12 September 2007

Frankfurt show: Jaguar XF

Make-or-break S-Type replacement draws the crowds

Jaguar XF

Getting close enough to the Jaguar XF to have a decent look at it is proving a challenge here in Frankfurt.

Though Jag has packed its stand with a bunch of XFs (and nothing else), every one is surrounded by punters trying to catch a glimpse of the car that'll make or break Jaguar.

Our conclusion, having fought our way to the front of the crowds, is that the XF looks good. Not jaw-droppingly gorgeous, but good.

There's a definite chunk of Mondeo in the back end, and we heard the phrase 'looks a bit like a Lexus' more than once, but overall it's a pleasingly understated design.

If anything, we'd say that Jag has toned down the looks of the C-XF concept just a little too much, but it's probably a fair shot at bridging the gap between the old-school Jaguar customer base and a new generation of buyers.

The interior is spot-on, too - an obviously jump in quality from the old S-Class with a few neat touches: the air vents that rotate from flush to open when the ignition is switched, and the rotary knob on the centre console that flips the transmission between full auto and paddleshift. 

Jag tells us that the XF will be fitted with the choice of a 2.7-litre biturbo diesel, a 3.0-litre V6 and, best of all, both the naturally aspirated and supercharged versions of the XK's 4.2-litre V8.

We'll see the XF on the roads in March next year, and we've got a feeling it's a grower in the looks department.

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