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.