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Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 S/C Premium Luxury


The three great German luxury manufacturers - that is, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi - all make simply superb cars. Indeed, as I write this I'm looking out at the Mercedes E 400 Coupe press car in my driveway, and once more reflecting on its elegance and excellence.

Lexus and Infiniti field some fine luxury cars, too. Even if the last is still a little unknown on the SA market. It's only a pity that Cadillac left our shores some years ago. Just as it was offering some fine cars.

And then there's Jaguar. Its cars aren't necessarily superior to other luxury brands. Besides, at this level buyer choice is often governed by abstracts and emotive factors.

Yet everyone seems to love and admire a Jaguar - with none of that tight-lipped, hard-eyed envy often reserved for other expensive marques.

I can't really blame them. In a week with the XF 3.0 V6 S/C Premium Luxury here, the car's feel-good factor - something I've experienced with almost all Jaguars - once more astounded. Perhaps it's all that wood and leather in the cabin. Perhaps it's all its overtones of country clubs and plummy tones and Rule Britannia. But when you drive a Jag, it's a singular experience.

Now the XF - Jaguar's medium-sized executive sedan - has been around for some six years. So it's getting on a bit, and a replacement can't be far off.

Hence some mild enhancements to the range earlier this year, and the car here now includes the likes of Extended Navigation - aimed at speeding up journeys - a subtle boot spoiler, and a reverse camera.

Under the bonnet lives a silky, supercharged, three-litre V6 making 250kW and 450Nm, running through an eight-speed auto 'box. This is ample to surge the big cat from rest to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds, and on to a governed top trot of 250km/h, with fuel consumption pegged at a claimed 9.3 litres per 100km. And if you want serious pace, there's always the 405kW XFR-S.

Cabins, of course, remain something that no one does quite like the British, and the XF's is simply delightful, from the thick floor carpets that almost invite you to take your shoes off and snuggle your feet in them to polished stainless steel finishes. And then, of course, there's all that wood and leather replete with twin-needle stitching.

Sybaritic touches abound, from the 11-speaker, 380 watt sound system in this Premium Luxury spec car to pretty much electric everything. And naturally there's a full suite of safety systems, from Adaptive Cruise Control to the option of a Blind Spot Monitor, which uses radar sensors to alert drivers to overtaking cars.

But like all Jaguars, the XF transcends concerns like equipment levels and performance figures, making instead for a deeply emotive driving experience that leaves you feeling that the world is indeed a calmer, happier place - despite the fact that it's racked by everything from war to Ebola to wholesale environmental degradation.

And when passers-by see one of these cars, they don't seem to want to run their keys down the side of it. No. They seem to just want to smile and say, "Aaah...Jaguar."

Indeed, while quoting industry executives can often make an article look more like a press release than a review, Kevin Flynn, the outgoing MD of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa, put it rather nicely when he said:

"The XF continues to offer a compelling blend of style, performance and refinement, and with the most recent update it remains a middleweight which will appeal to those who insist on the finer things in life."

For the car here you'll pay R829,900, with the nine-model XF range starting at R583,200, which  includes a five-year/100,000km maintenance plan.

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