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The History and Evolution of the Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF (X250) is a front engine, rear drive four-door five-passenger mid-size luxury car manufactured and marketed by UK company Jaguar Land Rover. The Jaguar XF has been at the heart of Jaguar's revival since it went on sale in March 2008, and continues to be its standard-bearer to this day. There is no doubt that it changed Jaguar’s image from a dusty old fashioned brand from the past to cutting edge catwalk model. The Jaguar XF gave the company a car to be truly proud of, however, it has taken a long time for Jaguar to truly exploit this new image.

Just as the XF was being launched, Jaguar Motors were bought from Ford by Tata Motors of India. The deal was financed by a $3 billion loan from Citigroup and JP Morgan. Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to Tata Motors of India in March 2008, and the sale was expected to be complete a few months later. At the same time as Tata were taking over the brand, the XF was awarded Car of the Year and Executive Car of the Year by WhatCar?. It was also awarded Car of the Year by What Diesel?

These days, Jaguar is regarded as one of the coolest cars in history, though it has had its ups and downs along the way. The company was born in 1922 when Billy Lyons formed a partnership with his neighbor William Walmsley in Blackpool, England. In those days, the company was known as The Swallow Sidecar Company. They stopped producing sidecars and began building sports cars, launching the first Jaguar in 1932.

Initially, the Jaguar was criticized heavily for being too concerned with glamour and image, rather than good sensible reliability and performance. Jaguar changed direction, moving away from sports cars in the 1950s, and shifting their emphasis to large sedans. The new cars, despite having the Fantastic engines under the hood, were not very successful; but somehow, the Mk II, became the second bestselling car of the time for Jaguar. In the meantime, the XK sportscar was making its mark on racetracks around the world. The years 1951 and 1953, held famous racing victories for Jaguar and in 1955, 1956 and 1957 the D-type – claimed racetrack victories as well.

Jaguar built a strong reputation by the 1960s. With the official reveal of the E-type at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1961, the car was a record breaker and Jaguar continued to be admired for its performance and beautifully bodywork. Jaguar’s historic model sported an overhead cam engine, four wheel disc brakes and independent rear suspension which was not like any other vehicle of the time. In 1975, after more than 70,000 E-type Jaguars, production stopped and they were replaced by the XJS, which was largely unsuccessful.

In 1972, Sir William Lyons retired and the company fell short in rising to the standards set by its founder, eventually rescue for the company heading for bankruptcy came from the Leyland Company. Jaguar bought its way out of debt to Leyland, but after losing its former appeal and battle for an impressive comeback, in 1989, Jaguar sold to Ford Motor Company. The company developed the S type amongst its range. This was an executive car that was marketed by Jaguar for model years 1999-2008, it was a rival to the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C Class, though it wasn’t seen as a contender in either the style or performance stakes of these two.

The Jaguar XF was developed as a replacement for the S-Type, and made its debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, following the C-XF concept car at the North American International Auto Show in 2007. The XF marked a significant change in the direction in styling for Jaguar, whilst still retaining an element of the Jaguar distinction of the past. Jaguar explain that Ian Callum and his team successfully incorporate subtle references to Jaguar’s first ever sports saloon, the Jaguar Mk II, without compromising XF’s modernity.

The distinctive styling of the XF incorporate an oval mesh grille reminiscent of the original Jaguar XJ of 1968. The boot lid retained the S-Type's classic "leaper" hood ornament. When the XF was launched, it was available in a variety of trims: 'SE', 'Luxury', 'Premium Luxury', 'Portfolio', 'SV8' and 'R'. The interior included air conditioning vents, flush-fitted in the dash and a rotating gearshift dial. Another departure from the traditional Jaguar cabin ambiance is the use of pale-blue backlighting to the instruments, switchgear, and around major control panels. Some minor systems, such as the interior lighting, are controlled by touching the light covers. The glove compartment also opens to the touch. All XF models feature leather upholstery. Wood veneers are available along with aluminium, carbon fibre and piano black lacquer trims.

XF Supercharged (2009–2015)

In 2008, the 4.2-litre supercharged engined was replaced by the new 5.0-litre supercharged engine which was rated at 464 hp, and came with Adaptive Dynamics and Active Differential Control. The Truth about Cars reviewed the supercharged XF and compared the steering wheel to GM parts. Whilst British cars can have a tendency to be a little unreliable, this doesn’t seem to be the case with the Jaguar XF supercharged. They do highlight problems with the electrics, but stress these are minor. They also highlight the wonderful styling and power.

XFR (2009–2015)

The XFR was announced at Detroit's North American International Auto Show in January 2009 as a new performance derivative of the XF range. It featured the new 5.0-litre supercharged AJ-V8 Third Generation engine which was rated at 503 hp, it also had a revised front bumper and spoiler and 20-inch alloy wheels. In 2009, Jaguar secured the contract to produce a special version of the XF for the UK police force. The Jaguar XF police patrol cars were fitted with a roof-mounted light bar which included 3600 blue flashing lights, whilst even more lights were integrated into the standard front and rear lighting systems. This was the ultimate car for British traffic cops. A Home Office-specification electronics pack ensures that the additional lighting and communications equipment are fully powered. Beyond that and the addition of a police livery, the cars are standard. The first batch of seven Jaguar XF S diesels are now patrolling motorways across Staffordshire, Mercia and the West Midlands.

Facelift XF

In April 2011, Jaguar revealed the details of a facelift for the XF at the New York International Auto Show, with manufacturing beginning in July 2011 The facelift includes front and rear styling changes which are based on the original Jaguar C-XF concept car, internal trim enhancements, adaptive cruise control, and a new four-cylinder 187 bhp (139 kW; 190 PS) 450 N⋅m (332 lb⋅ft) 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is combined with a new eight-speed automatic transmission and stop-start technology to emit 149 g/km CO2 and fuel consumption of 52.3 mpg‑imp (5.40 L/100 km; 43.5 mpg‑US).

XF Sportbrake (2012–2015)

The Sportbrake was revealed in March 2012. It was available with all of the saloon's engines, with a maximum loading capacity of 19 cubic feet. The maximum capacity surpasses that of rivals BMW 5 Series Touring,[18] Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon,[19] and the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.[20]l The extended roofline increased rear headroom and the rear bench includes a 60:40 split and a clever remote-controlled 'one-touch' folding function.


An R-S version of the XF was confirmed in 2012 following an image released shortly before the Los Angeles Auto Show. It used the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine as the Jaguar XKR-S. The engine produces 542 bhp at 6500 rpm. The XFR-S can do 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and has an amazing top speed of 186 mph. The XFR-S features bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, wider front grills and carbon fibre. The front grills and large rear wing add to the aerodynamic efficiency of the XFR-S.


The car body was developed using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Every area of the bodywork including the outer paintwork, the lightweight under-tray and the cooling airflow was optimised using this process. The design of the high, square tail is much more aerodynamic than a lower, rounded one. The XF's coupé-like roofline also improves the airflow over the rear of the car.


The basic substructure of the XF is based on the S-Type. However, the body has been stretched to meet more stringent, modern, crash safety requirements. The roof has been heightened, to provide additional headroom but still managing to retain the feel of a "saloon within a coupé". The suspension and mountings of the XF are the same as that used on the XK, AND the engine line-up is broadly similar to that used in the S-Type.

In 2013 Jaguar XF underwent a transformation

Visible changes to the Jaguar XF included a new grille, an updated hood, front wings with new triangular side vents, the addition of HID headlights, new LED stoplights, and an updated trunk lid. The interior comes with an upgraded instrument panel, a more powerful sound system, and different seats. Arguably the most significant enhancement to the 2013 facelift Jaguar XF is the introduction of the 2.2-litre AJ-i4D turbodiesel engine which is perfectly matched by a new 8-speed automatic transmission and intelligent Stop/Start system. Auto Evolution maintains that it’s hard not to fall in love with the new style Jaguar XF. They point out that the midsize sedan's second incarnation retains the previous classy coupe-shaped body while adding more technology, better performance, additional luxury features, and efficiency. Car Wow points out that while the new style XF looks very similar to the older model, the body is based on Jaguar’s entirely new aluminium-intensive architecture.

January 2016 - Present

January 2016 saw the XF adding an all wheel drive option. This all-wheel drive system was developed in-house by Jaguar and matches that of the F-Type AWD. The XF AWD ensures that torque delivered to the front axle when loss of grip is detected. All XF AWD models get Land Rover's Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) technology as standard, allowing the driver to optimise the throttle, automatic transmission and traction control to cope with everything from light rain to heavy snow. The AWD system is available with just one four-cylinder engine - 180PS Ingenium diesel - linked to an eight-speed automatic 'box. Claimed economy will be a respectable 57.7mpg and 129g/km of CO2. AWD diesels will also achieve 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds.

During 2016, Jaguar Land Rover took the brave step of reducing its dependence on engines from Ford, who had previously owned Jaguar Land Rover. They decided to launch their own four-cylinder gasoline unit. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine was part of the Ingenium family of all-aluminum powerplants and was built in the UK and China. The engine replaced the previous Ford 2.0-liter turbo engine which was built in Valencia, Spain, which Up until 2016 were used in many of Jaguar models.

June 2017 saw the launch of the new 300PS 2.0-litre petrol added to the range. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine produces 300PS and 400Nm of torque, giving the XF a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds with official fuel economy of 40mpg. In January 2019 Jaguar announced a Black across all Jaguar models including the XF. The Black Edition cars come with on trend black alloy wheels, Black Pack, Privacy Glass and metallic paint – in a choice of colours.

When the XF launched originally, Jaguar had developed a reputation as being rather old-fashioned. That's long gone now with the XF standing out against the bland BMWs and Audis. One thing that hasn't changed in the last decade is the XF's size. If anything, it's got bigger - and it feels it, commanding the road. This truly is, one solid, and impressive, automobile. Once you're driving along the open road I’ll this beauty, you are aware of the effortless comfort. It’s a joy to clock up the miles on the freeway in this machine! Fundamentally, that's what the XF is used for by its owners - a long distance cruiser with a generous boot for gear and comfortable back seats.

The Sun Newspaper is proud of the British cars success over the past ten years, pointing out that Jaguar should be proud of its achievement and suggesting that you could do a lot worse than choosing an XF luxury saloon.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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