Jaguar XF S 2015 review

New Jaguar XF saloon has already impressed, but now we see how V6 diesel fares on British roads

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The new Jaguar XF is an engineering triumph. It’s luxurious, spacious, great to drive and cheap to run, while if you go for one of the lower-spec diesels, it can even compete on price with the likes of BMW or Mercedes. However, this super-smooth and lightning-fast 3.0-litre TDV6 is only available in pricey S trim, and it looks very expensive next to established rivals. We’d save some cash and go for the still brilliant 2.0d in the more modest Prestige or R-Sport trim.

We drove the new Jaguar XF on the twisting roads of Portugal in the summer, and were blown away by its blend of luxury, performance and running costs. As with any car, though, the true test comes back here in the UK – along broken back roads and busy motorways.

From the outside, the XF is just as elegant as we remember. The Jaguar XE-inspired front end is imposing and stylish, while the lengthened body makes it look better proportioned than its baby brother. The tail-lamps are growing on us, too, as the double-bubble light signature looks great at night.

It’s the same story inside. The wraparound lip that runs below the windscreen is a beautiful touch, seamlessly marrying the dash to the doors, while the thick steering wheel and leather add upmarket appeal.

The rising gear selector and rotating air vents are carried over from the previous-generation model, but the old-fashioned wood inserts have been replaced by more contemporary metals and plastics. In fact, save for the slightly dated sat-nav screen and noisy indicators, this new XF is right up there with the best cars in the class for interior ambience and refinement.

That feeling of superior luxury continues on the move, where the silky-smooth V6 diesel propels you effortlessly down the road. Our car came with the £800 optional 20-inch alloys, and although they emit a small amount of tyre noise at motorway speeds, they do little to affect the ride.

Jag has done a great job of making the new XF feel like a mini XJ. It’ll happily sit at 70mph all day long and take big undulations in its stride. It can get unsettled by sharp potholes or expansion joints, but it’s a very relaxing car to drive on the whole.

The gearbox is a peach, too. It changes ratios with minimal fuss and can jump from eighth to fourth when you require the full 700Nm of torque in one lump. The XF also feels seriously quick from 30-70mph, and while it’s not quite as sharp or sporty as a BMW 5 Series, it corners well and there’s plenty of feedback through the wheel.

Plus, the traction control system allows a bit of slip away from junctions on damp surfaces, while at higher speeds, you get that infectious rear-driven sensation of being pushed out of tight bends.

But the fun and luxury aren’t just reserved for the driver, as there’s now more space to stretch out in the back. Jag says there’s an extra 15mm of legroom, 24mm of kneeroom and a considerable 27mm more headroom, meaning even six foot-plus adults should have enough space on longer journeys.

Meanwhile, the sleek exterior hides a class-leading 540-litre boot – trumping the 5 Series’ and Audi A6’s capacities by 20 and 10 litres respectively. It’s worth noting that there’s no revised XF Sportbrake estate for now, and inside sources say the current popularity of SUVs may consign the load-lugging version to the history books.

This S model is expensive, though, and if you want that brilliant 3.0-litre V6, you’ve no choice but to opt for the range-topping trim. A BMW 530d is just as fast and is available in humble SE spec, which starts from just £41,445. In fact, you can get the even quicker 535d in flagship M Sport guise for £1,025 less than this fully loaded Jaguar.

Yet that’s not all. Our test car came with almost £10,000 worth of optional extras. Standard equipment includes the eight-inch central touchscreen and USB and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a Meridian premium sound system, adaptive dampers and keyless ignition. However, the car in our pictures features bigger wheels, an advanced parking system, LED headlamps, a laser head-up display and soft-close doors.

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