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Car group tests

Jaguar XF vs Audi A6

Jaguar hopes its sleek new XF can pick up where its predecessor left off, but first it has to beat the Audi A6...

Jaguar launched its XF back in 2007 at a difficult time for the brand. Ford was getting ready to sell Jag to Tata Motors, and it’s fair to say that the XF helped the company achieve success while it moved from US to Indian ownership – so much so that it was named our 2008 Car of the Year.

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The car’s modern design was a break from Jag’s traditional styling regime, and constant development has helped it to maintain its position at the front of the executive pack. Now it’s time for the second-generation model to make an appearance. 

While the original XF was a radical departure from the S-Type that preceded it, the Mk2 model is an evolution, both in terms of design and engineering. This means that it should be a tough contender in the executive class.

Jaguar XE vs Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series

For this first test, we’ve lined up the most powerful diesel version, the TDV6 S. It packs a 296bhp V6 twin-turbo engine and is loaded with kit, too; although it’ll have to be pretty special to beat its rival here, the Audi A6.

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Here, we test the top-spec Black Edition model, which features a 316bhp twin-turbodiesel and quattro four-wheel drive. Does the second-generation XF pick up where the original left off? Or is the A6 the high-performance executive saloon to have?

Head to head

Wheel options

Both cars have 20-inch rims. The XF’s are an £800 option, while the A6’s come as standard. The Jaguar has standard 19-inch wheels, but offers 11 designs – ranging from £400-£1,200.

Audi has two 20-inch alloy wheel options, plus there’s a 19-inch version that will help soften the ride a little. All are no-cost options.

Headlamp tech

Jaguar and Audi are available with adaptive LEDs for £1,225 and £945 respectively. The XF’s give natural bright light, but the A6’s Matrix LEDs are something else. You can leave the main beams on and the lights seamlessly adapt to the road and other vehicles.

Bodystyles

The first XF came as an estate, but now Jaguar offers the F-Pace crossover, it’s thought a load-lugging version is unlikely. This 3.0 BiTDI A6 can be had as an Avant estate for an extra £2,165, while the top-spec A6 allroad crossover estate costs £55,825.

Verdict

1st place: Jaguar XF

It was close, but it’s first blood to the new Jaguar XF. The sharper looks give it an edge over the A6, while under the skin, the car has been improved in the areas it needed to stay at the front of the pack, with greater efficiency giving it the edge over its rival here. It’s not as sporty as the Audi, but it’s fun. Plus, its ability to cover long distances in comfort seals the victory.

2nd place: Audi A6

The A6 saloon is still a great executive, but the Black Edition’s firm ride spoils the overall package. The twin-turbodiesel has sports car-rivalling punch, yet the trade-off is higher running costs than the XF. You can save some cash with an S line version, but it’s still the pricier company car choice here. Comparing mass-market 2.0-litre models could throw up a different result, though.

Other options in this category...

BMW 535d M Sport Auto

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Price: £48,920 Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 313bhp

Like the A6, the 535d has a power advantage over the new XF, but this is countered by higher company car costs, despite its lower list price. The rear-drive BMW is arguably more engaging to drive, yet it’s not as sharply styled as the XF.

Mercedes E 350 BlueTEC AMG Night Edition

Price: £42,010 Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 258bhp

The E-Class is due to be replaced in 2016, so Mercedes is piling up the extras on its outgoing cars. The Night Edition adds a black styling pack, while the top-spec Premium Plus is around £4,000 less than the XF. It’s cheaper as a company car, too.

Figures

 Jaguar XF 3.0 TDV6 SAudi A6 3.0 BiTDI quattro Black Edition
On the road price/total as tested£49,945/£59,180£51,165/£55,775
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£19,029/38.1%£19,596/38.3%
Depreciation£30,916£31,569
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,587/£5,174£3,056/£6,112
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,572/£2,620£1,859/£3,099
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost41/£1,011/F/£14544/£822/G/£180
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£525 (5yrs/50k)£149/£299/£149
   
Length/wheelbase4,954/2,960mm4,933/2,912mm
Height/width1,457/1,880mm1,455/1,874mm
EngineV6/2,993ccV6/2,967cc
Peak power/revs296/4,000 bhp/rpm316/3,900 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs700/2,000 Nm/rpm650/1,400 Nm/rpm
Transmission8-spd auto/rwd8-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel66 litres/£18073 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)540/963 litres530/995 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,750/600/2,000kg1,835/610/2,100kg
Turning circle11.6 metres11.9 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers16,000 miles (1yr)/97Variable/121
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.2nd/3rd13th/25th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/A91/83/41/5 (2011)
   
0-60/30-70mph6.2/5.5 secs4.8/4.5 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.6/3.1 secs2.3/3.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th4.2/5.4/7.6 secs3.8/5.1/6.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph155mph/1,250rpm155mph/1,400rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph46.8/34.7/9.5m47.4/34.9/9.1m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph65/47/63/71dB68/46/63/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range38.2/8.4/555 miles32.3/7.1/519 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined42.8/58.9/51.4mpg37.7/51.4/45.6mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined9.4/13.0/11.3mpl8.3/11.3/10.0mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket198/144g/km/26%234/164g/km/30%
   
Airbag/Isofix/park sens/surround camSix/yes/rear/£950Six/yes/yes/£1,310
Auto box/stability ctrl/adaptive cruiseYes/yes/£1,400Yes/yes/£3,500
Climate control/heated leather/HUDYes/yes/£1,220Yes/£320/£1,240
Met paint/adaptive LEDs/keyless go£675/£1,225/yes£675/£945/£750
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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