Jaguar XF review
Jaguar's latest XF is desirable and very good to drive, making it a genuine rival to the German alternatives
Jaguar has borrowed much of what makes the smaller XE such a desirable compact executive car to make the latest XF. That's no bad thing, though, as by upscaling its sibling Jaguar has made the new car spacious, enjoyable to drive and desirable.
While the looks are sharper, the overall formula is a refinement of the original XF, with better rear seat access and more space once you’re inside. Quality is generally improved, too, although it still falls behind the best in the class for overall fit-and-finish. The Germans also offer slicker and cleverer in-car technology.
Lightweight aluminium construction and a range of efficient engines help the XF deliver decent but not brilliant running costs for company car users, while the car benefits from Jaguar's proven handling know-how to deliver a composed and engaging driving experience. It'll also happily dial back from sporty saloon to cossetting cruiser, with a refined and comfortable ride.
Sharp styling, a strong range of engines and an engaging chassis mean the XF is well worth considering as an alternative to its German rivals.
The Jaguar XF that arrived in 2007 was the first car for sale in Jaguar dealers that saw the British company move away from the retro looks of past models to a new, more modern appearance. The first XF saloon, as well as the XF Sportbrake estate and high-performance XFR, was replaced by the XF Mk2 in 2015. It maintained the original car's luxury, but offered a sharper look and greater efficiency.
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As with the original car, the XF is for sale as a four-door saloon or XF Sportbrake estate, although Jaguar hasn't introduced a V8 supercharged XFR version this time around. Instead power comes from 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, or a 3.0-litre V6 diesel in the XF S - a V6 petrol was offered for a while, but is no more. Prices for the XF start from around £35,000 for the saloon, with the XF Sportbrake costing around £2,500 extra.
The XF is an executive saloon, but as it arrived in 2015, it's now one of the older models in the sector. Its chief opponents are the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, all of which have seen all-new models launched since the XF arrived. Elsewhere, the Volvo S90 offers plenty of comfort, while the Lexus ES has replaced the GS in the Japanese line-up and the Maserati Ghibi is a leftfield choice if you want something sporty. If you're a company car buyer, then perhaps a Tesla Model S could be considered as a rival, too.
Back to the XF, and the Jag is available in a variety of trims that either emphasise its luxury or sporting nature. The range kicks off with Prestige trim, which is followed by R-Sport and Portfolio, while the Chequered Flag models are another sporty variation. At the top of the range, the XF S comes with a 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, and is as close as there is to a racy XFR in the current range.
The 2.0 Ingenium engines either come as petrols badged 250 or 300 (with 247bhp and 296bhp), or diesels badged 163, 180 or 240 (with 161, 178 and 237bhp). The 163 and 180 diesels come with a 6-speed manual gearbox, while the 8-speed auto that's standard across the rest of the range is available as an option on these cars.
Most models include rear-wheel drive, while the 180 auto and 240-badged diesels add four-wheel drive. The 300PS petrol models also have AWD.
The engines are complemented by the XF's sharp-handling chassis that's shared with the smaller XE. As the car is made from aluminium rather than steel, it's relatively lightweight, which means the XF is agile in corners. Less impressive is fuel economy, because while the XF is more efficient than ever, rivals are better still, especially under the latest WLTP test regime.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingJaguar's latest XF is desirable and very good to drive, making it a genuine rival to the German alternatives
- 2Engines, performance and driveSmooth performance and slick auto gearboxes define the range – but the 2.0 diesel is a bit noisy
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsNew test procedure hasn't helped the XF's economy or emissions figures
- 4Interior, design and technologyModern design, plenty of tech and extra space make the XF a great place to sit – but material quality could be better in places
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceBig boot, plenty of space and a comfortable ride mean the XF covers many bases
- 6Reliability and SafetyStrong standard safety kit and good Driver Power results, but customers question XF reliability