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A Genetically Re-Engineered Cat

November 26, 2007

IRVINE, CA – Introduced: Jaguar XF. After more than two dozen iterations of the Concept-XF design study, the production XF is finally ready for its Tinseltown close-up, according to the New York Times.

What’s the point? The shapely coupe-like XF is intended to give Jaguar more stature in the premium midsize segment. Preproduction demand for it, Jaguar reports, is strong. The XF is the long overdue replacement for the aged S-Type sedan, which was on the market, basically unchanged, for a decade.

What they said: “With its dramatic styling, powerful flowing lines and a distinctive front, the new XF looks like no other Jaguar,” said Wayne Burgess, senior design manager of the XF. “Yet it defines the new design language the company will be adopting for all future models.”

What they didn’t say: The S-Type was one of the auto industry’s most deeply discounted vehicles in its final years, carrying large buyer incentives. The XF is aimed more up-market, and Jaguar hopes there will be less dickering with the sticker, according to the New York Times.

What makes it tick? A naturally aspirated 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 or a 420-hp supercharged version of the same engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission.

How much, how soon? In showrooms by March, and although pricing hasn’t been announced, expect it at least a couple of clicks higher than the outgoing S-Type’s base sticker of $48,335.

How’s it look? Not much like any previous Jaguar, which is a good thing for a brand heretofore stuck in “retro.” Despite photos that make the XF look Volvoesque, in person it is actually sleek and unique. Sadly, a bit of panache has been lost from the C-XF, shown at the Detroit auto show last January to a standing ovation, according to the New York Times.

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Sal Giacchi is the director of corporate support services for Loews Corp. in New York, NY.

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