As Toyota's luxury offshoot Lexus in 2006, a sports sedan aimed at the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG called IS F, the experts reacted rather cautiously. Lexus and Sport - somehow they didn't really seem to go together. Until now, the Japanese had primarily devoted themselves to the development of highly comfortable premium-class automobiles equipped with every comfort.
X F 4.2 with 416 hp
Already the first exit in Paul Ricard At the end of last year, however, the testers learned otherwise: the new V8 flagship, which draws power from a five-liter direct-injection petrol engine, actually looked as dynamic as the one from the boss, which the Japanese are used to and despite the only marginally more burly visual appearance. Engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi warned. With the second candidate in the present double test - a veritable comparison is beyond question due to the considerable size /weight difference - the situation is different: Despite its radically different exterior compared to the only moderately successful predecessor S-Type, the XF 4.2 remained Super V8 true to the tried and tested Jaguar virtues at the core of its soul. With a length of almost five meters, a coupé-like, tightly cut roof and a number of new gimmicks in the luxurious and high-quality interior, it pays homage to the well-known brand values. Sportiness, yes, but never at the expense of comfort. However, anyone who thinks that Jaguar simply left it to design a pretty outer shell for the tried and tested when switching from S-Type to XF is wrong. Sure - under the bonnet, the well-known, supercharged 4.2-liter V8 still does the job.
In the current specification, however, it attacks the rear drive wheels with the power of 416 horses. So far, only 395 horsepower were available to the top engine of the upper middle class series. The 416 hp variant was previously reserved exclusively for the XKR. Little has changed in terms of the acceleration capacity of the five-seater, which weighs more than 1.9 tonnes: the country road pace is after 5.6 seconds, and 200 km after 19.4 seconds. It reads similarly with the predecessor. The pilot's workplace, on the other hand, is completely new and extremely attractive. What if you press the start button from the plane decorated with brushed aluminum and fine woodWhen the center console appears, it is by no means an iDrive-style rotary knob operating the multifunctional unit, but rather the control center of the transmission. The six gears of the flawlessly operating ZF automatic could never be selected more perfectly. However, it is doubtful whether it would have been necessary to countersink the ventilation slots every time the motor was cut. The Jaguar engineers probably just wanted to show what is technically feasible these days. The search for the opening mechanism of the lavishly dimensioned glove compartment is also difficult at first.
IS top model with double-flow intake system
Now you are already used to a lot from BMW, Audi & Co. in this regard: The times when a The push-button that was used to unlock it was long gone elsewhere as well. The discreet golden soft-touch ring on the wooden inlay that adorns the instrument panel has so far been exclusive to Jaguar. Most of the time, the mechanism also worked on the test car. The seating is comfortable and adequately contoured at the front and back, and the space is naturally generous. Automatic air conditioning, audio and navigation systems are operated with the help of a touchscreen. The control buttons that are essential for everyday use, for example the switches for temperature control and the rotary controls for the fan, can be found in the center console as usual. Gentle touches of the central multifunctional screen are also an issue in the Lexus IS F, although finding your way around the Japanese's system takes a little more time. Otherwise, the Lexus, which is marked by countless sporty insignia, makes an overall high-quality impression. However, if you want to feel comfortable on board the IS F, you should have a preference for large plastic landscapes.
The excellently contoured sports seats, on the other hand, are considered excellent, but are quite high compared to the size of the door - which allows tall people to scrape by the edge of the roof when getting out. Around 30 centimeters less external length means that the space is somewhat more compact, albeit still good, in the rear with only two seats. The eight gears of the newly developed automatic transmission, which bridges the torque converter in manual mode from second gear and therefore acts at lightning speed, are sorted either via the classic shift gate or with the help of the shift paddles on the steering wheel. In the latter case, the occupants are rewarded with extremely quick gear changes that are accompanied by barking double-declutching thrusts when downshifting. Then the shift unit, which acts very smoothly in automatic mode, gives up any restraint and shoots the gear steps in full load operation within a tenth of a second. That fits the surprisingly sporty character of the Japanese, thethe fun of visiting the racetrack was explicitly written in the specifications. Whether the pitch of the engine or the chassis tuning - the IS F does not hold any of the restraint typical of Lexus so far. Thanks to a double-flow intake system with two separate channels, the IS top model, the addition of which refers to the Fuji Speedway at the foot of the mountain of the same name, likes to be the king of animals. The five-liter vacuum cleaner breathes in through the first channel only up to around 3,600 tours.
XF with pronounced overtaking prestige
Only beyond this speed limit does the second channel increase the lung volume, as it were, with a very compact valve train, hollow-bored camshafts and a Engine oil circuit with return pump of the blessed V8 athlete. The intervention of the second intake pipe is communicated to the driver in the form of a hoarse roar that gives rise to goosebumps and of which - if there are antennas for such a martial expression - you can hardly get enough. It is obvious that the jaguar does not want to follow such a behavior. The dignified, sovereign appearance is far more the thing of the stocky, elegant Brit than possibly half-strong seeming impulses. Sporty? Okay - but only if it doesn't hurt. And so the XF Super V8 is indeed not a slippery quiet stepper - the eight cylinders can also be heard here, the compressor hardly any more - but it is far more a status-conscious cruiser than an aggressive hunter. Nevertheless, the XF enjoys a pronounced overtaking prestige. Sustainable blinking of the blinker or even flashing is not necessary even when flying over the Autobahn. The jaguar is taken seriously.
In keeping with the inherent natural authority that ends at an electronically limited 250 km /h, the weighty Brit has both acceleration and pulling power as well as an unusually gripping and stable braking system. After the tenth full braking from country road speed, the XF decelerated with an excellent 11.2 m /s². That wasn't always the case with Jaguar. The brake system of the Lexus, provided by Brembo and equipped with six-piston calipers at the front, is more warm than cold. With 10.8 m /s² after the tenth stop maneuver from 100 km /h, however, it does not come close to the deceleration performance of the Jag. However, the Japanese deserves great praise for its extremely precise and direct acting, electrically progressive steering. In combination with the very sporty suspension setup, which uses a telemetry system derived from touring car racing, the obedience of the IS F couldn't be better. Chassis springs with a high spring rate and large shock absorbers reduce the rolling motion in curves and the pitching moment when braking to a minimum. Generously dimensioned stabilizers minimize the tendency to roll in the front section and, together with those specially developed for the IS F, ensureHub bearings for a high degree of driving stability in curves. If it weren't for the missing lock on the rear drive axle, which is attacked by up to 505 Newton meters of torque - the impressively neutral Lexus IS F would have what it takes to be a high-flyer in Hockenheim.
Jaguar XF for 91,960 euros
This is how the Michelin Pilot Sport 2-wheeled four-door car with a lap time of 1.15.8 minutes succeeds from standstill a respectable success just below the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG level (both 1.15.2 minutes, see sport auto 4/2008). Absolutely impressive, which should be mentioned explicitly at this point, is the lap time determined with the integrated vehicle dynamics management VDIM in sport mode. It was hardly worse at 1.16.15 minutes due to the sensitive operation of the system. It is obvious that the Jaguar XF 4.2 Super V8, which has to move 4.6 kilograms with each of its horsepower instead of 4.1 kilograms like the Lexus, cannot keep up. In view of its comfort-oriented overall set-up and the control that is a bit too smooth and requires quite a large steering angle, the 1.18.0 minutes conjured up by the XF on the Hockenheimer asphalt are also worthy of all honors. The dignified luxury limousine from British countries would not have been expected to have so much temperament straight away - chapeau.
In terms of character, the almost five-meter ship on the small course in Hockenheim does not differ significantly from its Japanese competitor. Pronounced neutrality here too. However, those who rely on electronic support with the Jaguar have to accept greater time losses than with the Lexus, even in the dynamic mode of the ESP activated by pressing a button with a checkered flag symbol. Less than 1.19.4 minutes were not possible in this case. In the pylon lane set at a distance of 18 meters, the larger mass can no longer be discussed away anyway. Where the Lexus IS F scurries around the red and white obstacles at a remarkable 68.1 km /h average speed like a cat and free of any body movements, the XF swings its 1.9 tons through it with good-natured understeering. A mean 65.1 km /h is also possible in the Jaguar with the ESP switched off, provided the driver has mastered the evenly gentle pace. In terms of financial resources, XF Super V8 buyers in the higher car class must be appropriately a good deal more liquid than Lexus IS F fans. The almost completely equipped test cars in both cases cost 91,960 euros (XF Super V8) and 73,820 euros (IS F), respectively. Some of the features of the Jaguar that are subject to a surcharge, such as the collision warning system flashing yellow in the left exterior mirror for the blind spot or the exquisitely sounding hi-fi system from Bowers & Wilkins, are consequently not even available on the Lexus. The top model of the IS series feels and is clearly committed to sport. Unlike the Britishwho, in spite of all the modernization work, remained true to their line with the creation of the XF, the Japanese have broken new ground with the IS F in a highly successful manner.