The entry-level 2.2 diesels - with 161bhp or 197bhp - will suit company car drivers best, but the brawnier 3.0 V6 diesels suit the car’s sporty character much better. Two are available, with either 237bhp or 271bhp, and we recommend the lower-powered version. If you don't care about running costs, there's the supercharged 3.0 V6 or the 5.0-litre petrol V8 that gives the XFR 503bhp.
There’s a firmness to the ride at low speeds – particularly if you add the optional adaptive suspension – but the XF has a more forgiving ride than many rivals. Once you’re going at a decent pace, it displays a terrific balance of control and suppleness. The fluid handling, sensitive steering and plentiful grip help to make any journey a joy.
There’s a little wind- and road noise on the motorway – more than you hear in a BMW 5 Series – but the XF is a brilliantly refined long-distance cruiser nonetheless. The diesels come with a super-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. The six-speed auto in the V8 isn’t quite as slick.
The XF is competitively priced – especially when you take the generous standard equipment into account – and resale values are pretty strong. However, other execs are cleaner and more economical, so they make cheaper company cars.
From the stitched leather dashboard and door cappings to the aluminium and wood furnishings and the blue mood lighting, the XF has real wow factor. However, some panels feel rather cheap, and the assembly isn’t up to BMW standards. However, the XF beat all its rivals in the 2012 JD Power survey, and finished second overall out of the 118 cars studied.
The XF has all that’s expected – and more. As well as systems that help you avoid an accident and others that minimise the effects of one, it also looks after pedestrians by using a bonnet that springs up in a collision. It’s a little disappointing, then, that the car only scored a four-star rating from Euro NCAP. There’s no shortage of security kit, so your investment should be well protected.
The XF’s dashboard looks great, but there are some issues. The touch-screen icons can be difficult to hit on the move, and the menus can be confusing. Rear visibility isn’t great, but you get a brilliant driving position, which is adjusted electrically.
You can't have a coupe-like roofline without sacrificing some headroom, while the transmission tunnel makes it a car for two in the back rather than three. Only the tallest adults will suffer, though, and legroom is fine. There's also a proper boot - a minimum of 500 litres of space, with fold-down rear seats so you can enlarge it.
The standard equipment list is an impressively long one. You don’t just get the expected – thing such as wood, leather and climate control – but also a range of more modern features such as Xenon headlights and keyless go. Most models also get touch-screen satellite-navigation with voice controls.
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For us, this engine provides the ideal blend of power, refinement and purchase and running costs. It helps make the Jaguar XF 3.0D V6 Luxury the best XF.