2021 Jaguar XF drops six-cylinder power, kills off Sportbrake, and chops price
Enhanced technology, a more detailed interior, and a menacing front end—Jaguar prefers to call it “dynamic”—should make the freshly updated Jaguar XF a more competitive and attractive mid-size luxury sedan. Whether it’s a better package overall depends on how much you prefer a six-cylinder engine and a wagon option. For now, both engine options bound for the 2021 XF are four-cylinder turbos, and the sole body style for the U.S. market will be a sedan.
Tech geeks and those looking for additional comfort are going to love the refresh. Among the interior changes is a new Pivi Pro infotainment system, which operates through Jaguar’s Electronic Vehicle Architecture. Dubbed EVA 2.0, it has a dedicated power source to enable instantaneous start-up. System connectivity is provided by the latest embedded dual-sim technology with two LTE modems that enable the system to carry out multiple functions at the same time without compromising performance. The cutting-edge connectivity also ensures minimal interruptions caused by coverage black spots as it roams across network providers for the strongest signal.
The upgraded system also automatically updates maps and features, and it links to Microsoft or Google calendars, allowing the driver to check their schedule on the move. The system operates via a center-mounted, curved 11.4-inch HD touchscreen (previous models made do with a 10-inch unit).
Additional features include laser-etched speaker frets, which enhance visuals and acoustics through the XF’s 12-speaker Meridian sound system; road-noise cancelation; and ambient lighting. Changing the Xf’s demeanor from purr to kill is as simple as twisting the dial for drive control settings. When not in use, the attitude dial stows away in the center console, tucked just right of the new gear lever, which is no longer a disappearing rotary knob but rather a stout-looking electronic shifter.
Interior color options include Ebony, Light Oyster, and Caraway. New front seats offer wider cushioning and larger heated and cooling areas for enhanced comfort.
Jaguar says it took inspiration from the F-Type while updating the XF’s exterior design. Slim LED quad headlights with edgy daytime running lights makes the car appear more intimidating and visually link the sedan to the recently refreshed F-Pace SUV. In addition, the mesh grille has diamond-shaped detailing and lower and larger air intakes than previous iterations.
An optional Black Exterior Pack offers a stealthier appearance with bespoke elements finished in Gloss Black, including the grille mesh, grille surround, lower air intake surrounds, side vents, window surround, tailgate finisher, rear valance finisher, and badging. Seven different wheel designs are available.
While the new XF boasts a plethora of interior and styling upgrades, performance has not received a similar shot in the arm. Like its predecessor, the base 2021 XF comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The previous four-pot made 247 hp in bare-bones trim and up to 296 hp; the 2021 XF offers a near identical setup. Standard is a 246-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 269 lb-ft of torque, with a 296-hp variant of the same engine also available for for P300 R-Dynamic SE AWD model.
However, though the plateau in performance might be disappointing, the 2021 XF boasts a significantly lower price than its predecessor. Jaguar’s newest midsize luxury sedan starts at $45,145 (including the 2020 model’s current $1150 destination charge) for the rear-wheel-drive, 246-hp model—more than $7000 dollars less than the outgoing 2020 model. From 2021 on, the XF will also be Jaguar’s only midsize luxury sedan; after jazzing up the XF’s tech and interior and burnishing its value proposition, JLR saw no business case for the XE in the U.S.
Jaguar’s Ingenium turbocharged and electrically supercharged I-6 is bound for the 2021 F-Pace, but Jaguar communications manager Taylor Hoel confirms that neither V-6 nor I-6 power is in the pipeline for the XF. “We’re constantly monitoring demand for powertrains within each segment, and we’ve seen higher take rates for six-cylinder within the midsize crossover SUV segment,” Hoel says. “Rest assured, the latest Ingenium turbocharged four-cylinder engines available in the XF provide smooth power delivery and effortless acceleration.”
On top of that, the XF Sportbrake is being slashed for the U.S. market. “The luxury wagon market is very niche,” Hoel says. “Sportbrake sales represented fewer than 5 percent of XF sales in the U.S. last year. [The] XF Sportbrake will continue to be sold in other markets globally.”
While you may mourn the loss of six-cylinder power and that handsome long-roof, you can at least enjoy the new XF’s improved looks and tech.