Our cars: Jaguar XF Sportbrake - September

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Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2D 200 Sport

Week ending September 27
Mileage 10,225 
Driven this week 75

Picture the scene. I’m on my way to pick up a take-away on a quiet Sunday night in central Esher, my mind casting between Rogan Josh and Dhupiaza. I have to turn out of a side road onto a main road that has traffic approaching from a blind bend just ten metres or so to my right.

The Jag is rolling slowly, but the coast seems clear so I ask for power. At more or less the same moment, a car approaches, quickly, from round the blind bend. Booting the accelerator produces a momentary hesitation in the drivetrain, and the Jag seems to take forever to get over to the other side of the road. Instead of haste I nearly get hit, with a toot from the horn of the other driver alerting me to his displeasure, and a curse under my breath alerting me to mine.

I’ve mentioned this slight pause in the gearbox’s performance before – it’s surprising how often it rears its ugly head, and when it does it can be mildly annoying, or potentially very messy. It’s a pity, as the eight-speed ‘box is generally a wonder. It shifts smoothly and effortlessly, but often I’m tempted to use the flappy paddles to control the gear I’m in, particularly at low speeds and on small roundabouts, where you might need first gear promptly.

After such a close call I settle for a Korma. Life with the XF seems to have enough spice already.

By Mark Pearson – Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

 

Week ending September 20
Mileage 10,150 
Driven this week 50

Climb into a car after my What Car? colleagues have been driving it, and you’ll find yourself sitting on the floor.

It seems these young blades prefer the driving seat as low as it’ll go, and the steering wheel as high as it’ll go, presumably in emulation of the BTCC drivers they would obviously like to be. What makes this even odder is that a large number of them don’t come up very far from the ground, so it must be a highly uncomfortable position to adopt.

On its lowest setting, the Jag’s driver’s seat has developed a squeak. Raise it a notch (easily done, electrically) and it disappears. My colleagues have all noticed it, but it hadn’t bothered me.

I’ve been more disturbed by a light thumping noise that seems to be coming from the rear when bringing this softly sprung Jag to a halt. I’ve checked the boot and the cabin for loose objects, but can’t find anything that would explain it. We ran an XF saloon last year, and that produced a similar noise caused, apparently, by fuel sloshing around in the tank. We were told it was a known issue with XFs, and that there was nothing that could be done. Whether or not this is the same issue, we shall investigate. 

Added to that there’s an occasional hiss too, as if either that air sprung rear suspension, or the rear tailgate struts, were bracing themselves up for hard work. We’re still a long way from the car’s first service, and I don’t want to take it in to the dealers at this stage, so for the short term we’ll just have to put up with the Jag’s melodic interruptions…

By Mark Pearson – Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

 

Week ending September 13
Mileage 10,100
Driven this week 600

It’s been quite a while since I’ve driven the Jag - three months, in fact.

The week didn’t get off to the best of starts; the driver’s seat squeak that I first noticed back in June was still there, making like a mouse every few seconds. If that wasn’t bad enough it had been joined by knocking noises from somewhere behind the driver.

I mentioned both annoyances to custodian Mark Pearson. He hadn’t encountered the driver’s seat squeak earlier in the year, but had heard it more recently. He said it seemed to appear when the seat was in its lowest position. One tweak of the electric seat height adjustment button later and squeak disappeared.

The knocking sound was more difficult to locate. Mark thought it might have had something to do with Tom Webster’s bike-carrying exercise (see August's reports, below), so I folded the seats again and raised them, firmly pushing them back into position.

It hasn’t entirely got rid the knocking, but it’s definitely less obvious, so it must have been rear seat-related.

I’m glad the Jag’s interior is near-silent again - at less than a year old and with barely 10,000 miles on the clock, it’s far too soon for it to be showing signs of wear and tear.

By Rob Keenan - Rob.Keenan@whatcar.com

Week ending September 6
Mileage 9500
Driven this week 210

Jaguar XF Sportbrake review

It’s been a good year for Jaguar. Sales are up, the F type has received almost universal acclaim, and they’ve come top in our JD Power customer satisfaction survey.

The XF saloon was the top performing executive car, achieving third place overall. We haven’t visited a dealer yet with our Sportbrake, but past experiences have told us the local Jaguar dealers are both smart and efficient.

All this must be good news for those who have recently bought an XF, justifying their purchase in the face of the obvious competition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Certainly our Sport model, at £37,445 (£40,180 including extras), finds itself up against some pretty tempting opposition.

I was dubious at first if the Jag could cut it, but it’s clear now the British car can hold its own. The slightly shallower boot is rarely a problem, unless you regularly transport massive items of furniture, and is worth putting up with for the Jag’s arresting looks.

I still worry about the refinement of the 2.2-litre diesel engine, however, which is at heart an old unit, and not an especially outstanding one. Around town one is overly conscious it’s a diesel, and only at motorway speeds does it eventually blend in to the general hubbub.

One or two more discerning passengers have commented on the lack of engine refinement, finding it un-Jaguar like. I’ve become used to the engine’s particular (particulate?) noise, but is this the compromise necessary to achieve nearly 40mpg from a heavyweight luxury estate, or does it just prove you still can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

By Mark Pearson - Mark.Pearson@whatcar.com

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