What is it?
After the forced induction ‘SV8’ tested by Steve Cropley last week, this, the normally aspirated V8 version, is the second variant of Jaguar’s new XF to come under our scrutiny. The two remaining lower-end engines – the 3.0-litre V6 petrol and all-important 2.7-litre V6 diesel - were unavailable at the car’s launch in Arizona; we'll have to wait until early '08 to sample those.
Mechanically it is all very familiar: the 294bhp V8, six speed ZF transmission and suspension comes straight from the XK coupe while enough of the old S-type’s floor remains in the design to ensure an unchanged wheelbase.
In the past Jaguars have had a tradition of using price to position themselves as value alternatives in the premium market, but not this one: at £45,500 it costs just £245 less than a BMW 550i SE – a fact we’ll be picking up with a twin test in the not too distant future.
The Jag has an auto box and satellite navigation as standard but many will consider that things like that pale alongside the German’s considerably superior performance yet better economy and emissions.
What’s it like?
The car has two fundamental problems and any prospective purchaser will have to convince themselves they either don’t matter or can be lived with even before the car is worth taking for a test drive. Once surmounted, there is very little else about this XF that will not delight anyone who fancies the idea of a thoroughly modern British sports saloon.