Jaguar may call this the new XF but seriously, some things just don’t change. Take for example the way people stare at you when you’re in it. Step out and walk away from the car and suddenly you’re a nobody again. Except if you’re Bruce Willis. Or a certain brawny Khan. But then again, you’d be getting out of a rickshaw instead if you were him.
Stomp on the throttle, start a countdown from two, and you’re suddenly lifting off. A drone, with rising crescendo, plays its part as the accompanying soundtrack. I’ve got the 271 bhp, 3.0 litre V6 diesel (the sole oil burning engine option, petrolheads get two gasoline motors to choose from) at my beck and call. The open stretch of highway lies ahead of me and I’m not going to let it down. But then, just short of 190 kph, it’s time to reign in those horses and let sanity prevail. The Jaguar drops pace almost immediately, and all within perfect control. It’s phenomenal how composed these cars are, whether it’s around a corner, gunning through a straight, or shedding speed.
The XF is no hatchback when it comes to its dimensions. Despite its rather large frame, the Jag feels like a lithe little pussycat in fast moving traffic, with its ability to change direction at a moment’s notice. You have to use your mirrors well though, after all, there’s a lot of Jaguar tailing behind the driver’s seat.
By now, you might have guessed that the new XF, just like its predecessor, is great fun to drive. Yes, that too remains the same. ‘What has changed, then?’ you might wonder. Well, from the inside, it’s down to a few retouches to the instruments and an upgrade of the infotainment system. The steering wheel has been replaced and some of the chrome knobs and switches have been blackened. Oh, and if you look closely, you will also notice that the seats aren’t the ones that did duty in the older XF.
Step outside and the changes are easier to spot. The daytime running lights are now LEDs and the bonnet, grille and fenders feature some subtle design tweaks. Speaking of fenders, they now get one smart new triangular power vent each, which is quite novel for a car from the British marque. At the rear, the larger tail lamps will greet you and so will the trunk lid that has seen the touch of a slight design change.
You could say the 2012 Jaguar XF is old wine in an old bottle, but with a new label. This is good, because the outgoing XF was a splendid car to begin with and its soul is far from dated. Worth the Rs 52.95 lakh ex-showroom, Mumbai price tag then? You bet! Besides, the popularity, and maybe a little envy, is complimentary.