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The Jaguar XF 2.0 SE (A) has gotten a facelift, here's what's new

The Jaguar XF 2.0 SE (A) has gotten a facelift, here's what's new
PHOTO: sgCarMart

Facelift (What's New)

  • New front grille and front bumper design
  • Updated LED lights both front and rear
  • Pivi Pro infotainment system housed within a sleek 11.4-inch touchscreen
  • Reworked centre console design with a new gear selector

The XF gets a much improved cabin and retains its dynamic road-handling, but it's evident that as currently constituted, it might not be long for this world.

When the second generation Jaguar XF was launched back in 2015, it was lauded for its elegant design and excellent blend of dynamism and comfort, helped significantly by the largely aluminium body.

Now, it has been given a substantial facelift, with many of the upgrades effectively carried over from other newer generation JLR models to bring this XF into the contemporary moment.

So just tweak styling and more tech?

As you'd expect, the exterior of the XF has been refreshed. There's now a new-look front grille (the same one seen on the rest of the Jaguar range), updated LED lights, and the XF now comes with the R-Dynamic bumper as standard (even though this isn't the R-Dynamic trim).

It looks good - athletic, purposeful and muscular. It actually photographs very well (makes my job slightly easier), which is to say that it has many pleasing angles.

The updates are most obvious on the inside of the car. You get the latest Pivi Pro infotainment system, which is accessed via a vivid and sharp 11.4-inch curved-glass touchscreen. There's also a configurable 12.3-inch digital dashboard. With these, the car feels more modern and connected, and there's also an app that you can use to check the status of the car and even pre-condition the cabin prior to entering.

Other changes include a new gear lever (much neater and easier to operate than the previous rotary dial), as well as a drive mode selector.

Overall, the interior feels high quality, and it's a pleasing space to be in. It's premium, comfortable and quite luxurious. In fact, clothed in this full tan trim (leather and carpets and all) as our test car is, it has almost a whiff of Bentley about it (you get fully aluminium paddle shifters!).

Does it drive the same?

Mechanically, the XF is unchanged. That's both a good and bad thing.

The good thing is that the chassis is very sound. Body control is excellent, ride quality is good, and the steering feels nice and smooth. It's quite a nice car to drive, one that balances dynamism and comfort well. The rear-wheel drive setup also adds to that sense of dynamism and alertness, and the car feels smaller than its actual footprint.

Chuck the XF into a few corners and its abilities shine. It feels planted, alert and capable, and there's a sense of flow as you move from corner to corner that's quite delightful. Overall, the XF feels elegant to drive.

The bad thing is that the drivetrain has also been carried over from the pre-facelift model, and it's not the greatest drivetrain in the world. Though not quite as bad in some other JLR cars I've driven, the throttle lag is mildly still detectable.

When you're driving the car with a little gusto, it feels perfectly alright. Gearshifts are smooth, the engine builds rev is a nice manner, and everything feels pretty normal.

And then, you get into some traffic and the shortcomings show. This is a drivetrain that does not like being at low speeds, as the ZF gearbox appears to slip the clutch quite a lot. At crawling speeds, there is noticeable jerkiness, as if the gearbox isn't quite sure what to do. This also becomes an issue when climbing ramps, where power delivery can become a little staccato.

One thing I do like is that when you reverse into your parking lot, once you engage Park and unclip your seatbelt, the car automatically shuts itself off. You can then simply open the door and walk away, without having to hit the start/stop button. It's a nice little convenient feature.

One thing to note about the XF - due to the chip shortage, the test car doesn't come with the 360 degree camera view, though future customer cars should (hopefully) have that function available.

Are executive sedans still going to be a thing?

This is a necessary facelift for the Jaguar XF to keep it contemporary for 2022. The interior feels modern, functional and connected, while the car still scores high in the driveability department thanks to its excellent chassis. It has its flaws (the drivetrain, notably), but it's still an entirely usable and pleasingly premium executive sedan.

However, this facelift is also a sign that the XF, and perhaps more broadly the petrol-powered executive saloon segment in general, may be seeing its final days. As the automotive world goes increasingly electric and veering towards SUVs, it's perhaps no surprise that Jaguar wasn't going to invest a great amount in a car that, as currently constituted, may not have a place in that future.

On the bright side, the potential possibility of swapping out the XF's powertrain for an electric one might arguably be the best thing that could happen for this car. Whether that actually happens is another matter altogether.

This article was first published in sgCarMart.

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