Until 2007, the German manufacturers had the
executive saloon segment almost to themselves, but then Jaguar launched the beautiful XF.
It might not have always been the fastest, or most advanced car in its class, but it
had character in spades. And, yep, this all-new model hasn’t exactly
been hit with the ugly stick. In fact, with slimmer headlamps and gorgeous tail lights
inspired by the F-TYPE, along with wheels pushed further to each corner, the XF manages
to look stately and sporty all at once. Increasing the wheelbase by 51mm, while actually
making the XF slightly shorter overall, means there’s more space in here. But, you still
get that lovely ‘cocooned’ feeling, thanks to a low-slung driving position, chunky centre
console and sports steering wheel, which adjust electrically.
We’re testing the Prestige trim, and while this textured dash feels a bit dubious to
the touch, everything looks great, including the vents which still rotate to welcome you
as the engine starts. At its heart is Jaguar’s new infotainment system, which is far better
to look at and use than the old system, with more logical menus and quicker responses.
This car is also fitted with around view cameras, which can even be used on the move.
Unlike the XE, leather seats are standard in the XF along with a host of features like
cruise control, climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth and sat-nav. You can also
step up to the R-Sport trim for a more racy feel, or to Portfolio if luxury is more your
thing. Our test car also came with this mysterious
extra fob. Now, I thought this might be a slightly old-school alarm at first, but it’s
actually so much better, because press this 10 minutes before you leave the house and
it tells the car to pre-heat or cool the cabin for you while you eat your breakfast. Now,
fob or ice-scraper, I know which one I’d choose…
the back and the increased wheelbase means there’s 24mm more knee room and 27mm more
headroom, and it certainly feels plenty spacious enough. There’s also an armrest back here
with a few cupholders and (check if there’s sockets etc)
This car has the optional power opening boot, which reveals an impressive 540-litres of
space, 20 more than the 5 Series. The rear bench also has a 40:20:40 split, allowing
you to load longer items like snowboards between two rear passengers.
Of course, Jaguars can’t just be practical, they have to be good to drive too. Luckily,
the XF has no problems here, because not only does it have really advanced suspension, but
it has also been developed on UK roads, which as we all know, are rather unique.
So, with either the standard suspension we’re testing, or the adaptive system, it rides
beautifully, soaking up bumps even with large alloy wheels fitted. Yet, get to a corner
and there’s very little body roll and it’s actually a lot of fun.
In fact, with this 178bhp diesel under the bonnet, you get the sense the XF could easily
handle a lot of power, in fact, probably more than 500bhp if a V8 XFR gets launched.
But, most people will be better off with this diesel. Why? Well, it only costs a few hundred
quid more than the 161bhp version, which seems like a no brainer to us, it’s very quiet
and while it feels a bit too tepid in Eco mode, switch to Dynamic and there’s plenty
of power, especially once you’re up to third and fourth gears. It gets to 62mph in 7.5
seconds and tops out at 136mph. But the big news is the fuel economy, with
a claimed 65.7mpg and 109g/km of CO2 emissions, and while you might think these are impossible
to hit, I’ve actually hit 64mpg on my commute, at least according to the trip computer. This
shouldn’t be affected if you go for the automatic, but there’s now also a four-wheel
drive model available that drops it to 58mpg, but could be worth considering if you live
off the beaten track. If you want a faster XF, for now there’s
a 296bhp 3.0-litre diesel or a 375bhp V6 petrol, both of which get to 62mph in less than six
seconds. The XF starts from £32,300, which actually
bags you an awful lot of car for the money. However, the price does rocket up to £49,995
if you want a 3.0-litre under the bonnet, partly because they are only available in
the top ‘S’ trim level. The 5 Series starts from £31k, while the E-Class is more, at
£36k. Jaguar has done a great job of keeping the
XF’s great looks and character, but also improving it in every area.
It’s now better to drive, more refined, has a far better infotainment system and most
importantly of all, it’s available with a seriously economical diesel engine. With
most XF’s destined to spend their lives trekking up and down the motorway, that’s
a big deal. Love the XF’s looks as much as we do? Let
us know in the comments and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button.
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