Big Jag is a cool cat in the city’s busy traffic

Catching a Jaguar is no easy task, but these luxury cars are the perfect place for a catch-up.

On a freezing cold day, Jaguar’s luxurious XF proved the perfect place to catch up with a friend. editor DAVID HOOPER took the 2012 model on a sightseeing tour of York.

IT’S always good to catch up with friends, perhaps over a cup of coffee in a trendy brasserie, maybe over lunch – or on a tour of York sitting in a Jaguar!
That was exactly what happened when a friend I haven’t seen for a while and I found ourselves sharing a Jaguar XF on a freezing cold afternoon during a driving exercise on the outskirsts of York.
We left the coffee behind, after all, it wouldn’t do to spill it in the car. The seats were as comfortable as any coffee lounge could ever be – and better still, they were heated, which on a cold day was a real boon.
As we chatted, we cruised around York, taking in the sights of the superb Minster, and the boats lining the banks of the River Ooze, we avoided the cold-looking shoppers as they headed for home as darkness fell and the temperature began to plunge.
The roads were busy, crowded and at times very narrow, but the Jaguar filtered through the traffic with ease, and its new eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox changed gear almost imperceptibly.
It provided the perfect venue for a catch-up and a good natter. The interior was almost silent as we crawled through the increasingly busy traffic, insulating us from the noise and fumes outside.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine has ample power in reserve, with 190PS its capable of getting from rest to 62mph in 8 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph, yet can return 52.3mpg on the combined cycle with a C02 emissions figure of 149g/km.
A new derivative of the engine is joining the range, aimed squarely at the company car driver. This has a lower power output of 163PS, and both engines feature an Intelligent Stop/Start system to maximise fuel economy and minimise emissions, the first time such technology has been used by Jaguar.
The XF is quite a big car, but I found it very easy to drive around streets which were largely designed to accommodate horses and carts rather than luxury saloon cars. A reversing camera also made light work of manoeuvring when we found ourselves approaching a pedestrianised area which meant we needed to execute a swift three-point turn. The full colour images from the camera are displayed on the dashboard, on a screen which can also be a TV and controls most of the car’s functions.
The XF has had a make-over for 2012 and now has a new front end, slimmer headlights, and LED lighting.
I also briefly drove the supercharged R version of the XF, but with the car’s temperature gauge showing -7, black ice on the surrounding roads quickly made itself known. After the back-end “twitched” just yards from the venue, I quickly decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and returned the 5-litre V8, 510bhp high-performance saloon with a price tag of £65,000 back to the safety of the chilly car park.
I certainly didn’t want to return my XFR with the boot hanging off, as Top Gear’s Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson did when they took part in the filming of the car chase sequence for the new Sweeney movie, so hopefully, I’ll get a chance to drive that later in the year.

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Better for business - the 163PS XF will attract new customers to the brand.