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Alf McQueef

New model XF 2.0d R Sport

I had one of these as a loaner today, and did about 60 miles in it - nothing epic. This will be disjointed as its's manic at work, but -

Good points:

* Touch screen and little screen between the dials on the instrument panel are attractive and the satnav works miles better than the old one
* I like the new wrap-around dash and swooshy bits on the door, it makes the car feel more compact than it is
* Good ride/handling balance (it was on pretty small wheels) - I know a couple of people that have rejected R Sport XF's on ride, but I think they were not the new one - anyway this one felt comfortable yet not at all barge-like
* Attractive looking seats (two tone) with a nice steering wheel as well, very Alfa actually, but better quality
* Steering feels really nice, it made mine feel a bit light, ultimate feel I can't really comment on as I did not door-handle to see if the feel lightens up as understeer approaches (which I appreciate in a steering system...)
*Agreeably peppy on a part throttle for what it was, not perhaps from a standstill but keener than I anticipated - until you really go for it (see below) and decent at a motorway cruise.

Not so good:

* Its a totally different car with this engine. That's no major surprise but all the people in cars like this and 520d M Sports and the like that think they have the full deal but just "better economy and none of the performance you don't need" are deluding themselves. The whole experience, particularly the way the gearbox works, and pulling away from a standstill, are totally different. Smooth, trouble-free wafting and instant pickup from a standstill become slightly agricultural lurching, nasty noises, and ultimately the pickup from standstill and performance when you explore the second half of the throttle travel and rev range (which seem to add nothing) is just a big disappointment.
* The dash and vents and door swooshes look and feel good (though the high central vents don't angle down especially well for crotch-cooling), but the plastic stuff in the central console and around the flat screen is a bit nasty feeling and there are simply too many buttons. It took me ages of pissing about in the main flat screen and little instrument screen with the main then stalk buttons before I realised what I was trying to do - switch off ECO mode - was in a little panel near the gear selector. And some simple stuff like finding a phone contact and making a call are slower and harder in the new interface than my oldest-version.
* The cowled dials don't look that nice or work that well, with segments chopped off from view whatever I did with the seat/wheel.  
* Just like the BMW autos I have tried, the stop-start activates when you sit on the foot brake (bad karma in my book) but when you put the electronic parking brake on, or select PARK, it switches the engine on again and leaves it on. WTF?
* Generally, I'm not sure what is very "R Sport" about a model like this - the seats are not sports seats in anything like the mould of the XF's (or BMW M Sport seats), the wheels were small, it just feels like a standard model - which is fine, for a standard model...

Mine had a rather pricey regas and is now working fine... for now...

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