The British-built Jaguar XF is the brand’s challenger to the likes of the BMW 5 Series, which has dominated the executive car market for decades. The latest XF gets even more aluminium in its body to reduce weight and an even higher quality interior.
But which one offers the best all-round option today? We’re comparing them side-by-side to discover which is better suited to you. Put either the Jaguar XF or the BMW 5 Series in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
With its aluminium-dense design, Jaguar claims to have built the best-looking car in its class. The XF is made up of elegant lines and surfaces and with a low aerodynamic drag and a longer wheelbase than its predecessor.
With its swoopy roofline, it looks like a coupe but, despite being a little shorter than the BMW, Jaguar claims it offers 3mm more leg room than its German rival. There’s more boot space, too – 540 litres against 520 in the 5 series.
Some might feel the 5 Series looks a little conservative in comparison so, to counter this, the German brand updated the model in 2013 with a few subtle updates to bumpers and lights. The cabin also got new colour options and dashboard fascia.
Like all BMWs, you get impeccable build quality that uses excellent materials, a low-slung driving position and those iconic kidney grilles. Alloy wheels and xenon headlights also come as standard, not to mention neat LED front fog lamps.
Business buyers should look to the Jaguar XF’s 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel – its most frugal iteration – which returns an average of 71.7mpg, yet still makes 163hp and 280lb ft of torque. The XF’s 104g/km of CO2 emissions is class-leading for a non-hybrid executive saloon. In contrast, the BMW 518d emits 114g/km.
Also in the line-up is a 2.0-litre Ingenium 180hp model with 217lb ft of torque which, like the 163hp version, gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Topping the diesel range is a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged unit offering 300hp and 516lb ft of torque. The only petrol version so far is the supercharged V6, offering 380hp and 332lb ft.
Meanwhile, the BMW 5 Series offers two petrol options – a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder in the 520i and 528i. The more popular diesels range from a 3.0-litre diesel in the 530d and 535d models to a 2.0-litre unit in the 518d and 520d models.
Petrolheads will love the 550i which gets a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 and those wanting the ultimate performance saloon should look at the M5 where the 4.4-litre V8 is stoked to over 550hp.
Inside the XF, the cockpit is comparatively sparse, with a broad centre console providing lots of storage space, alongside a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
For extra drama, the rotary gear selector wheel rises from this centre console when you fire up the engine. Meanwhile key instruments are displayed on a 12.3-inch TFT panel which you can configure as you drive.
For its part, the 5 Series gives the Jaguar a run for its money with an elegant and roomy cabin. Its sleek appearance is complemented by user-friendly, well-integrated, state-of-the-art tech and outstanding build quality. BMW’s infotainment system, in particular, is one of the best currently on the market.
The XF is grippy and comfortable on the road. All versions are automatic, and all can accelerate from 0-60mph within nine seconds – the most powerful 3.0-litre can do it in five seconds flat.
With sharp steering and good handling, it feels agile through corners but rides the bumps well. If you want a manual gearbox with this model, though, you’ll be disappointed.
The 5 Series in many reviewers opinions offers the better drive, however, thanks to BMW’s expertise at ride and handling. It’s impressive on the move and the steering is naturally weighted to give a good amount of feedback via the wheel. For enthusiasts, there’s the option of a manual gearbox, too.
The Bavarian manufacturer has worked hard to keep wind and road noise to a real minimum meaning long journeys can be undertaken in serenity.
Which one should I buy?
If you want more petrol engine choice, a manual gearbox and a peerless driving experience, pick the BMW. However, with its sleek looks and greater boot space, you may just be seduced by the flamboyance of the XF.