In the realm of high-end automobiles, one name is synonymous to style, luxury and performance: Jaguar. Jaguar Cars was founded in 1922 as the Swallow Sidecar Company, originally making motorcycle sidecars before moving on the build passenger cars.
Jaguar made its name by producing iconic sports cars like the Jaguar XK120, XK140, XK150 and the Jaguar E-Type that were all successful in international motorsport competitions. The tradition of building fast and beautiful cars continue to this day with the latest crop of Jaguar cars, namely the Jaguar XK Series Coupe XKR-S and the Jaguar F-Type Coupe R.
These monsters of British engineering are super fast, with both of them sharing the same 550-horsepower, 502 lb. ft torque 5.0L V8 Supercharged DOHC engine (32-valve for XKR-S and 24-valve for the F-Type Coupe R) that can blow the doors off my Prius. Both of them are priced as big as their engines however, which makes them a lofty dream for most people.
Enter the XF
If you’re really in love with the big cat, but cant pony up $140,000 to own the top tier Jaguars, there is a model out there for you: the Jaguar XF. The XF is a beautiful car in its own right, with sleek curves, a low profile and the iconic Jaguar front fascia. This car is a looker as well as a keeper. It comes in five trims, the XF 2.0T, XF 2.0T Luxury, XF 3.0 AWD, XF 3.0 AWD Luxury and the uber top of the line XF 3.0 AWD Sport. For the sake of brevity, I’ll leave out the last three trims because of the price difference.
The base model XF’s, the XF 2.0T and the XF 2.0T Luxury share the same 2.0L L4 Turbo DOHC 16-valve engine that pumps out 240-horsepower and 251-lb. ft torque. The engine and overall performance is pretty adequate due to the turbo they slapped on the engine. If it weren’t for the turbo though, the story would’ve been really different.
Being a Jaguar, expect even the base models to be well appointed with accessories and leather trim. Alloy wheels, good safety features, heated seats and an optional navigation system await new XF owners. If you’re planning on getting one of the 2.0L XF’s though, you have to be ready to face these two cars that are way below the base XF’s price tag, but can match and even surpass the XF horses to horses, and then some.
Ford Focus ST
A personal favorite of many enthusiasts on the track and off, the Ford Focus ST is one beast of a hot hatch. Powered by a Turbocharged direct-Injection 2.0L EcoBoost Engine that produces 252-horsepower and 270 lb. ft tourque, the Focus ST also has race tuned suspension, track-proven front/rear disk brakes and precise handling, making this car one of the best high-performance cars under $30K. Don’t be surprised to see a Focus ST nipping at your heels and threatening to pass you on the freeway.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec
A true blue Korean sports car, the rear-wheel drive Genesis 3.8 R-Spec has a 3.8L 24-valve V6 DOHC GDI with D-CVVT that pumps out 348-horsepower and 295-lb. ft torque. Hell, the Genesis could even give the 3.0L versions of the XF a run for their money. Now, this car can definitely catch (and pass) the 2.0L XF on the freeway. Aside from having a bigger engine, the Genesis R-Spec is also a little bit lighter than the XF with a curb weight of around 3,515lbs. This actually is a bit of a shocker because I thought the Genesis would weigh less, being a coupe and all that.
For the most part, owning a fine piece of British engineering like the Jaguar is more of a privilege, and if you want that privilege, you have to pay top dollar for it. Practical? Not really. Makes economic sense? Not by a long shot. But if you have the money to burn, then by all means get one, but be sure to get the top of the line 3.0L AWD Sport. When it comes to luxury, either go big or go home.