What is it? The Jaguar XF has run off with the What Car? best executive crown four years running now, but with a choice of either 5.0-litre V8 petrol or 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines, it has always had limited appeal to cost-conscious business users.
Not any more. To coincide with a mid-life face-lift, Jaguar has launched its refreshed XF with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine.
What's it like to drive? Is this engine not a bit weedy for such a big car? Not a bit of it. Yes, its responses aren't quite as instant as those in the V6-powered cars, but with 188bhp and a crushing 332lb ft of torque, it has the bragging rights over the likes of BMW’s 520d and Audi’s 2.0-litre A6 - and they’re not exactly short of get-up-and-go. What’s more, the Jag comes with an all-new eight-speed gearbox, which is smoothness personified.
Admittedly, a four-cylinder engine is never going to be as silky smooth as a six-cylinder unit, and, yes, you do feel some vibration through the base of the driver’s seat at idle, especially when the engine is cold. Also, accelerate hard and there’s no disguising the fact you’re driving a diesel, but once the car is settled into a cruise you’ll struggle to tell it apart from its larger-capacity sibling.
The entry-level XF still drives as a Jaguar should. No other executive car can match the ’ wonderful blend of fluid handling and comfort. Its sharp, accurate steering and neutral front-to-rear weight distribution mean it flows through bends with the agility of a sports car. Equally, when you’re just cruising to your next meeting it’s as relaxed and as refined as the best luxury cars.
What’s it like inside? There are small – but welcome – improvements. More-supportive seats provide better long-distance comfort, new materials create a slightly classier feel and there’s a new touch-screen entertainment system that’s much more user-friendly. In all, the ’ cabin is a better place to spend time, but it’s still not as classy or comfortable as a 5 Series’.
Should I buy one? This new XF has massive appeal, partly due to its more contemporary look and partly due to its attractive £30k list price and comprehensive equipment list.
More pertinently, this 2.2-litre version is capable of a very impressive 52.3mpg on average.
Hang on, though, that’s still quite juicy compared with a BMW 520d’s 57.6mpg.
More telling, the ’ 149g/km CO2 output places it four bands higher in the company car taxation scale. As a result, you can expect to pay £41 per month more in tax than you will with the BMW. If you’re heart is set on an XF, though, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re driving one of the best executive cars on sale.
BMW 5 Series
What Car? says
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