£32,300 - £49,995 Price range
34 - 70 MPG
Jaguar hit the nail on the head with the original XF – it was undoubtedly a Jag, but one that dumped the company’s dowdy image and looked, mercifully, nothing like the S-Type it replaced. No wonder it proved such a big hit with buyers that would usually choose a Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Audi A6.
Unsurprisingly, Jaguar hasn’t done a hatchet job on the looks of what is, believe it or not, an all-new model, but substantial changes are there even if you can’t see them. There’s an aluminium body that helps it weigh up to 190kg less than before, front suspension borrowed from the F-Type and the option to specify four-wheel drive.
Engines have also changed, so the XF gets Jaguar’s high-tech low-capacity 2.0-litre Ingenium diesels. Capable of returning up to 70mpg, they’re a must if Jaguar hopes to crack the all-important fleet market. Top-end models can be had with a powerful petrol V6, but the smart money goes on the V6 diesel, which is almost as fast as the big petrol, but comes without running costs so high they could put your house at risk.
Not that really matters, because living in the XF would be no real hardship. Despite the new car being slightly smaller than the old model, interior space has increased significantly thanks to a longer wheelbase.
Meanwhile, the interior fixtures and fittings will make any abode – short of the Queen’s residence – seem a little low-rent. It might not be the rolling techfest that the Mercedes E-Class is or, for that matter, be quite as well built, but a new infotainment system promises crisp graphics and laser-fast calculation speeds, and you don’t need to be a member of Mensa to program it.
Equipment levels cover the basics expected of this class, so all models come with sat-nav, Bi-Xenon headlights, and a leather interior, while the car’s electric power steering (it used to be hydraulic) brings optional driver aids to the fore, including lane-keep assist and perpendicular auto parking.
The British firm is developing a more practical Sportbrake estate version of the XF that’s expected to go on sale in 2017 – see the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake prototype in our price, specs and release date article.
The sporty theme of the XF is apparent the minute you sit in the supportive driver’s seat. The height of the windows and the high-set dashboard design provide a cocoon-like feel that gives the sense that you’re part of the car in a way that direct rivals don’t.
As with the exterior, there are some clear nods to the old model, such as the engine start button that pulses like a heartbeat, the air vents that spin open when you press said button, and the gear selector that rises from the centre console.
Despite all this, it still feels traditional, not because there’s plenty of leather, metal and cool mood lighting on display (there is of course), but because the dashboard isn’t dominated by a huge infotainment screen display, as in some rivals. Conventional buttons are more prevalent than in the Merc, but rather than detract from the experience they make the Jaguar’s interior easier to navigate, with controls for the ventilation, stereo and drive select systems right there where you need them. It’s a car you can jump into and use straight away.
Jaguar XF infotainment
That’s not to say Jaguar has turned its back on the digital world, as standard the XF comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that recognises finger gestures such as dragging and swiping. It does without the fixed control you get in most rivals, so it’s not so easy to use on the move, but it’s a million times easier to fathom than the system fitted to the Mercedes E-Class.
Spend £1,745 on the 10.2-inch InControl Touch Pro system and you can also ‘pinch’ to zoom in and out on maps, plus it has clearer graphics and – courtesy of a solid-state drive and quad-core processor – operates much quicker than the basic system. The price is high but includes a 12.3-inch multi-function display (instead of an analogue instrument binnacle) and a stereo upgrade to a 380W Meridan system. It’s an option that’s well worth considering.
Jaguar XF passenger space
While the new XF is 7mm shorter than the old model, its wheelbase – the space between the front and rear wheels – has increased by 51mm. That’s allowed Jaguar to deal with one of the old model’s biggest downfalls – its limited rear legroom. In fact, space for backseat passengers’ legs has increased by 15mm, kneeroom is up by 24mm and headroom swells by 27mm. Whisk two tall colleagues to an out-of-town meeting and you’re unlikely to hear any complaints from the back.
Things will be good for you and your front-seat passenger, too. There’s loads of space and the seats are supportive, without needlessly clamping your body in a way that becomes uncomfortable over long distances. It’s the perfect car if you spend thousands of miles on the motorway. If only the heater did a better job of warming your feet on cold autumnal mornings…
Jaguar XF cubby spaces
The practical theme continues when you look at cubby spaces – while not the largest in class, all the XF’s doorbins can swallow a two-litre bottle of water, you get four cupholders, the glovebox is pretty big and there are various other cubbies for smaller things such as your phone and wallet.
Jaguar XF boot space
It’s a practical machine when it comes to carrying larger items, too. The boot has a decent opening – although one that’s smaller than a Volvo S90’s – and doesn’t suffer from too high a load lip. Jaguar has kitted the load bay out with a variety of features – you get two curry hooks, four tether points for your luggage and an electrically operated boot lid.
The boot’s 540-litre capacity matches the Mercedes E-Class and is more than you get in a BMW 5 Series. There’s room for two large suitcases, with a smaller one on top, and with the rear seats folded down, it is possible to fit a bike in with both its wheels on.
While some executive saloons require you to tick various boxes on the options list to get the best of them, the Jaguar XF is great to drive just as it comes.
That starts with a standard suspension setup that is extremely well judged. At low speeds on bumpy country roads it can feel a little busy – though not uncomfortably so – but as the pace rises so does the compliance of the springs at the car’s four corners – on the motorway the XF gets close to providing the creamy smooth ride of a rival equipped with air suspension.
Find yourself on a great road (minus passengers) and you’ll discover that the Jaguar doesn’t have the remote feeling that an air-sprung car can have. It seems connected to the road and bends can be consumed with a rewarding fluidity as the suspension soaks up bumps that would send shudders through the steering of more overtly sporty machines.
The steering itself is brilliant. Perfectly weighted and accurate, you can point the car into corners without having to make minor adjustments as you go.
The XF works best when paired with Jaguar’s eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is a £1,750 option on all but the top-of-the-range S models. Its changes can be a little sudden when cold, but once warmed up it shifts through the gears with a smoothness that complements the rest of the car. Steering-wheel mounted paddles are a £385 option that you’ll rarely have cause to use.
That’s because, let’s face it, most XFs will spend a lot of time on the motorway, where passengers will find there’s very little wind or road noise to contend with, and even the basic diesel engines are well hushed.
While the old XF’s engine range was dominated by powerful V6 and V8 engines, in the new model you’ll have to cope with just four cylinders in all but the top-of-the-range cars. Not to worry, Jaguar invested £500 million into the development of its new family of 2.0-litre Ingenium engines, so you can expect them to be good.
Jaguar XF diesel engines
Good, perhaps, but in the case of the diesels – not quiet. Both the 161 and 178hp models start from cold with a grumble and even when they reach operating temperature, the distant clatter leaves little doubt what’s powering the lump under the bonnet. At a cruise, the noise subsides, though, and at the UK national limit, both engines have plenty of urge for effortless overtaking.
Performance from a standstill is nothing spectacular, the basic engine gets from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds, while the 178hp model does it in eight seconds dead. What is spectacular is the care with which both engines slurp fuel – the lower-powered model can return just over 70mpg and the 178hp version more than 65mpg. Road tax costs 20 and £30 respectively.
Their blend of superb economy and reasonable pace will make the 2.0-litre models hard to overlook for most buyers, but if you want more pace and don’t mind paying for it, the 296hp 3.0-litre diesel will readily assist. It has a massive 516Ib ft of pulling power available from just 2,000rpm, so effortless acceleration is available from almost any speed. Despite getting from 0-62mph in just 6.2 seconds, it can return fuel economy of 51.4mpg.
Jaguar XF petrol engines
And it’s fuel economy of 34mpg that will put most people off the supercharged 3.0-litre petrol. It delivers its power in an easy-to-handle surge, pushing the XF from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. However, in normal use the big diesel feels just as quick, mostly because the petrol delivers less torque (332Ib ft) higher in the rev range (4,200rpm).
The 3.0 diesel replaced the old 2.7 turbodiesel and improved on that already powerful and refined engine in every area. With 237bhp it has plenty of power and torque is a useful 500 Nm. If you’re driving carefully then Jaguar’s average of 44.8mpg should be possible, and 169g/km of CO2 puts it in tax band H of £190 a year.
Whether you’re driving on the motorway or around town it’s incredibly refined, and smoother and quieter than the smaller 4-cylinder 2.2 Diesel with a bigger turn of speed. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is described as fast and seamless whatever your driving style. The only question mark over the 3.0 D is whether you’d prefer the even more powerful but no less economical S model…
Make a list of everything you think a Jaguar should be - fast, smooth, refined - and according to reviews, the 3.0 Diesel S does them all. Based on the regular 3.0 V6 turbodiesel, the S has even more power and torque, which makes it more of a sporting drive than the non-S diesel. Despite this, economy is the same 44.8mpg and £190 of road tax, so if you don’t mind initially paying for the extra performance, you won’t sacrifice economy.The sequential twin turbochargers mean that there’s plenty of torque from low revs and power at the top end. With 60mph arriving in less than 6 seconds you’ll never be wanting for speed out on the road, and the gearbox is fast and smooth.
There’s only one review so far of the 3.0 petrol V6 XF, but it’s still largely positive. The petrol V6 used to be the cheapest way into an XF before it was discontinued but now that role is filled by the considerably more economical and not drastically slower 2.2 diesel. If you still find a V6 sitting at a dealer somewhere, it’ll cost you £445 in road tax a year and only do 26.8mpg.
Still, the review highlights the V6’s smoothness and refinement, with a sporty exhaust note that you won’t find in a 4-cylinder diesel. You’ll need to work hard for its performance though, and at higher revs the refinement starts to disappear. Though the petrol V6 isn’t the most economical, it should still provide some entertainment.
The new XF is packed full of state-of-the-art safety technology. From traction control that has been improved by Jaguar and is now called All-Surface Progress Control, through active systems such as emergency city braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. The lane-keep assist can also recognise speed limit signs and correct the car’s speed accordingly without any interaction from the driver.
Euro NCAP crash-tested the new XF in late 2015 – all the safety systems available for the new car along with the high-strength materials used in production helped it net a five-star rating.
With an entry-level price of more than £32,000 you can expect even the cheapest XF to come with a reasonable amount of standard equipment. And basic Prestige trim duly obliges – with Bi-Xenon headlights, electrically adjustable leather seats, rear parking sensors, and the cheaper eight-inch sat-nav display.
Jaguar XF Portfolio
Portfolio models swap the standard 17-inch wheels for 18-inch items that do a better (but not perfect) job of filling the car’s wheel arches. They also get front seats with a wider range of adjustment, an interior that’s wrapped in higher-quality ‘Windsor’ leather, and thicker carpets. Tech upgrades include a reversing camera, front parking sensors, keyless start and entry, plus a heated front windscreen and a 380W Meridian stereo. Rear seats that split 40:20:40 mean they’re also more practical than the lower-spec car.
Jaguar XF R-Sport
With R-Sport trim Jaguar is targeting BMW M Sport and Audi S line models, lending the XF sportier looks without the need to spec a powerful engine that is expensive to run. They get a sporty body kit, unique alloy wheels, a de-chromed exterior and optional sports suspension. The inside gets the same treatment, with dark aluminium trim pieces, sports seats, and a sports steering wheel. It’s a great choice, but try saying R-Sport out loud…
Jaguar XF S
XF S cars sit at the top of the range and can only be had with the 3.0-litre engines. They get broadly the same kit as Portfolio models, along with 19-inch alloy wheels, an even sportier body kit than R-Sport trim, and racy red brake calipers. They are the only XFs equipped as standard with Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics suspension, which monitors how the car’s being driven and primes the suspension’s dampers accordingly.
With mid-sized executive saloons seemingly getting ever more complex, the Jaguar XF makes for a refreshing change. People who enjoy setting up their car to the nth degree will no doubt miss the adjustability offered by rivals, but those willing to put their trust in Jaguar will not be disappointed.
Straight out the box, the Jaguar XF is the best-driving car in its class and one of the best looking, while the new model’s added rear legroom means there’s now no practical reason not to choose it. The changes may not look like much in the metal but, in practice, they’re enough to catapult the XF to the top of the class.