Jaguar XF: new diesels first drive

* New diesel and petrol engines * Diesels are cleaner and more frugal * £3000 extra for higher-powered diesel...

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What Car? Staff
11 March 2009

Jaguar XF: new diesels first drive

You've got to love progress. The new engines in the updated Jaguar XF are larger and more powerful yet more efficient than those they replace.

Most important are the new diesels the old 2.7-litre V6 has been replaced by two new 3.0-litre V6s, with 237 or 271bhp. That's a big increase over the 2.7's 204bhp and there are similarly large boosts in low-down pull. Fuel economy has risen by 4.4mpg to 42.0mpg (for both versions), while CO2 emissions have dropped from 199- to 179 g/km.

It all looks good on paper and things are just as good in practice. We drove the higher-powered (S) version and, as you'd expect, it's substantially quicker than the 2.7. Maybe not as quick outright as you might expect such a powerful car would be, but by any other criteria it's swift. Crucially, low-rev responses which are what Jaguar really wanted to improve are much stronger.

The petrol line-up has changed, too. Out goes the lacklustre 4.2 V8; in comes an all-new direct-injection 5.0 V8 that's in a different league for responsiveness and flexibility. It's a cracking engine and slightly more efficient than its predecessor, but it's hardly frugal and, in the current climate, we can see why it's a special order-only model.

If it's not broken

Other changes are pretty small: new door mirrors, wheels and interior trim options keep the looks fresh, while an acoustic windscreen means the cabin is even quieter. Refinement has always been one of the XF's strong points and it's now more hushed than ever.

The XF has always been rewarding to drive, too; the new engines (and tweaked transmissions) supply a smoother, more accessible flow of power that complements the crisp handling and sensitive steering perfectly. Ride quality is also outstanding: body movement is well controlled, yet the XF glides over poor roads like few cars in this or any other class can.

Downsides? There aren't any. The 3.0 V6 diesel costs a little more than the outgoing 2.7, but because it sits four categories lower for company car tax, business users actually end up paying less.

Our verdict New engines make the XF even more appealing than ever

Jaguar XFPrice from: TBC
On sale: Now
You'll like: Better than ever, thanks to new engines
You won't: £3000 premium for higher-powered diesel