"Combining comfort with razor-sharp handling, the Jaguar XF offers executive car drivers the very best of both worlds."
The Jaguar XF is everything a top British luxury car should be – great to look at and even better to drive, combining sportiness with high levels of comfort and luxury. It's also helped Jaguar regain its position in the car industry and is easily one of the best executive cars money can buy. The XF is refined and well equipped, with a wonderfully detailed leather-trimmed interior that stands out from the darker cabins of many BMWs and Audis. That said, there isn’t much room in the back for rear passengers and if you intend to spend a lot of time in the back, you'd be better of with a Mercedes E-Class. Jaguar has expanded the previously limited range to now include a smaller, more efficient diesel engine that is very popular with both private and company car buyers. Supercharged XFR and high-performance Jaguar XFR-S petrol models offer incredible performance but equally incredible running costs – so avoid these if you're looking for decent fuel economy. The 2.2-litre diesel engine offers the best compromise, while the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol is terrific – if you can afford to run it.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
In 2010, Jaguar added a more efficient 2.2-litre diesel engine that considerably cut running costs and is far and away the most economical engine available. Capable of returning 55.4mpg and emitting 135g/km of CO2, it makes perfect sense for most drivers, while Jaguar says it'll cover 800 miles on one tank of diesel. Compare it to the V6 diesel and V6 petrol, and it's easy to see what a difference the smaller but still powerful 2.2-litre diesel makes to costs. It's also worth mentioning the sprialling running costs associated with the supercharged Jaguar XFR and XFR-S – the latter of which will do just 24mpg. Also, insurance and servicing won’t be cheap, but owner satisfaction is high, with the XF placing third in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power survey.
Interior & comfort
Jaguar has combined driver enjoyment and comfortable suspension very well in the XF. A firm ride can be offset by the Adaptive Dynamics system, which makes constant small adjustments to the car settings to soak up any bumps in the road, while also boosting stability. It's an optional extra, but it does let you tackle winding roads with a bit more confidence. The interior only helps to make driving the XF even more special, with some neat little flourishes helping to make it an almost theatrical experience. Along with some cool blue lighting and a touchscreen display, when you turn on the ignition the barrel-shaped gear selector rises up from inside the centre console (and operates a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox that comes as standard in all models) and the air vents swivel dramatically into position. These kinds of touches do make the XF feel pretty special. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, even if the leg and headroom in the back seats could be better.
Practicality & boot space
The XF replaced the more retro-looking Jaguar S-Type back in 2007 and is much more practical than its predecessor – but is only average in comparison to its latest rivals. For instance, if you want to maximise the boot space, you’ll need to select the ‘space saving’ option that replaces the spare wheel with a can of tyre repair foam. However, the 500-litre boot is nice and deep, and expands to more than 900 litres when the rear seats are folded down. On the inside, there are lots of storage options, with a deep bin situated between the front seats. All models come fitted with electrically adjusting seats and steering wheel to make it easy to find a decent driving position. Unfortunately, mixed in among the leather and metal decorating the cabin are some cheap materials, while rear visibility isn’t very good and some of the touchscreen buttons are hard to access. If you’re six foot tall you’ll struggle to find enough headroom in the back thanks to the sloping roofline, and a big bump in the floor means there's really only comfortable space for two passengers in the rear.
Reliability & safety
The Jaguar XF came a very impressive third in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – up from fifth in 2012. Jaguar itself also grabbed the number three slot, with BMW not even making the top 10. That's a sure fire indication that XF owners are a satisfied group and that the car itself is reliable. The car feels solid and is well built, and other than two minor recalls in 2008, has been running well ever since. All cars come fitted with traction and stability control as standard, while in terms of safety, the XF only achieved four stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. Although this might put it behind the competition, it is nonetheless a very safe car, packed with airbags and safety equipment, including automatic cruise control and a pop-up bonnet to provide pedestrian protection in event of a collision.
Engines, drive & performance
You’d expect a Jaguar to drive well, but the XF still manages to impress. The steering is sporty but reassuringly heavy, with the XF offering lots of grip when going round corners. If you opt for the adaptive dampers it gets even better, with potholes and bumps being well absorbed without sacrificing great control at high speeds. Both the 2.2-litre and 3.0-litre diesels offer comfortable rides and perform well on the motorway, with well cushioned suspension and strong brakes. If you want speed, the 542bhp, supercharged XFR-S model does have amazing pace, but the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol will easily be fast enough for most people and uses significantly less fuel. There are two 2.2-litre engines but the higher-power 190bhp option will do 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and is definitely the pick of the line-up in terms of balancing performance and economy.
Price, value for money & options
A series of updates in 2010 saw Jaguar tweak the XF's design and fill it with lots of standard equipment. All models come with xenon headlights, electric seats, cruise control, climate control, leather interior and touchscreen sat-nav as standard. Plus, you get nice touches like the gear stick that rises up when you turn on the ignition and air vents that open automatically. List prices are competitive for its class and resale values are pretty strong given Jaguar's resurgent brand profile.