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Eric's Autos / Automotive

Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2013 Jaguar XF

Jaguar is going BMW. And both are going four - under duress from Uncle. BMW has already brought out a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the standard powerplant in both the 3 Series and the 5 Series - which formerly came standard with sixes.

Jaguar will do the same next year in the 2013 XF - which up to now has come standard with a V-8. There will be - reportedly, these stats are preliminary - a new turbocharged four cylinder engine in the 238 hp range as standard equipment, with a 336 hp supercharged V-6 as the step-up option.

If these preliminary stats are accurate, the '13 XF's engines will produce much less hp than - and deliver performance inferior to - the current car's standard 385 hp 5.0 liter V-8. The four-cylinder XF, with 147 fewer hp, will for-sure be much less quick than the current car - with an estimated 0-60 capability of 7.5 seconds (vs. 5.6 for the V-8). Camry turf. The soon-to-be-here supercharged V-6 may match the current base XFs 0-60 performance - maybe - but will almost certainly fall short of what the current supercharged V-8 XF can deliver.

It will be the first downgrade in performance Jaguar has brought forth in years. So, why? Both Jag and BMW are doing it for reasons of fuel-efficiency.

Not because their customers demand it. But because Uncle does. The government's not-far-off 35.5 average MPG edict is within sight. Just three short years away. Big sixes - and bigger V-8s - are never going to make the cut. So, they're being rapidly retired - even in high-end cars like the XF, whose buyers can surely afford not to worry too much about gas mileage.

Unfortunately, Jaguar the company can't afford not to worry about Uncle's edicts - and penalties. So 2012 is a turning point for Jag - and the XF. It will be the last year that V-8 power is standard equipment in the company's mid-sized lux-sport sedan.

Next year, the 5 liter V-8 may not be offered at all. Or if it is, it may be available only in low-volume, high-cost versions such as the XFR - which starts at $82k.

The question is: Should you snap up a V-8 powered 2012 before they're gone - or wait for the more fuel-efficient 2013 update?

WHAT IT IS

The XF is Jag's mid-sized luxury-sport sedan. To date, it has put distance between itself and rivals such as the BMW 5 and Benz E by giving owners a powerful (and prestigious) V-8 as standard equipment - vs. the fours and inline (and V) sixes that came standard in the competition.

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