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Car group tests

Jaguar XF vs rivals

Latest executive saloons blend fashionable looks and cutting-edge technology. But is Jaguar’s revised XF the best of the breed?

Jaguar XF vs rivals

Cutting-edge technology and fashion are the order of the day in the executive class. That’s why Jaguar has high hopes for its latest XF saloon.

To boost the appeal of its biggest seller, the firm has finally added an entry-level diesel to the line-up. This promises lower emissions and better economy, and the result is the cleanest car Jaguar has ever produced. A minor makeover and improved interior also aim to put the XF back on top.

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Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Jaguar XF

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Three rivals lie in wait... all from Germany. Until now, company buyers have been won over by first the BMW 520d and then Audi’s new A6 – named Best Executive Car at the Auto Express New Car Awards earlier this month.

With smaller 2.0-litre diesels and manual boxes, both are cleaner and cheaper than the Jag. So is the final car in our test: the Mercedes E220 CDI. Is the latest XF good enough to overcome this?

Verdict

All modern road tests are fiercely contested, but this is one of the toughest we’ve had to call. Three of these cars can justifiably lay claim to the title of best executive model. Yet we could pick only one.

The car left behind in the battle for top spot was the Mercedes. Not only does it look and feel dated, it’s off the pace dynamically. On this evidence, the E-Class needs some work to compete at the sharp end of the sector.

The entry-level Jaguar XF has been a long time coming, and the latest revisions ensure it’s in rude health. Unfortunately, the auto-only specification makes it more expensive and polluting than its rivals, and that proved critical in deciding the outcome.

Choosing between the BMW and Audi is no easy task. Both are highly efficient and desirable. The 520d is the enthusiast’s choice as it drives superbly, but the Audi is better equipped and promises dazzling interior quality.

For most buyers, the A6 makes more sense more of the time – and that’s why, by the smallest of margins, it wins this test. But we could forgive anyone who wanted the character of the latest Jaguar.

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