Aluminum gives 2016 Jaguar XF a light touch
Jaguar debuted its 2016 XF at the 2015 New York International Auto Show this week, with the premium automaker using the second generation of the four-door luxury sedan to showcase the marque's emphasis on the use of aluminum. When the car launches at the end of the year, Jaguar says all its current and future models models will feature lightweight aluminum construction.
From the outside, the 2016 Jaguar XF looks like a simple evolution of the previous generation. It's a bit sleeker and has some nice lines on the front that draw attention to the LED headlamps and balances out the power bulge, but on the whole, Jaguar has succeeded in producing an XF with a more streamlined, coupé-like profile.
According to the company, the XF, which comes in both rear and all-wheel drive, has a longer wheelbase, is more aerodynamic thanks to vents in the front bumper to channel air over the front wheels, and the roof and bonnet are designed for reduced drag. In addition, the front end is more vertical for better airflow, and there's a shorter front overhang.
But the real highlight of the 2016 Jaguar XF is underneath the styling and enamel. With the XF, Jaguar is moving toward a greater emphasis on aluminum construction, which result in weight savings of up to 265 lb (120 kg) compared to the previous model. Built using a two-stage framing process, the aluminum-intensive construction is combined with advanced high-strength steels and magnesium alloys for the front-end carrier and cross-car beam.
Jaguar says that body sides are made of one-piece aluminum pressings of high-strength 6000-series alloy and weigh under 13.2 lbs (6 kg). This makes them 28 percent stiffer than those on the predecessor and does away with the joins. Throughout the car, aluminum alloys, self-piercing rivets, and structural adhesives enhance performance, and aluminum is also used in the bonnet and wings.
For greater rigidity and stability in the passenger cabin, the rear longitudinal members and the B-pillar reinforcements are made of ultra-high strength hot-formed boron steel. Meanwhile, sound deadening is improved using a new analysis technique combined with a special heat-expanding foam.
The XF comes with a four-valve direct injection supercharged 3-liter V6 with twin-vortex supercharger available in either 340 or 380 bhp ( 253 to 283 kW) units backed up by a 8-speed ZF gearbox with gear shift and flappy paddles. The all-wheel drive version has a multi-plate wet clutch that diverts the torque to the front axle by way of a chain drive. It also uses the Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) system, which automatically adjusts the steering, throttle, transmission, and stability control systems to current road conditions.
Put all this together and the XF does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a respectable 5.3 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
Keeping with the new construction paradigm, the 2016 Jaguar XF has high-pressure die-cast aluminum double-wishbone front suspension towers for greater local stiffness, and an integral link rear suspension system. The car's lighter weight allows for lighter springs made from narrower-gauge steel, and low-friction, PTFE-lined bushes for the tubular anti-roll bar. In addition, there's electromechanical power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.
The interior of the XF is marked by the instrument panel lavished with veneers, including Gloss Figured Ebony, and textured aluminum trim. Along with extra headroom are fluted Windsor leather seats, and the rear bench has a 40:20:40 split for better cargo loading.
The XF also boasts a suite of driver assistance features, such as Electric Power-Assisted Steering, which damps the effects of road surface irregularities and features an algorithm that compensates for changes in ambient temperature. Meanwhile, a Passive Damping and Adaptive Dynamics system varies the damping force not only as a function of the velocity the damper piston is moving at, but also its frequency. This has a bypass valve for smoother city driving that doesn't require such aggressive damping. The valve is fully open at low speeds, closing to force all the fluid through the piston and increase damping force as speed increases.
In addition, there's Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), and the Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) system that uses a stereo camera to read road signs and advise the driver of the speed limits. Jaguar says that it can cross-reference with the GPS and, along with the Intelligent Speed Limiter, automatically slow or accelerate the car to match the limit.
Buyers also get to choose from two different infotainment systems. There's the standard InControl Touch based around an 8-in capacitive touchscreen, with a new Jaguar user interface that supports smartphone-like gestures. Among other functions, it features voice control, and text-to-voice for incoming SMS messages.
Jaguar also puts a great deal of stock in the XF's InControl Touch infotainment system, which uses a 8-in capacitive touchscreen and an intuitive proprietary interface similar to that of a smartphone. Among other functions, it features voice control, and text-to-voice for incoming SMS messages.
Also making its debut in the XF is the InControl Touch Pro, which is powered by a quad-core processor and boasts a 10.2-in touchscreen that allows users to set any image as their wallpaper. The system's map data is stored on a solid-state drive (SSD) to improve access times, with the position of the vehicle able to be accurately calculated even when GPS signals can't be received, thanks to dead-reckoning functionality that interprets vehicle data up to 40 times a second. The system's various modules as connected Ethernet, which Jaguar says will ensure it can be easily updated in the future.
For the connected market, the XF links to the Jaguar InControl Remote smartphone app, which can remotely start the engine, lock and unlock the doors, monitor vehicle data, receive alarms, and help locate the car when parked. It can also send an alert to emergency services in the event of a collision, and help find the car if it's stolen.
The 2016 Jaguar XF will launch in the US later this year with a price starting at US$44,000.
The video below shows the 2016 Jaguar XF demonstrating its lightness by crossing the Thames on a wire.