Jaguar's revised XF offers more power to go with its pomp and precision
Jaguar XF 2.0 R-Sport: Cushy creature The Jaguar XF 2.0 R-Sport has superb body control, a damping quality that is the right balance of yield and stiffness as well as a tolerable level of pitching and yawing. ST PHOTOS: CHONG JUN LIANG

If there is one thing Jaguar excels in, it is ride quality. That is the first trait you notice when you get behind the wheel of the facelifted XF, even if the mid-life tweaks made have nothing to do with the suspension.

The car goes about its business with superb body control, a damping quality that is just the right balance of yield and stiffness and quite a tolerable level of pitching and yawing even when provoked.

Its ride alone sets the XF apart from rivals of a similar size. These include the BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Audi A6.

The mid-life revisions, coming four years after the car was launched here, add to its comfort quotient.

A raised turbo boost has raised power by 10hp to 250hp and torque by 25Nm to 365Nm. The latter is available between 1,300 and 4,500rpm - versus 1,750 and 4,000rpm previously.

With the increased output and expanded torque band, the XF is more effortless. Not just from zero to 100kmh, which is now accomplished in 6.7 seconds (from 7 seconds previously), but also in almost every driving situation you encounter here. This excludes attaining top speed, which has been pared down by a mite from 248kmh to 244kmh.

Its amplified verve comes with improved refinement. Even when driven in Sport mode - usable in off-peak hours and highly entertaining - the car remains remarkably insulated against noise, vibration and harshness.

Jaguar says this has to do with its anti-knock engine mounts, tyre cavity absorbers, more damping in the footwell and floor and the use of a heavy-layer bulkhead, which separates the engine from the passenger compartment.

All these contribute to comfort. And so does the car's souped-up engine, which delivers acceleration with lower revs. A light and linear throttle is cherry on the icing, giving the car inputs which are precise, measured and predictable.

The car has gained a few kilograms since 2015 but, at 1,635kg, is still a lightweight for its size - thanks to its aluminium construction.

And you feel this at the helm too. Not just in the way it glides over less-than-smooth tarmac with poise and grace, but also how its heft makes it feel smaller than it is.

For something shy of 5m tip to tip and 2m side to side, the XF is surprisingly agile in the way it moves and in the way it reacts to movement.

This makes it a joy in the weaving, heaving city and not just smooth, empty highways, which tend to flatter cars with less able chassis.

But if you are fortunate to find yourself on a stretch of the latter, this mid-sized Jag will purr like a limousine riding on air suspension.

Despite its generous wheelbase of 2,960mm, the XF is still not the most spacious car in its class. Its wipers are also noisy.

But it is more luxurious now. It has a larger infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, illuminated treadplates and suede roof lining.

There is no change to the exterior as the XF is still a handsome contender among its peers - one which is more enjoyable to drive, more refined and more comfortable than before.