Jaguar pretty much invented the large, posh saloon as we know it 60 years ago when it launched the Mark 1 saloon. But ever since the Germans got in on the act, Jaguar hasn’t had much of a look-in on the sales charts.
Jaguar is hoping the new XF will reverse its fortunes in the battle against the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. It certainly has the right credentials to do just that.
The XF is the apex of massive investment across the Jaguar Land Rover product range. It sits on JLR’s aluminium-intensive modular platform, which results in notably lower weight than any of its rivals, and features all-new engines and electronics.
I immediately felt right at home behind the wheel. This is a big car, but it shrinks around you – feels intimate, even. That’s partly due to the spot-on driving position, but mostly because, from the moment it turns a wheel, the chassis and steering tell you exactly what’s going on.
But there isn’t an excess of information coming through to the driver. Rather, it filters out the rubbish and passes on only what you actually need to know. Even on our ruined roads, it isn’t deflected by ruts and bumps and the ride is fantastic.
Because it can deal with the worst UK roads can throw at it, it’s easy to make extremely fast progress in the XF. Especially when it’s fitted with the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 diesel engine.
Initial acceleration isn’t as strong you would hope from 296bhp – the 0-62mph time of 6.2secs is slower than the less powerful BMW 530d and Audi A6 3.0TDi – but its 516lb/ft of torque hits like a tsunami in the mid-range. Overtaking is hilariously easy.
It’s a hushed engine, too. It snarls away at full noise, but disappears into the background at a cruise. There’s barely any wind or road noise, either. And the cabin is a nice place to be. The new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system is brilliant, the materials are top notch and everything falls easily to hand. The build quality isn’t quite as precise as the Germans achieve, but it doesn’t feel like it’s about to start coming apart in your hands.
Space is good, too, with room for five adults and a decent boot.
As a package, the latest Jaguar XF can’t quite match the BMW 5-Series, which is better built and has an even more comprehensive infotainment system. But the driving experience, especially with the 3.0-litre diesel engine, is better and it’s a more engaging character. Which tips the balance in the Jag’s favour.
Jaguar XF 3.0d S
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel
Transmission: 8-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Power/Torque: 296bhp; 516lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 51.4mpg; 144g/km
0-62mph: 6.2 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
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By Only Motors