Proving executive saloons can sate enthusiasts and be comfortable
- Elegant, athletic design
- Engaging handling
- Technology laden
- Efficient engines
- Petrol versions thirsty
- Cabin less interesting
- Rivals feel more luxurious
Replacing a car that heralded a fresh, new start for a brand is quite an ominous task but it’s the one facing the second generation Jaguar XF saloon.
The latest mid-sized Jaguar saloon is a more careful evolution of the four-door coupe shape, but it’s one that's dramatic and bristling with subtle detailing.
Lighter and more spacious
Despite being fractionally shorter and lower than the outgoing model, the Jaguar XF is significantly more spacious, thanks in a large part to a 51mm longer wheelbase, liberating more space for rear seat passengers. A 540-litre boot is also a welcome benefit.
It doesn’t set class benchmarks for cabin roominess but it’s capable of carrying two six-foot-tall adults in the back without them feeling cramped.
Not only is the cabin more spacious, it’s made to feel airier too, thanks to a greater glass area, which includes a third side window just behind the rear doors; it makes the back seat feel noticeably less claustrophobic.
This generation of Jaguar XF is 190kg lighter than the outgoing model and the entry-level diesel model tips the scales 80kg lower than its nearest competitor.
It’s also more aerodynamic (drag coefficient of 0.26), which combined with the weight reduction, lowers fuel consumption.
Efficient suite of diesel and petrol engines
There are seven engine options, four of which are diesels and these account for the bulk of XF sales.
Available in three power outputs – 163hp, 180hp and with two turbos 240hp – the 2.0-litre diesel motors deliver performance that’s commensurate with the Jaguar name.
Captivating performance isn’t what these XFs are all about though. Low running costs are the focus: choose the 163hp diesel with the standard six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive, and Jaguar claims an average of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km – one of the lowest in this segment for a non-hybrid powertrain.
All versions are available with the excellent eight-speed automatic too, which Jaguar expects to be the most popular option for the XF when combined with the 180hp engine. Even in this guise 65.7mpg is claimed, with emissions of 114g/km for the rear-wheel drive version.
Should you require the extra traction of all-wheel drive then you’re restricted to the 2.0-litre engines.
More performance is on offer with S specification Jaguar XF saloons – both are 3.0-litre capacity V6 engines, one a twin-turbo diesel, the other a supercharged petrol shared with the F-Type, producing 900hp and 380hp, respectively. The eight-speed automatic is the only transmission choice with these two.
Both will reach a governed 155mph, with the petrol version completing the 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds, almost a second quicker than the V6 diesel.
Outright efficiency isn’t the petrol’s strong point – 34.0mpg and 198g/km of CO2 reinforce that – but the diesel could well be within the budget of many motorists with a claimed 51.4mpg and emissions of 144g/km.
Improved handling and steering
Jaguar has embraced the benefits of the XF’s light, stiff body to enhance the car’s handling and, despite its size, it feels nimble and lithe as you scythe through challenging bends.
There’s an electric power-assisted steering system too that not only delivers an impressive degree of feel through the wheel it improves fuel efficiency by three percent over a conventional hydraulic alternative.
Further, there are adaptive dampers to vary the sportiness of the handling, without compromising comfort and a much-needed overhaul of the XF’s infotainment features, with two versions of Jaguar’s InTouch system available.
Jaguar XF saloon model history
- April 2015 – Second-generation XF saloon available to order with first deliveries in late summer. Lighter aluminium construction and more efficient engines improve economy of the rear-wheel drive range. Prestige, Portfolio and R-Sport models have a choice of 2.0-litre diesel engines in 163hp and 180hp formats, while the sportier S versions come with 3.0-litre V6 powerplants with 300hp for the diesel and 380hp for the supercharged petrol.
- January 2016 – All-wheel drive versions of the 180hp 2.0-litre diesel are now available to order.
- February 2017 – Modifications to the engine range centre around a new generation of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines in 200hp (rear-wheel drive) and 250hp (rear- and all-wheel drive) formats. The diesel offering is enhanced with a twin-turbo version of the 2.0-litre powerplant producing 240hp, available in both rear- and all-wheel drive guises. Additional improvements include a Gesture Boot Lid that can be opened by wiggling a foot under the back bumper, an improved blind-spot assist system and on Portfolio versions 20-way adjustable front seats with winged head rests.