Designed for direct competition with other luxury sport sedans like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 2012 Jaguar XF sporting a new look that seems to be all about the car's new headlights, which are slim, bi-xenon lamps with daytime running lights (LED, of course) meant to echo the styling of the automaker's poster-child, the Jaguar XJ. These headlights are the same on both the XF and the performance-tuned XFR, but on the latter vehicle the lower bumper sports bigger mesh-filled openings.
More specific details of the bodywork on the 2012 Jaguar XF include aluminum trim on the side windows, and an artfully sculpted hood. There are vents in the front fender that lend a family resemblance to the Jaguar XK, and styling has been subtly modified at the tail of the car, as well, where there are new LED taillights.
Alloy wheels, sporting a new design, are available in sizes from 18 to 20 inches, and the car is still constructed of steel and alloy. The XFR is a bit jazzier, with four tailpipes, chrome trim ringing the lower bumper vents, and cooling vents in the hood.
Inside the 2012 Jaguar XF there's a blend of traditional Jaguar style with a bit of contemporary flair, like the rotary knob in the center console which replaces a traditional gearshift. It ascends from the console upon the car's ignition, at the same time that any closed a/c vents open themselves. As well, the XF sports proximity sensors instead of knobs or switches for the glove box and reading lights - these things literally respond to a wave of your hand.
The seats in this year's XF have improved support built in, and black buttons dominate the cabin, a welcome, easier-to-read change from the previous silver controls. Music lovers can choose one of three stereo systems, including a Bowers & Wilkins option that incorporates 17 speakers. For optimum connectivity, the XF also has two USB ports and the ability to stream audio over Bluetooth.
Other features of the 2012 Jaguar XF include heated seats and a sunroof, as well as real wood trim - all standard - while the XFR gives motorists a choice of soft-grain leather upholstery in either charcoal or ivory, dark oak, and a darker, mesh-patterned aluminum trim.
Let's face it, no one really buys a Jaguar for the comfort features: it's all about the engine, and the 2012 Jaguar XF does not disappoint. The base engine is a 385 hp, 5.0-liter V-8, but there's an optional supercharged 470-hp 5.0-liter V-8 available as well, while those who choose the XFR may also select a 510-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. (As of this writing, Jaguar has not published the torque specs for these powertrains.) All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with paddle-shifters mounted on the steering wheel, and rear-wheel drive. The XFR models have faster steering and larger, more powerful brakes.
In an era where backup cameras and lane-change sensors are becoming the norm, the safety features of the 2012 Jaguar XF seem a little sparse. Included are dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats, and side-curtain airbags further back. Active front head restraints and an electronic stability system are standard, while adaptive cruise control is available as an option.Pricing for the 2012 Jaguar XF ranges from $53,000-$82,000 depending on options, and fuel economy is 15-16 mpg in the city and 21-23 mpg on the highway.