Car of the Year 2009: No. 8: Jaguar XF

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Saving Grace
The XF represents Jaguar’s road back from perdition. It may even be the brand’s salvation after Ford fumbled with the company for 18 years and left its once-?elegant stable of cars as a clutter of outdated saloons and rebadged Tauruses. Despite its homely, misshapen grille, the new sedan is a handsome, well-proportioned looker—from its abrupt, GT-style rear to its long, seemingly sniffing nose. All of the requisite technologies are in place: supercharging, adaptive suspension, and traction controls. The XF’s performance is exactly what you would expect from a car designed to be lightly luxurious, surprisingly comfortable, and positioned more for transporting families than for exorcising inner furies. And who could not love the blue mood lighting, the hockey puck–shaped device that you rotate to select gears, and the flashing red start button that recalls a beating heart? —Paul Dean

 

In Good Taste
Driving the Jaguar XF is a genuine revelation. It is like going to dinner with your in-laws for the first time and discovering that, contrary to your assumptions, they are really cool folks. Jaguar’s four-door offerings have run the gamut from elegant to forgettable over the last couple of decades—with more of the latter lately. But the company recently had a bit of Indian spice injected into its workings, following its handover from Ford to Tata Motors, and the results are tasty. The XF’s interior is both roomy and sophisticated, with acres of leather and compelling features such as concealed air vents that automatically open when you turn on the ventilation system. More impressive, however, is the effortless transfer of power to the wheels from the supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V-8. —Marco R. della Cava

SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan
Engine 4.2-liter supercharged V-8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Power 420 hp at 6,250 rpm
Torque 413 ft lbs at 4,000 rpm
Zero to 60 5.1 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Base Price $64,475
Price As Tested $66,675
Robb Report Rating 84.3
Jaguar, www.jaguarusa.com

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