2013 Jaguar XF 3.0 AWD

If you’ve always wanted a Jaguar but live where the snow flies, you may have decided against the purchase.  But with the addition of all-wheel drive this year, you can have your XF and drive it, too.

Losing out to its luxury competitors in the Snow Belt because its cars didn’t offer all-wheel traction, Jaguar now gives shoppers the choice of 4-wheel grip on both the XF and XJ sedans.  But the changes don’t stop there. Equally as compelling, Jaguar also introduces a new 340 horse supercharged V6 working through an 8-speed automatic, a new Auto Stop-Start system for improved mileage, an upgraded navi and a premium audio system by Meridian.  So as the XF awaits its first complete redesign within a year or two, this car roars into 2013 with significant changes.

If you want an XF with all-wheel drive, this is your only powertrain choice, and it’s a good one.  This force-fed 3.0-liter V6 is based on the same architecture as the company’s powerhouse supercharged 5.0-liter V8 and replaces the naturally aspirated V8 in the XF line.  Unlike a turbo, supercharged engines provide instantaneous power and here it confidently launches the XF to 60mph in 6.1 seconds.  And though big V8s and Jags go hand-in-hand, this engine and its 332 pound feet of torque output is a suitable substitute with an energetic feel and enough growl to remind you and others that you’re driving a Jag.

In regards to fuel economy, this car is rated at 16mpg city/26mpg highway, only 1mpg combined lower than a comparable Subaru Legacy that makes significantly less power.  But it’s also only 1mpg combined better than an XF with the supercharged V8, so prioritize wisely.  But because you can’t get the 5.0 with all-wheel drive, the V6 is the only way to go for cat-like clench.  Referred to as instinctive all-wheel drive, this system feels unflappable in slick conditions quickly bringing the XF back on track even with standard all-season tires.  There’s also a winter mode that favors the front wheels more than normal by locking in a 30:70 torque split.  Based on rear wheel slippage or the anticipation thereof, the system can send as much as 50% of the torque to the front.  The new 8-speed auto also has a sport mode with paddle shifters and can be utilized with a dynamic driving mode for less electronic intervention during spirited driving, but the all-wheel drive system affectively scrubs out the XF’s otherwise playful rear-drive nature.  The XF still has a rewarding, balanced chassis with comfortable damping and sporty dynamics.  And the all-wheel drive gives you the added feeling of handling confidence from behind the wheel.  It’s definitely palpable.

The car’s design didn’t get much love this week, with many wincing in disbelief when they were told it was a Jaguar.  And the lower level trims of the XF, like this one, don’t seem to provide much visual allure.  My car, with a base MSRP of $53,895, is stocked with just about every option and comes standard with the much talked about rotary shifter and dashboard vent show.  Some important notes: the XF needs more control buttons as Jag has relied too heavily on the touch screen, POI information on the navi is severely lacking, and though it’s not cramped the XF skews small for a midsize and the rear seats are really only useful for 2 more.  Total price as tested is $69,045.  The 2013 XF is now a ferocious feline with a frugal side.

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