2011 Jaguar XF

Friday, December 3, 2010; 9:16 AM

Bottom line: A rethinking is needed. I suggest the industry start with the reality that democracy and luxury are inherently at odds with each other. One is meant to exclude as many people as possible. The other is meant to do the exact opposite. A car that tries to do both winds up doing neither, appealing to neither the rich who can buy it nor the frugal who aren't shopping for it, thereby limiting its chances for success in the marketplace.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The Jaguar XF gets excellent marks in all three. But there is little about it that marks it as exceptional.

Head-turning quotient: It is a beautiful car inside and out. But it is surrounded by beautiful cars whose appearance is more attractive because they can be had at a much lower price.

Body style/layout: The Jaguar XF is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan parked in the basement of the Jaguar luxury family.

Engine/transmission: The 2011 Jaguar XF comes with a 5-liter, 32-valve, direct-injection gasoline V-8 engine - 385 horsepower, 380 foot-pounds of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Luggage capacity is 17.7 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 18.4 gallons of gasoline. Premium fuel is required.

Mileage: Real-world mileage was 14 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway carrying three occupants and a trunk full (estimated 375 pounds) of luggage.

Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated disc brakes front and rear; anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; front, side-mounted air bags; and rear, head-mounted air bags.

Price: The base 2011 Jaguar XF starts at $52,500. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $48,300. Price as tested is $56,425, including $3,050 in options (premium sound system, backup camera, parking proximity warning system) and an $875 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $51,768.

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