2022 Jaguar XF 2.0 SE Review : The Long of the Short Game
Singapore - Seven years, that is quite a long time for a brand to do a facelift, but this is what Jaguar has just done with their XF sedan. Somewhere in-between, the British auto marque’s flagship sedan, the XJ ceased production (and its replacement was shelved), and a small SUV, their littlest E-Pace was born. So, now the XF is now Jaguar’s largest offering.
The late-life mostly infotainment tech update ensures that the XF has caught up with its peers. A re-worked font grille, and front and rear bumpers from the sportier R-Dynamic parts bin, are all the XF needs to stay fresh. It is a seriously good looking car from all angles. Jaguar has also revised the headlamps. which now feature “Double J” DRL’s… well because double “Js” are better than singular ones.
Jaguar XF 2.0 SE - inside
The new Pivi Pro infotainment system (also found on the F-Pace SVR, which David took out a while back, click on this blue text for the review) is a vast improvement from what was offered previously. This is fronted by a 11.4-inch curved glass touch screen, which “floats” above the dash. Navigating the new system is a remarkably simple process this round, where most functions are one or two clicks away. Unlike some of its German counterparts, voice functions do require you to press a button on the steering wheel for activation. This is not a bad thing, since car buffs like us would inevitably wake-up an infotainment unit, with our constant ramblings about the car we drive.
The infotainment’s operating system can be updated over the air, meaning that you always have access to the latest version of the firmware. For the driver, the XF is equipped with a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster, which can be customised.
There is also an app which you can download, where you can check the car’s status, and perform some basic actions, like unlocking the doors, turning on the air-conditioning, or even sounding the horn and flashing lights, to help you locate your car.
The XF’s tech goodies are wrapped in heaps of two-tone leather and open pore wood trim. Both electric front seats have three memory settings, though sadly, even with those push-pull-and-rotate air-conditioning adjuster knobs, which in some markets, double as controls for ventilated front seats, we do not get these precious bum coolers here. A clever British reference here is its Cricket ball-inspired shift knob, which replaces that gimmicky retractable twist gear shift selector, which was less intuitive to use.
As there is the on-going global chip shortage, our test XF does not come equipped with front and wing mirror-mounted cameras, meaning that there is no 360-degree birds eye view when you put the car in reverse (maybe this will be resolved soon?). But rather, you make do with a basic reverse camera. What is not due to a chip shortage though, is the omission of the holder for sunglasses in the roof headliner… What is odd, it is not so much that you have the holder missing, but this is replaced with a glossy black plastic cover.
Jaguar XF 2.0 SE - the drive
The XF uses the same Ingenium turbocharged 2-litre, paired to a ZF-sourced 8-speed gearbox. This delivers a healthy 250hp and 365Nm on-tap, and propels the executive sedan to 100kmh in 6.9 seconds.
Sadly, once on the road, we find that the XF at low speeds, feels unpleasantly lumpy, and lurchy when taking off. The transmission is seemingly unwilling to commit fully into its low gears, and I feel that in the short game of low speed drivability, the XF, like the smaller XE has missed the mark.
Slip the XF onto the highway though, and everything seems to come together very well. The sedan feels composed, and that gearbox’s lumpy delivery makes way for a certain upshifting smoothness, which could put an E-Class to shame.
I would have hoped that the regular damping on the suspension be better sorted, as it feels unnatural as it tries to arrest itself too suddenly whenever I hit a rough patch. But if you flick the XF into Dynamic drive mode, that same suspension tightens up and performs almost flawlessly, revealing what I feel is a well-balanced driver’s car.
Overall, I feel that Jaguar has sorted out the XF a little more, making it a better offering. But if city driving forms a large portion of your ownership (which it obviously does), they could do better. After all, just like in a game of Golf, it is the short game which is the one that gets you.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow & Jay Tee
2022 Jaguar XF 2.0 SE
Engine 1997cc, in-line four, turbocharged
Transmission 8spd ZF Auto
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.3l/100km