Jaguar plans to go all-electric by 2025, which means the next generation of the XF is very likely going to be all-electric, if it even gets a next generation. That’s because the XF is a perfectly nice car that, in America at least, is completely out of step with the moment.
The moment here is for big SUVs and trucks, not $62,295 luxury sedans, as this XF I drove recently would set you back. Is this a car that I will be sad to see disappear? A car whose passing I will mourn? Well, this XF does have some things going for it.
It has an inline-four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 296 horsepower, which is just about the perfect amount. It has an eight-speed automatic with satin shift paddles. It is ensconced in leather, settled upon 20-inch wheels, and comes with a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, a Meridian sound system, a heated windscreen, heated steering wheel, headlight power wash, and a rear mirror that was also a screen. New for 2021, you can get one in British racing green.
It’s a nice car, and would be a nice car at most moments in history. It’s just that nice sedans don’t sell all that well in America these days. Jaguar knows this, and has cut the price of the Jaguar XF considerably, reducing the base price from $51,100 to $43,995. Jag also eliminated several different versions of the car from the American market, going from 10 different derivatives to three, in an attempt to simplify.
That all also addresses a problem the XF has had in recent years, in that the XF’s competitors — BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, Volvo S90, Lexus ES, Audi A6 — have always looked a step ahead, for about the same money. Those cars still look slightly ahead, even though the money is now significantly different. I offer the following from Jaguar’s presentation:
The Jaguar XF’s price is something of a concession, I think, that Jaguar knows the XF is maybe a little behind, anyway. It won’t insult your intelligence asking you to pay at least $51,100. Jaguar also sold just 748 XFs in the U.S. last year, according to GoodCarBadCar.net. The 2021 Jaguar XF’s price here is almost academic.
Part of the point of this car, too, is that it is on its way out. The powertrain is not electrified with a hybrid system, and there is little reason to believe Jaguar will go that way before going all-electric. The 296-HP P300 R-Dynamic SE AWD version I drove gets 25 mpg combined. The 2021 Jaguar XF is, in this respect, a throwback of sorts, to a time when luxury sedans didn’t strive to be electrified, because the buyer of a luxury sedan is not sensitive to the price of gas. That and emissions regulations used to be more lax.
The 2021 Jaguar XF, in this way, is one of the final hurrahs, as Jaguar has nothing to lose by going all-electric. You may be wondering at this point how the car drove. The answer is that it drove like a modern luxury car, which is to say that everything was fine, Jaguar’s dependability issues notwithstanding. (Anyone worried about the long-term ownership costs of a luxury sedan, I’d argue, should probably not be in the market for a new luxury sedan.) As for power, the 2021 Jaguar XF has enough to overtake without being too much. The transmission is smooth. Inside, it is positively a luxury car.
Should you buy this car over a 5 Series, or an S90, or an E-Class, or a Lexus ES, or an Audi A6? We are getting down to personal preference here, because if you have $60,000 to spend on a luxury sedan your life is all about personal preference. The answer, in the end, is: why not, if you are into Jaguar, if you have the money. Ethical consumption is bullshit and if you’re the kind of person who believes that buying a new 25-mpg car in the year 2021 is fine then there is little chance you are thinking about ethical consumption to begin with.
In any case, I admire Jaguar for going out guns blazing, instead of offering some kind of compromised hybrid XF that even fewer people want. I mean, I admire it; I don’t exactly want it. Nor will I exactly miss it. This is it, friends, one of the last of a kind.