The sporty theme of the XF is apparent the minute you sit in the supportive driver’s seat.
The height of the windows and the high-set dashboard design provide a cocoon-like feel that gives the sense that you’re part of the car in a way that direct rivals don’t.
As with the exterior, there are some clear nods to the old model, such as the engine start button that pulses like a heartbeat, the air vents that spin open when you press said button, and the gear selector that rises from the centre console.
Despite all this, it still feels traditional, not because there’s plenty of leather, metal and cool mood lighting on display (there is of course), but because the dashboard isn’t dominated by a huge infotainment screen display, as in some rivals. Conventional buttons are more prevalent than in the Merc, but rather than detract from the experience they make the Jaguar’s interior easier to navigate, with controls for the ventilation, stereo and drive select systems right there where you need them. It’s a car you can jump into and use straight away.
Some of the materials just don’t feel as expensive or as plush as in the new Mercedes E-Class
That’s not to say Jaguar has turned its back on the digital world, as standard the XF comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that recognises finger gestures such as dragging and swiping. It does without the fixed control you get in most rivals, so it’s not so easy to use on the move, but it’s a million times easier to fathom than the system fitted to the Mercedes E-Class.
Spend £1,745 on the 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro system and you can also ‘pinch’ to zoom in and out on maps, plus it has clearer graphics and – courtesy of a solid-state drive and quad-core processor – operates much quicker than the basic system. It also has Dual View function which lets the driver and passenger see different infotainment screens at the same time depending on the point of view.
Another upgrade that the Pro system gets over the standard one is the Dynamic-i readout that shows you nerdy stuff such as g-forces or how much brake/throttle you use in real time. The price of this optional infotainment is high but also includes a 12.3-inch multi-function display (instead of an analogue instrument binnacle) and a stereo upgrade to a 380W Meridan system. It’s an option that’s well worth considering.