Jaguar XF saloon
“The Jaguar XF is a handsome four-door saloon with plenty of space and competitive running costs that’s also able to satisfy keen drivers”
- Plenty of space inside
- Fantastic to look at
- Great to drive
- Pricey options
- Beginning to show its age
- Some versions are expensive
The Jaguar XF, launched in 2015, takes on the mantle from the first-generation model launched in 2007. That car pulled Jaguar into the 21st century, rejecting the classic design language that had characterised the brand’s models since the fifties by replacing round headlights with sleek fastback looks and an aggressive new grille.
It was exactly what the marque needed and gave Jaguar a credible rival to German cars like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, as well as models from further afield like the Lexus GS. The Jaguar XF faces the latest iterations of all these models, and does so with improved practicality, better efficiency, up-to-date infotainment and build quality that has taken a step up, too.
The engine range has grown slightly as well, with 2.0-litre petrols with 247bhp or 296bhp available in the 25t and 30t models. The popular 2.0-litre turbodiesel has 161, 178 or 237bhp, with the latter being fitted with two turbochargers for extra punch. While these all have four cylinders, there’s also a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel with 296bhp, but the supercharged petrol of the same capacity with 375bhp was discontinued due to poor sales.
For a large executive car, the XF can be economical, with 50.4mpg claimed for the entry-level diesel along with some models benefitting from a low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax band for company-car drivers. The popular combination of the 178bhp diesel and an automatic gearbox can return 49.9mpg. Petrol models aren’t as affordable to run but hold appeal for those who enjoy driving.
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Eye-catching features like air vents that swivel open when you press the starter button and a circular gear selector rising from the centre console put the XF on the map, and add a bit of extra theatre to getting in and driving off. You might also notice there’s more space for front and rear occupants this time round.
On-board technology is impressive, too, with Jaguar’s 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment system controlling navigation and entertainment features. This is fortunately a standard feature now, replacing the old eight-inch screen and includes a smartphone app that lets you pay for fuel in Shell garages without leaving the car.
There really is no such thing as a ‘basic’ XF: the entry-level Prestige has leather seats, dual-zone climate control and ambient cabin lighting together with convenience features like cruise control, rear parking sensors, and automatic headlights and wipers.
R-Sport cars are distinguished by aggressive bumpers, side skirts and a subtle spoiler, along with larger wheels. Alternatively there’s the luxurious Portfolio with its upgraded multi-adjustable seats and plusher leather, as well as deeper carpets and chrome trim.
There’s also a Chequered Flag limited edition, which adds black alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and a few other extras.
At the top of the range, the XF is available with the 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine in Portfolio and S trim levels.
When evaluated by independent crash-test body Euro NCAP in 2015, the XF achieved a five-star score, improving on the previous model despite the test getting tougher. The XF now has autonomous emergency braking, using a forward-facing radar to anticipate collisions and automatically brake if necessary. If you brake hard, the XF will also help by applying maximum braking force.
Jaguar has built one of its best-ever cars with the XF, taking care of many of the shortcomings of the old car in the process. As well as being more spacious and featuring better infotainment technology, it's also just as handsome and enjoyable to drive as ever.