The XF was an important car for Jaguar – charged, as it was back in 2007, with wafting away the pipe-and-slipper image that lingered with the Jaguar brand. And it did it.

Jaguar XF Review

Yes, it had its issues, as design guru Ian Callum unashamedly pointed whilst standing in the shadow of its successor. And as the sun set behind the mountains surrounding of northern Spain’s stunning Navarra region Ian citied the small grille, compromised interior space and lack of comparative stance.

So what’s different with the all-new XF? Well those three points have been duly fixed for starters.

It’s shorter, but actually looks longer – thanks to a rigid new shoulder line and extended wheelbase.

It’s lower slung, but packs a bunch of extra headroom in the back.

And it’s lighter too. Much lighter. Thanks to Jaguar’s state-of-the-art aluminium chassis that not only makes the XF stronger than ever but sheds 190kg off its predecessor’s bulk.

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The freshly engorged grille up front, re-profiled headlamps and purposeful-looking new air intakes that dominate the lower portion of its new face do an awesome job – especially in the sportier, top-of-the-line S spec we tested. While the elongated rear light clusters, lower body kit and twin exhaust pipes deliver the desired top exec stance.

And I didn’t just put the breed’s new 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol heart to good use on Navarra’s beautifully smooth mountain roads either.

Lapping-up the opportunity, I stretched this hot Jag’s legs on track too – the F1-primed Circuito de Navarra. But what impressed me most about this unarguably agile exec with it’s precise steering and torquey rear-end was it’s unflappable composure even when the hammer is fully down.

It’s fast but never in the truly shocking sense that an XJR is. Mistakenly hit the anchors mid-apex and it’s still got you all the way. It wants to flatter you. Keep you looking good even if you’re driving really rather bad – and it’s that kind of cover that makes it worth its weight when you’ve got 380hp under your eager right foot.

But this is no race car – even though it’s rear lights are directly inspired by the E-Type and F-Type. This is a car to drive, in classy comfort, to the VIP paddock club car park in.

So, do the inner quarters live up to it’s sharpened-up new exterior? In a word… yes.

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Inside, the XF has always extolled a state of occasion albeit not one that would ever consider trumping the XJ.

From the James Bond-esque theatre of the automatically revolving air-vents which greet you on start-up – yes, there still there – to rear-window blinds, rotary gear selector and the finest fluted Windsor leather seats. It even salutes it’s bigger brother with a great deep-dish steering wheel and wears it’s ‘Riva Hoop’ – that beautiful trim line that wraps round from the centre of the dash right through to the doors. The XF has surly taken a step further up the luxury ladder.

But the XF’s piece de resistance – beyond all the autonomous driving systems (parking, traffic, cruising, low-grip situations, etc.) and the Audi-esque, 12” TFT drivers screen – is the new infotainment system.

Called InControl Touch Pro – it’s still in its Beta testing phase, but we got the scoop on the new 10.2-inch widescreen tech and totally fell for it over the current non-Pro system. With all the intuitive swipe, drag and pinch appeal of an iPhone and slick graphics to match, Jaguar will hammer the competition when this rolls out later in the year.

In fact, this is one option box you can’t afford to ignore when speccing-up and XF. Well, that and the accompanying 17-speaker, 825W Meridian sound system to match, of course. Collars and cuffs, right?

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The XF gets a sweet range of powertrains too – and a surprising stickshift option if the supremely silky 8-speed auto with paddle-shifters is bizarrely not your thing.

There’s a choice of two state-of-the-art, 2.0-litre Ingenium diesels (161hp/177hp) capable of up to 70mpg and a more powerful 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 diesel (297hp) too.

And then there’s the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol of course – our pick of the bunch – and also the only option Stateside albeit with a choice of 340hp or 380hp outputs and all-wheel drive too.

Weather we get the AWD option further down the line remains to be seen – so until then we’ll just have to keep things rear-wheel driven.

So, has XF got those pesky German rivals properly pinned down this time with its sharpened claws and tasty new tech? Actually. Yes. The new business class benchmark has arrived. And it’s British.

JAGUAR XF
Price: from £32,300 to £49,950
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel, 3.0-litre V6 diesel, 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol
Power: 163hp to 380hp
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic
0-60mph: 8.2secs to 5.0secs
Top Speed: 132mph to 155mph
Economy: 70.6mpg to 34mpg
Emissions: 104g/km to 198g/km
On sale: September

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