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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 8th January, 2016
, updated 23rd December, 2015
To be able to create a car that rides like a Grand Tourer yet changes direction and grips like a supercar is no mean feat. Yet that's exactly what Jaguar managed with this XKR. It still isn't quite as focused as a Porsche 911 for dedicated enthusiasts, but then if it was, it probably wouldn't be able to reward as much as it does on those occasions when you're not fighting against the clock.
Of course if you are, you'd want to be behind the wheel of the XKR-S version if you could afford to be. Lacking our own private runway, we'd find the standard XKR frighteningly fast enough when we wanted it to press on, relaxed and laid back when we didn't.
No other car of this kind offers quite this Jaguar's blend of speed, refinement and driver involvement. To call it an E-Type for the 21st century is as big a compliment as we can give. This XKR is nothing less.
Jaguar's XF Sportbrake estate gets a timely upgrade with the brand's latest mild hybrid tech. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
There's no doubt that this XJ is an outstanding technical achievement. But then the same can be said of many of its rivals. Where this Jaguar is different though, can be summed up in that one simple but very telling word 'character'. Rather than being merely a larger version of an existing model, this is a stand-alone design in its own right. As a result. it feels special in a way that German rivals struggle to match.
More importantly, this car's unique selling points aren't only restricted to the way that it looks. Even if you don't agree with Designer Ian Callum's vision of the future of luxury motoring, you'll have to admit that the cabin is on another level from its rivals, even if it can't quite match them for space. And it offers the kind of involving driving experience you simply wouldn't expect from a car of this size. Bold and ferociously modern, this is a car you can bond with - and a luxury saloon that it's very difficult to ignore.
Lighter, more spacious, better-looking and a whole lot more efficient, this MK2 XF model worried the German makers more than any model Jaguar had previously brought us. There's nothing simple about producing a car as good as this one, a model that set fresh class standards in terms of its aluminium-intensive architecture, its running costs and its ride and handling balance. True, it might not have been the game-changer its predecessor was, but then it didn't need to be. That corner had already been turned. The old XF showed how Jaguar could compete on equal terms with its Teutonic rivals. This car though, demonstrated clearly how it meant to go about beating them.
Ultimately what was so masterful about this second generation XF was how cleverly Jaguar kept and built upon what was good about the original version, while being realistic about where the old car's weaknesses were. As a result, with this 'X260'-series car, you really can have a beautiful Executive class model that offers cutting-edge technology and a dynamic driving experience but which is also built in Britain and sips fuel like a supermini. These truly are amazing times.
If you think the big three prestigious German brands have the Executive car segment sewn-up, a drive in the improved version of Jaguar's second generation XF may be enough to make you reconsider. Even in the face of tough competition from rivals like the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6, this car offers a compelling range of virtues. As before, there's a choice of saloon or Sportbrake bodystyles.
The XF range now hinges around a 2.0-litre diesel four-cylinder engine and while that doesn't sound too exciting, it's where the big sales are. It now comes in a single 204PS D200 state of tune, offers customers the option of rear wheel drive or AWD and features the brand's latest MHEV mild hybrid engine tech, which can assist the engine under acceleration. There are also conventional P250 (RWD) and P300 (AWD) 2.0-litre petrol models. As for design, well the looks have been smartened but from almost any angle, you'd know this was a Jaguar. You'd know this was an XF.
Jaguar makes a full-electric vehicle - and a very good one. Jonathan Crouch looks at the I-PACE.
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