DETROIT, MI -- What Jaguar is doing with its XF line is commendable. The mid-size luxury sedan now includes four models and the latest one I've tried is the 2010 XF Supercharged.
In the nutshell, my test car was powered by a direct fuel injection 5.0-liter V8 engine with a sixth-generation twin vortex supercharger mated to Jaguar's six speed automatic transmission with an upgraded torque converter to handle the extra power.
Before I go further, the regular 4.2-liter naturally aspirated XF makes 300 horsepower, the XF Premium makes 385 horsepower, the XFR makes 510 horsepower and my 5.0-liter supercharged model made 470 horsepower.
Like its name, the Jaguar XF is sleek subtle speed. Zero to 60 mph time for my test model was 4.9 seconds. To put that in real world terms, early in the morning I was getting on the Lodge Freeway here and getting off at the next exit.
I pushed down on the accelerator with authority but the pedal was nowhere near the metal. I let up on the accelerator but before got off at the next exit. The speedometer said 110 mph.
That was well short of the 170 mph that was on my speedometer. I have no doubt that the Jaguar Supercharged could achieve its top speed. But I was really impressed by how well the sedan behaved at low speeds which I was confined to by city streets and cluttered local expressways.
The engine was quiet, yet when the car started there was guttural growl. The four exhaust ports were an indication of the power under the hood. The transmission was smooth to the point that I didn't feel gear shifts. And the car was sure-treaded on the roads, which was notable since they were snow covered for the last few days of my test drive.
Exterior features included 20-inch five triple-spoke Selena-style alloy wheels, "Supercharged" badging on the rear trunk lid, quad polished exhaust tailpipes, and silver-gray painted brake calipers. But I particularly like the snarling Jaguar head that adorned the grille and the trunk lid.
There were incremental improvements like the intelligent oil-pump pressure relief valve (PRV) which senses oil pressure deep in the engine's oil galleries to control the oil pump delivery. As a result, oil pump frictional losses are reduced during the warm-up period.
New engine oil has a lower viscosity, contributing to an extension in service intervals from 10,000 miles to 15,000 miles or 12 months. Both V8 engines are now fitted with an electronic oil level sensor feature for added peace of mind.
Interior features included contrast color twin needle stitching on the instrument panel and door top rolls, an aluminum dashboard, Jaguar Suedecloth Premium headlining, Rich Oak veneer (unique to XF Supercharged only), 440W Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, HD radio, and heated steering wheel which I found very useful.
My test car had keyless enter and stop/start, heated and cooled front seats, Bi-Xenon headlamps and blind spot monitor, touch screen navigation system and satellite radio, iPod, USB and auxiliary jacks, tire pressure monitor and steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
There were no options. The equipment I just named was standard and there was more as well it should be on a $68,000 luxury sedan. The XF is the cutting edge of Jaguar's return to distinction in the luxury segment.