Skip to main content

A review of the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged: 470 ponies and a sleek, midsized cat

The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged very well may be the perfect embodiment of the British luxury brand as it isn’t the biggest, it isn’t the fastest and it isn’t the most powerful among the lineup but much like the four legged Jaguar in the animal world – the XF Supercharged is sleek, smooth and powerful enough to be taken seriously be its prey.


The Jaguar XF was introduced for the 2009 model year with a design that was a great deal sportier and more aggressive in terms of exterior design than the X-Type that it replaced and for the 2012 model year, this midsized cat got a refresh that added even sleeker styling across the front end. Combine that with the high end interior appointments and high tech gadgetry – not to mention the high performance Supercharged V8 engine and you have yourself one incredible luxury sport sedan.

The Exterior
Along the sides and back, the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged looks a great deal like the previous model but across the front end, the 2012 model sports a new headlight design, a new hood and a revised front fascia – all of which help to make the 2012 XF much more aggressive looking than the 2011 models. Along the bottom of the front fascia, the XF features a more finely sculpted design with a lower lip that extends out away from the fenders along the corners while large chrome splitters extend out across the outer fascia openings. The front end still features the larger grille opening with a chrome mesh filling but the shape changes slightly with the 2012 model. The revised hood features a set of functional vents with “Supercharged” stamped into them and on a cold night, the heat rising out of these vents looks incredibly cool on a moonlit night. The new headlights are much slimmer for the 2012 XF Supercharged than the previous design with HID projection beams being accompanied by a set of LED strips that wrap around the bottom and outer edges of the lens. Truth be told, this new headlight design provides plenty of light but more importantly, it looks awesome whether the lights are on or off. When you look directly at the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged from the front, the sinister scowl created by the new front end design calls to mind the look of a cat out in the wild…slinking quietly through the brush with narrow eyes as it focuses on its prey.

Along the sides, the only change to the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged are the larger front fender vents but with subtle wheel openings, mild body lines and an overall stance that gives the car a very “hunkered down” appearance – the XF looks fast even when it is parked. The low, flat angle of the windshield combined with the shortish roofline and the long, gentle rear glass gives the car a super slippery silhouette while the 20” split spoke wheels look sporty but classy at the same time. The top line gives the 2012 XF a long, low feel that makes it look a tad bigger than other competitors in the midsized class but the long wheel base, low roofline and the fact that the wheels are set out towards the corners gives this midsized luxury sedan an attractive profile.

Out back, the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged sports the same angular LED tail lights as the rest of the model lineup with a thick chrome trim piece running from side to side under the leaping cat chrome Jaguar emblem. While the body lines of the XF give it a very flat appearance, there is a slight flare in the trunklid that gives this sporty sedan a bit of a prowling stance that is bolstered a great deal by the super fast rear glass. Finally, the most interesting part of the tail of this sleek cat is the quad exhaust tips clustered in pairs, extending out through the rear fascia on either side of an integrated diffuser that is painted a contrasting black.

The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged does not have an exterior design that screams ‘high performance’ like the top of the line XFR but the simple lines and aggressive basic design gives this luxury sedan the look of a proper high performance sleeper.

The Interior
As soon as you climb into the interior of the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged, it is clearly evident that you are in a premier luxury sedan. The car smells like plush leather – not like some spray that comes in a bottle branded as “leather scent” – but real actual fresh leather. It is very pleasant and the comfort provided by the new leather seats is just as impressive. Like a proper luxury sedan, the 2012 XF offers an array of front power seat adjustments along with the option to either toast or chill your buns for front riders but rear passengers don’t get the same luxury. The plush leather extends to the door panels and center console armrest, providing every bit of luxury that you would expect. Finally, the light and dark brown interior tones combined with the wooden surfaces and bright silver trim accentuate the luxury sport nature of the new XF.

Upon first entry, the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged appears to have a very clean, almost bare interior. The thick center console has high gloss wood paneling wrapping around the shifter and drive mode area but with the push of a chrome button, two of those panels pop open to reveal a set of large cup holders and a storage cubby. The shift area features a bunch of buttons and the normal PRNDS shift indicators but there is no shifter at first glance. However, when you push the glowing red Start/Stop button mounted in front of the gear indicators, a large silver knob rises out of the center console to handle the shifting duties. At the same time, when the car is started the four large vents in the solid silver dash rotate open while the large central infotainment screen comes to life along with the gauge cluster. Between the infotainment screen and the shift area down on the center console, there is a variety of traditional knobs and buttons that control the sound system and the HVAC system as well as the defrosters and the climate controlled front seats. There is also a full complement of buttons on the leather wrapped steering wheel to control the sound system while driving. The gauge cluster offers two large gauges (speedometer, tachometer) while a small central screen offers a spread of information including the gear selected, the drive mode, a digital clock and the vehicle speed. By the way, the sound system that works with the large touch screen booms – with AM/FM, Satellite and USB connection to allow for the optimal music choice to fit the driving situation.

In terms of space, the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged provides plenty of room for the driver and front passenger in every major dimensions and even with the thick center console, there is tons of leg and knee room for those seated in the front. As mentioned earlier, the door panels and center arm rest both feature lots of padded comfort and when there are only two people seated out back, the center seating position back rest folds down into an arm rest as well. Those rear riders get a comfortable amount of elbow room and headroom (even with the sloping roof line) but with a very tall driver or front passenger, taller rear riders might be a little tight of knee room. With the front seats adjusted so that two 6 foot tall people are seated comfortably, there is enough room in the back spots for another pair of 6 foot tall individuals. The trunk is massive with plenty of room for two full sized hockey bags and I suspect that four golf bags would fit when loaded skillfully.

The Jaguar brand is known for its luxury and this is a point well stated by the 2012 XF Supercharged. This midsized sedan packs tons of space for both people and cargo with a leather clad interior that is as comfortable as it is handsome. Add to those aspects the heated/cooled front power seats sporting a new, deeper design and you have a luxurious interior that provides a great deal of creature comforts whether cruising on the highway or rocketing along a twisty country road.

The Drive

The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged has an exciting name with an exciting engine to back up that name. Packed under the hood is a 5.0L V8 engine topped by a roots style supercharged that churns out a whopping 470 horsepower and 424lb-ft of torque that is channeled to the rear wheels via a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. This transmission offers both a normal Drive mode that optimizes the shift style for the driving at that moment, working to combine comfort and sportiness but when you opt for the Sport shift mode – the XF Supercharged shifts much more positively. Best of all, if you want to handle the gear shifting on your own, the XF features a pair of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters that provide precise gear control whether you are in Drive or Sport shift modes. The supercharged V8 and 6-speed automatic transmission help this 4,300lb+ sport sedan to rip from 0-60 in under 5 seconds en route to a top speed of 155 miles per hour; a speed which it can reach while still feeling remarkably smooth and confident on the road as opposed to some high powered luxury sedans that become less enticing to drive at very high speeds. The Supercharged V8 allows this car to accelerate hard enough to sit everyone in the car back against their seats in a hurry while also being able to hurt the feelings of many 2-door sports cars on the road today…all the while emitting the pleasant purr of a finely tuned V8 engine through the quad exhaust.

In terms of handling the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged uses the company’s adaptive dynamic suspension to allow the smooth, comfortable ride that would expect from a European luxury sedan but at the same time, this suspension can adapt to aggressive driving situations in an instant. This allows the Jaguar XF Supercharged to provide a gentle, quiet ride when cruising calmly along the highway but when you leave the highway and begin hammering the turns of a desolate country road, the suspension stiffens to provide improved handling. It really is a great system and for those who want that sporty feel all of the time, the driver can activate a dynamic driving mode that adjusts the suspension and the throttle to be stronger and more responsive.

The 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged does a fantastic job of combining a level of cruising luxury with the spirit of a sports car both in terms of handling and acceleration. This is a car that can serve as a calm, quiet and comfortable daily driver that is ideal for taking business associates out to an important lunch but at the same time, the XF Supercharged will rocket away from a stop with a quick spin of the tires as it roars well up over the 100mph mark as quickly as most of the cars that you come across on the road today. The midsized luxury sedan segment doesn’t get much attention from the high performance crowd but with the supercharged V8 and a European sport tuned suspension setup – the 2012 XF Supercharged is very possibly one of the most exciting models to drive in the class.

The Final Word
When you think of the animal kingdom’s Jaguar with four legs and soft fur, you think of a cat that is a little slower than the fastest animals and a little smaller than the biggest but it is still a sleek, stone cold killer – an attitude that is well represented by the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged. This 470hp beast packs the power and handling abilities to hang with today’s bestselling sports cars but with 4 doors, tons of room and an ultra luxurious interior, the XF Supercharged serves as an incredible midlevel, midsized luxury sport sedan. While the XFR might pack more power and a revised exterior design with more attitude, the XF Supercharged puts the soul of a sports car under the hood of this subtle, sleek luxury sedan. My test car carried a price of $69,825 and for luxury sedans under $70k, there are few that pack the same levels of performance and luxury into a car of this size quite as well as the 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged.