Jaguar XF review
The Jaguar XF is a brilliant and stylish sporty saloon that's great to drive, comfortable and luxurious
The Jaguar XF offers something a bit different to its German executive saloon rivals and that's mainly thanks to its stylish design. The classy interior and great handling also contribute to making the Jaguar XF a top executive saloon choice (though a Sportbarke estate is available too). A recent update to the entry-level 2.2-litre diesel model made it even more desirable as a company car too, thanks to reduced CO2 emissions resulting in lower benefit-in-kind tax.
That's the engine we'd go for, thanks to the low running costs, but the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol could tempt some enthusiasts with a big fuel and tax budget. There's also a 510bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 in the extreme XFR - or even a version of that engine with 542bhp in the incredible Jaguar XFR-S.
Standard equipment is good throughout an XF range that runs from SE through Luxury, R-Sport, Premium Luxury and Portfolio. On the downside space in the rear and the interior quality isn't up to the standard of the Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series. The XF should be a great ownership prospect as well, as Jaguar performed strongly in our customer satisfaction survey, Driver Power.
Our choice: XF 2.2 Diesel Luxury
The Jaguar XF has been around for a while now, but the design still looks great next to plain rivals from the German manufacturers. The sweeping roofline and bold Jaguar grille give it a distinctive and eye-catching look that sets it apart.
The Jaguar XFR and XFR-S models get aggressive bodykits to dial up the sportiness of the XF's shape, and the XFR-S also gets a huge rear wing to make it look even more like a racing car.
The soft leather and wood trim inside the car make the interior feel special too, even if wood might not be to everyone's taste. Ambient lighting and a rotary gearshifter that glides out of the centre console are neat touches too. There are a lot of aspects that are starting to look a bit outdated, however, like the clunky touchscreen system and the small dials in front of the driver.
The Jaguar XF is poised and agile when on a twisty country road, and the steering is quick and well weighted too. There’s also lots of grip and the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is responsive and smooth.
Unfortunately the low-speed ride is fidgety and uncomfortable, but comfort improves the faster you go, while wind and road noise are well isolated. The BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class are quieter on the motorway, but the XF still cruises effortlessly. The 2.2-litre diesel is a bit gruff - but it is still a good engine.
This unit comes in 161bhp and 190bhp guises, and while it isn't quite as punchy as the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, it still has loads of torque and is actually surprisingly rapid. The 190bhp version will do 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s definitely the pick of the line-up.
The new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol is even smoother, while the XFR's supercharged 5.0-litre V8 is incredibly fast and the exhausts roar with a touch of the throttle.
Jaguar performed excellently in the Driver Power 2013 customer satisfaction survey, finishing a superb third out of 32 in the top manufacturers list. Plus, the Jaguar XF finished in third out of the 150 top cars in Britain - so it must be one of the best cars to own, especially in this class.
The XF gets six airbags, stability control and active head restraints as standard, but it only got a four-star score in Euro NCAP crash tests. There is some extra safety kit available on the options list: blind spot monitoring is £460 extra, while adaptive cruise control is another £1,275.
The seats and steering wheel are electrically adjusted, so getting the driving position right is no problem in the XF. The touchscreen display is quite clunky, however, and it can be hard to access the features you want quickly.
The sloping roofline means the rear headroom isn't great, and visibility is reduced as well - but some buyers won't mind the complaints when the car looks this good. There's only space for two in the back on any sort of long journey, thanks to the large transmission tunnel.
As for the boot, it’s deep and, at 540 litres, large enough for a set of suitcases. You can also fold the rear seats down for longer items, extending this to over 900 litres.
With a new stop-start system and a few tweaks to the 2.2-litre diesel, CO2 emissions were recently cut from 135g/km to 129g/km, and economy is up to 57.7mpg. That means the Jag matches SE versions of the BMW 520d and Mercedes E220 on company car tax. It's exempt from road tax for the first year of ownership, with an annual bill of £105 thereafter. It also keeps BIK rates to a low 19 per cent – and puts the XF on a par with the Audi A6 2.0 TDI.
Go for the more powerful 190bhp variant of the 2.2 diesel and you'll see 52.3mpg and 149g/km of CO2 – compare that to the 44.8mpg and 169g/km of the V6 diesel and the 30mpg and 224g/km of the V6 petrol to see how much of a difference the small but gutsy engine makes.
Servicing won't be the cheapest, but owners have reported high satisfaction with the service - so it appears you get what you pay for with the Jaguar. Standard equipment is good - all models get climate control, Xenon headlights, cruise control and sat-nav.
Jaguar generally offers a range of finance deals on XF models, too, so check its website for the latest hire purchase and lease promotions.