By Mike Torpey on 2021-08-07 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Jaguar XF R-Dynamic
STRIKING the perfect balance between pulse-quickening dynamics and a soothing, tranquil interior isn't as simple as it may seem.
In so many cases, one is compromised to some degree in order to accommodate the other - especially when the likes of space, comfort and connectivity are added to the equation.
I have never disguised the fact that the Jaguar XF is one of my favourites - if not THE favourite - and for the money the finest saloon on the road.
The arrival of the 2021 XF has only strengthened that belief.
When the sports saloon first hit UK roads in 2007 it brought with a sense of automotive theatre with its red pulsing start button and rising gearshift selector - a preamble to what became a command performance out on the road for the next 14 years.
Now we have an XF that's every inch a match for its premium German rivals and puts makes them look ordinary when it comes to design.
Face on, there's a wider mesh grille plus super slim all-LED headlamps with what Jaguar calls Double J daytime running lights, while the rear end includes a body-coloured upper valance and darkened light surrounds.
Go for an R-Dynamic variant like our model and the car simply screams performance, especially with the bespoke elements featured in the optional black exterior pack, which is worth every penny of the £550 tab.
Gloss is boss as the black extras give the car a look of seductive menace, all the more so if you add the 20-inch satin black wheels with their gleaming polished inserts and the similarly black XF lettering and Jaguar leaper on the rear end.
And the theme of high end quality is continued inside where the cabin is bolder, more dynamic and with greater focus on the driver.
At its heart is a centrally mounted curved glass touchscreen which controls the new Pivi Pro infotainment set-up which basically allows users to make use of something called Software-Over-The-Air technology without compromising its ability to stream music and connect apps on the move.
It's straightforward to use, always on and always connected - and while using the sat nav in some cars can seem more like algebra on this one it's plain simple.
Meanwhile, the seats now have wider cushions, there's massaging as an option and better coverage of the heating and cooling areas.
In fact the only downside is a common one - a less than ideal seating position for a centre rear passenger who also has the transmission tunnel to contend with.
Otherwise space is plentiful, especially up front, and you can fit plenty of clobber in the boot, which is powered too.
Engine choice includes the arrival of a new 2.0-litre turbo diesel as a mild hybrid and there are also the latest versions of Jaguar's four cylinder Ingenium petrol unit with a choice of 250ps or the 300ps of our model.
Our P300 R-Dynamic variant also came with four-wheel drive as standard, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and paddle shifters for manual input.
On the road the XF really comes into its own with a mix of refinement and comfort with balanced, agile handling - performing with the pace and precision you would expect and demand of a fast Jaguar.
But it also completes the task with the added benefit of a relaxed silence due to Active Road Noise Cancellation technology which monitors road surface vibrations and calculates the opposite sound wave.
Smart stuff, as is the new cabin air ionisation (a £140 option) designed to get rid of nasty niffs and activated by pressing a Purify button.
Plenty more useful high tech kit graces the XF, from a 3D surround camera to a Clear Exit Monitor - which alerts both front and rear occupants to the presence of an approaching car or cyclist when exiting the vehicle - to Adaptive Cruise Control.
Jaguar XF R-Dynamic HSE
Mechanical:300ps,1,997cc, 4-cyl petrol enginedriving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
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