Jaguar XF review
The Jaguar XF is a brilliant sporty saloon that's great to drive, comfortable and luxurious
The Jaguar XF is something of a saviour for the firm. It’s a fantastic looking machine with a brilliant driving experience that combines sportiness with comfort. The latest 2.2 diesel is the pick of the line-up, while the new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol is tempting if you have pockets deep enough to run it. There's lots of standard equipment and luxury throughout the range, even if rear space is a little tight. However, the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 beat it on costs and interior quality.
Our choice: XF 2.2 Diesel Luxury
Jaguar's last executive saloon, the S-Type, had retro looks, but the Jaguar XF is very modern indeed. It’s a great looking car, with a sweeping roofline and a bold grille at the front, and manages to be much more emotional than its cold, clinical Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series rivals. Latest models look the best thanks to redesigned headlights and taillights and new bumpers. The cabin, like the exterior, is very modern, with cool blue lighting and a touchscreen central display. There are lots of neat touches, including a circular gear selector that rises up when the ignition is turned on, and air vents that automatically open.
Jaguars have always been good to drive, but the XF takes things up a notch. Even standard models ride and handle beautifully, and those with optional adaptive dampers are even better, ironing out potholes and providing fantastic body control at high speed. Factor in smooth and accurate steering and great agility, and every journey will be a pleasure. There is more road noise than you get in a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class on the motorway, but the XF munches miles with ease. As for engines, the 190bhp 2.2-litre diesel isn't quite as punchy of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, but it still has loads of torque and is actually surprisingly rapid, doing 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s definitely the pick of the line-up, being smooth and quiet. The new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol is even smoother, while the XFR's supercharged 5.0-litre V8 is extremely rapid and makes a lovely noise. All cars come with a smooth eight-speed auto as standard.
While the Jaguar XF achieved only a four-star Euro NCAP crash rating, it is very safe indeed, with plenty of airbags, gizmos like automatic cruise control, standard traction and stability control and a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision. Owners are a satisfied bunch, too - the XF finished an impressive 5th overall, in our 2012 Driver Power survey. Jaguar finished 3rd, while BMW and Audi both failed to make the top ten.
All Jaguar XF models get electrical adjustment for the seats and steering wheel, so it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. However, while there’s lots of wood, leather and metal surfaces, some materials feel a bit cheap and it’s sometimes hard to access the correct buttons on the touchscreen. Rear visibility isn’t great either. Jump in the back, and if you’re over six-foot tall, you’ll notice you don’t have a lot of headroom. That’s down to the sloping coupe-style roofline, which robs some space from passengers. However, most people will be fine, even though the wide transmission tunnel means there’s only really space for two in the back. 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.
Business and private drivers' prayers have been answered by the firm’s new 2.2-litre diesel, which is by far the most economical engine in the range. It returns an excellent 52.3mpg and emits 149g/km of CO2 – compare that to the 44.8mpg and 169g/km of the V6 diesel and the 30.0mpg and 224g/km of the V6 petrol to see how much of a difference the small but gutsy engine makes. However, a BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics is still more economical and cheaper to run, emitting just 119g/km. As for running costs, don’t expect servicing or insurance to be cheap, owner satisfaction is amongst the best - the XF finished fifth in our 2012 Driver Power survey. Equipment is good, with all models getting climate control and Xenon headlights, cruise control and sat-nav as standard.