018 too, but just by 4.8 percent to 373 units, causing the still gorgeous sports car to slip from fourth to fifth amongst its premium rivals (when including the Corvette), but take heart the F-Pace saw growth of 2.3 percent to 2,419 units last year, while the E-Pace found 572 new buyers despite only arriving on the scene in, um, February (of last year).
Yah, not quite the compact crossover SUV response Jaguar was hoping for. Interestingly, the new plug-in electric I-Pace might actually become the major league out-of-the-ballpark grand slam hit Jaguar’s been longing for, but we’ll have to wait and see as the 41 units they managed to sell toward the end of last year was hardly a sizeable enough sample to make judgement on. Overall, the 4,349 Jaguars sold in Canada throughout calendar year 2018 (the vast majority F-Paces) represented a 5.9-percent decline from the year before, and if it weren’t for the F-Pace, E-Pace, and an 11.5-percent gain experienced by Land Rover, resulting in JLRC growth of 5.7 percent overall, this wouldn’t be a positive story at all.
To be fair the BMW brand only saw Canadian sales growth of 1.2 percent, Audi grew by just 2.5 percent, and Porsche by a pretty impressive 7.9 percent, while Mercedes-Benz sales actually fell by 4.8 percent. Last year’s biggest luxury brand success story goes to Volvo, mind you, but its amazing 29.8 percent growth is more representative of a phoenix rising from the ashes than anything resembling market dominance. Likewise, Alfa Romeo’s sales are up 26 percent thanks to its new Stelvio SUV, but with 1,402 total units (compared to Mercedes’ 49,413) it’s not causing many competitors concern. The same goes for Genesis, up 174.5 percent to 1,441 total cars sold (they don’t have any SUVs yet), but Tesla’s 386.4-percent year-over-year rise should cause brands like Jaguar to quake in their Doc Martins, if the California-based brand’s numbers can be trusted, and its completely unhinged, egomaniacal CEO doesn’t drive the “tech” company’s valuation underground one idiotic, questionably drug-induced “funding secured” tweet at a time.
So to make a short story long, the XF is Jaguar’s slowest selling vehicle in a market segment that’s also losing ground, which makes me (crossing my fingers) hopeful that we’ll be fortunate enough to lure in 10 percent of this model’s current ownership base (Jaguar sold 2,242 XFs over the past five years) for a total of 224 readers, plus another 100 or so interested lookie-loos, so that advertising can pay for our efforts (fat chance, I know).
Of course, if we were to base our coverage on this type of business model I’d only be writing about full-size pickup trucks, plus a few compact sedans and crossover SUVs, so suffice to say the XF is worthy of much more attention than it’s currently receiving in this country, and no doubt Jaguar hopes that changes made to this 2019 model will help increase sales back to its 2013 levels at best (604 units), or 2017 levels at least (494).
So without further ado, new for 2019 is Jaguar’s updated 10.0-inch InControl Touch Pro centre display that provides a lot more area to enjoy its oh-so-British red telephone booth in a field graphics and much easier to see backup camera… but wait… the backup camera is there, but where are the graphics? Hmmm. I suppose most would rather have a larger non-graphical touchscreen than something smaller and more interesting, and you’ll probably have your smartphone hooked up to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto anyway, which are now part of the package. Then again, those who’d rather set their navigation instructions via the InControl Touch Pro interface will appreciate that voice recognition has been added to the mix, both standard in the XF’s second-rung Prestige trim.
Lastly, Jaguar’s luxurious Suedecloth is now standard for the roof pillars and headliner across the entire XF line, as is a set of aluminum treadplates with illuminated Jaguar branding, premium carpeted floor mats, metal-enhanced foot pedals, chromed power seat switchgear, plus a classy and classic looking frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Now that we’re talking XF trims, for 2019 they include the $59,100 Premium, $64,500 Prestige, and $67,800 R-Sport when choosing the 247 horsepower base 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder; $67,000 Prestige, $70,300 R-Sport, $72,300 300 SPORT and $79,100 Portfolio with the 296 horsepower version of the same gasoline-powered engine; $66,500 Prestige and $69,800 R-Sport with the 180 horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel; and lastly $75,300 for my tester’s 380 horsepower 3.5-litre supercharged V6-powered model’s sole S trim. All prices, trims and standalone options can be found at CarCostCanada, incidentally, where you can also save thousands by learning about available rebates and otherwise hard to find dealer invoice pricing.
Additionally, all XF sedans utilize an eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift manual mode, plus all-wheel drive, Jaguar Drive Control with Standard, Eco, Dynamic (sport), and Rain/Ice/Snow modes, and Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVBB), hill launch assist and more, while my XF S tester also included Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) plus Configurable Dynamics and Adaptive Dynamics that let you choose personal engine, suspension, steering, and transmission settings.
After this ultra-long-in-tooth intro I won’t bore you with too many more details about each and every trim level, other than to say it’s a mid-size E-segment Jaguar so all of these various XF grades are finished to a higher degree than anything in the mainstream volume mid-size class, but I’m not going to go so far as to say the XF is segment leading when it comes to fit, finish, materials quality, digital interfaces, features, roominess, etcetera. It’s very good in all of the above respects, however, and due to offering a wholly unique look and feel, plus a very different driving experience than any rival it deserves your attention.
So let’s take a quick look at some of the features found on my specific XF S tester, such as its special “S” body kit boasting a sports front bumper, gloss black side sills and rear valance, plus a rear deck lid spoiler, 20-inch alloy wheels, 350-mm front brakes and red calipers all-round, while inside it receives special metal sill finishers with “S” branding, unique Dark Hex aluminum inlays on the instrument panel, a leather-like Luxtec-wrapped dash top, “S” embossed 18-way power-adjustable sport seats, and more.
Other features not yet mentioned that are incorporated into the XF S include proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, an acoustic layer windshield, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, an electromechanical parking brake, a power-adjustable steering column, auto-dimming, power-folding, heatable side mirrors with approach lights and puddle lamps, memory for those mirrors as well as the front seats, front seat heaters, mood lighting, a Homelink garage door opener, a 10.0-inch capacitive touchscreen, a rearview camera, navigation with detailed mapping, InControl Apps, Pro Services, Bluetooth telephone connectivity and audio streaming, a USB charge port, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatback, front and rear parking sensors, and more.
Additionally, along with all the expected active and passive safety features the XF S comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blindspot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic monitoring, driver condition monitoring, and more.
On top of the all the XF S standard items, my tester featured $670 worth of gorgeous Rossello Red paint, a fabulous looking $770 set of glossy black twinned five-spoke alloys, a $460 Black package with a gloss black mesh grille and surround, gloss black side vents and the same treatment for the trunk garnish; a $2,200 Comfort and Convenience package with a hyperactive gesture control for that trunk’s powered deck lid (more on this in my upcoming review), as well as soft closing doors, three-way active ventilated front seats, and heatable rear outboard seats; a $1,030 Technology package with 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Pro Services, and a CD/DVD player; a $3,680 Driver Assistance package with a 360-degree surround camera, a forward facing camera, 360-degree Park Distance Control, Park Assist semi-autonomous self-parking, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, blindspot assist, and traffic sign recognition with an intelligent speed limiter; a head-up display for $1,330; a heated windshield and heated washer jets for $410; plus satellite and HD radio for $210.
All it was missing in order to be fully and completely loaded was a $2,230 Premium Interior Upgrade package featuring four-zone climate control with an air quality sensor and automatic air re-circulation, a lockable cooled glove box, manual side window sunshades, a powered rear sunshade, and configurable interior mood lighting; and optional interior décor trim (the carbon fibre would’ve been nice); yet even as is the base XF S model’s $75,300 asking price moves up $10,550 to $85,850, plus freight and fees of course (again, check out CarCostCanada for details).
As good as all of this sounds, and the XF arguably delivers a lot of value for the money asked, we need to face the reality that Germany leads this category by a country mile for good reason (as does Tesla for different cult-like electrified reasons), and despite Jaguar investing quid by the whollops into the XF’s lightweight and ultra-rigid bonded and riveted aluminum body shell, which is arguably one of the most attractive in its class, and offering more engine options than the majority of rivals (albeit no longer a supercharged V8), it would need to perform barrel rolls on the spot if it really wanted to get noticed.
I’ll cover all that’s good and my few gripes in an upcoming road test review, so until then enjoy our photo gallery above. Like I said, it’s a beautiful sedan that deserves a lot more interest than it gets, so thanks for giving it some of yours…