Jaguar XF shows its claws at Grange Welwyn

Grange Welwyn offers Adrian Foster a preview of the exciting new Jaguar XF luxury saloon

WHAT may turn out to be the most important Jaguar model ever, the new XF luxury saloon, goes on sale this month with the aim of taking the British marque in a new design direction and attract new customers to its showrooms.Despite the dramatic lines, unconventional thrust-forward radiator intake and sleek coup� profile, the new XF incorporates Jaguar's traditional values of performance, luxury and style alongside 21st century aesthetics and technology, including ultra-rapid Formula 1-style paddle-shift gear changing. The replacement for the S-Type, it is certainly not another 'retro-Jaguar', although something of the original XJ6 about its big radiator grille and the undulations of its bonnet still linger as tentative links to the past. What has changed, and beyond all recognition, is the car's appearance: the XF is modern to the point of being avant-garde. So sleek is its shape that front and rear screens have exactly the same angle of rake as those on the XK, leading to four-door coup� styling similar in concept, if not execution, to that of the Aston Martin DB9. And from the front wheels rearward, it all works beautifully. The four-door XF has the visual excitement of a coup� but has sufficient room inside for five adults to enjoy an interior wholly contemporary in style yet uniquely Jaguar. As well as space, the XF's interior ambience is enriched by crafted, luxurious materials, sophisticated instruments and calm interior mood lighting. Every XF model has shift-by-wire transmission control, with Jaguar's class-leading sequential shift system - its popularity already confirmed by feedback from XK sports car customers - used for the first time in a saloon. Arguably the most exciting feature of the XF's transmission control is the all-new Jaguar drive selector - an industry-first rotary shift interface that combines precise, intuitive control with space-saving packaging to enable best use of interior storage options.To say that luxury comes as standard on the XF is an understatement. Front seats are electrically adjustable, with a minimum of eight-way seat adjustment for the driver and front passenger, while the SV8 offers 16-way driver's seat and 12-way passenger's seat adjustment with 4-way power lumbar and cushion length adjustment for the driver. The new XF also introduces the option of active heated and cooled ventilated front seats, with fan-assisted whole seat heating, whole seat cooling, or just squab heating or cooling. And because the XF cleverly separates seat and cabin temperature controls, it gives the option of a warm cabin with a cool seat, or vice versa. And all of this with a new climate control system that is also the most efficient Jaguar has ever offered.Four power units are offered from launch: a 2.7-litre, 210bhp turbodiesel V6, a 3.0-litre 240bhp petrol V6, a 4.2-litre, 300bhp petrol V8 and a 4.2-litre, 420bhp supercharged V8. There are no surprises under the bonnet of either the normally aspirated or supercharged V8 XFs: the less powerful engine produces the same power as it does in the XK, which Jaguar says is enough to push it to 60mph in 6.2secs and on to an electronically limited 155mph. The engine with forced induction has 416bhp and a 0-60mph time of 5.1secs.

Grange Welwyn is holding a launch party for the new Jaguar XF on February 7. To get tickets to this exclusive event, and to arrange a test drive in the new model, email out moreGrange WelwynGreat North Road, StanboroughWelwyn Garden City AL8 7TQ01707

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