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Lap of luxury

When William (Bill) Lyons drifted out of sidecars into the first of the cad’s cars of the 1930s, the original SS1 coupe, few people would have believed that the Jaguar name, first applied to the SS100 in 1936, would not only outlive, but nearly outclass everything British but Aston Martin.

The seats promise a comfortable drive no matter how badly behaved the driver should become
- Hugh Arnett

The Jaguar most certainly lives on, and the XF 2.7-l diesel Premium Luxury, is in the opinion of many experienced motorists, as luxurious, as comfortable and most certainly as driveable as the generously lauded BMWs and Mercedes.

Of course, we don’t take sides and enjoy driving all offerings from all manufacturers – well, almost all manufacturers.

It is easy to become really ‘at home’ with the Jaguar. The seats promise a comfortable drive no matter how badly behaved the driver should become. They grip and yet cosset, flatter all who seat themselves thereon. The driver opens his door after a decent drive and the steering wheel lifts to enable even elderly test drivers the luxury of an easy exit.

The acceleration is most certainly up to scratch, the brakes par for the course, and the amount of road feel, often lacking in modern chargers, provides all the little nuances that paints the picture loud and clear to experienced and enthusiastic drivers.

This is actually quite a large five-seat luxury saloon with all the interesting habits associated with sportier-looking contemporary vehicles.

In other words, it handles beautifully not only on smooth surfaces but also on undulating, potholed Maltese roads as well, rather like the old Mk II, and in my book better than unmodified E-Types, which had a somewhat wayward suspension over undulating surfaces.

This luxury Jag gets to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds (4.9 in the top-of-the-engine-range 5.0-litre petrol). Not only is the car able to sprint with the best, but the pleasure of driving spreads into the backward gear as well. A rear-facing camera makes light work of reversing, what is, in fact, quite a large car.

Luxury vehicles these days have the sort of gear change mechanism that puts to shame the classic ‘overdrive top’. This XF has: drive mode, sport mode, dynamic mode, winter mode, and my choice for much of the morning, paddles on the facia side of the steering wheel.

To help keep the car in decent posture when being driven hard, dynamic stability control (DSC) applies braking to individual wheels while reducing engine torque. DSC provides a higher intervention threshold for the more enthusiastic driver while taking much of the ‘hard’ work out of driving.

The active differential control acts in harmony with traction, ABS and DSC inasmuch as it limits slip between the rear wheels to optimise traction and stability. Adaptive dynamics, electronically reads 500 times a second the road wheel inputs, continuously adjusting the suspension settings through electronically controlled dampers.

The Jaguar drive control interacts with the DSC to change the characteristics of the engine mapping, transmission shifts and brake interventions. A button selects different modes.

The dynamic mode optimises the vehicle systems to deliver a more involving driving experience, and winter mode softens the res­pon­siveness of the engine and modifies the gear change strategy to help maintain maximum traction in icy or slippery conditions.

Even better looking in soft-top variation, the most can be made of our driving conditions without of necessity going to even twice our current maximum speed.

Engineers have ensured that the car is never stressed beyond safe parameters, and the potential of the XF is not even remotely tapped with its speed limited to 204 km/h. This makes local experienced high speed motorists seriously wonder at a speed limit currently set at 80 km/h.

This car also comes with burr walnut veneer and the Jaguar sound system with Bluetooth connection. It has leather seats (heated up front), cruise control, climate control, navigation system, keyless entry, pedestrian contact sensing system and a rear camera.

Verdict

Comfort
This Premium Luxury car is virtually all things to all of us.

Performance
Whether this car is driven in town or on our urban roads it delivers at all times.

Cool
No, simply a darn fine car to own.

Quality
Up there with the very best.

At a glance

Top speed
Limited to 240kph.

Performance
0-100kph, 7.1 secs.

Combined fuel consumption
6.8 litres/100kms covered.

C02 emissions
179 gms/km.

Engine
V6 diesel four valves per cylinder.

Capacity
2,993cc.

Max power
240bhp at 4,000rpm.

Maximum torque
500Nm at 2,000rpm.

Dimensions
Overall length 4,961mm. Overall width mirrors folded,1,877mm. Overall height 1,460mm.

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