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BMW 5 Series vs Jaguar XF

  • Jaguar XF goes head-to-head with the BMW 5 Series
  • Low-CO2-emitting engines means low monthly bills
  • Yours for less than £130 a month - but which is the better choice?*

Large executive saloons like the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF offer plenty of interior space, a big boot and the kind of luxury that you don’t get in a hatchback.

For a long time the German mainstay has been the go-to choice for the enthusiastic driver, but Jaguar’s relative newcomer is proving to be worth a look too.

Either way, a big car doesn’t have to mean big bills – thanks to low-emission diesel engines you can have one of these comfortable cruisers for less than you would think.

Our pick:

  • BMW 5 Series Saloon (10 on) 518d (150bhp) Luxury 4d Step Auto
  • Jaguar XF Saloon (15 on) 2.0d Portfolio 4d Auto

Both of these cars are powered by four-cylinder two-litre diesel engines and use eight-speed automatic gearboxes for additional smoothness on the move.

The BMW is less expensive to buy but produces more CO2 than the Jaguar, so there’s only £2 a month BIK difference to a 20 percent tax payer. For a 5 Series in this specification you’ll pay £123 a month, whereas an XF could be yours for £121 a month.

Running costs are broadly similar too – with the Jag promising 68mpg and the BMW claiming 64mpg is possible.

Practicality

Neither car could be accused of being cramped, with masses of interior space wherever you sit. Rear passengers do particularly well in these large executive saloons, with bags of leg room on offer.

A large transmission tunnel in both cars providing power to the rear wheels means there’s not a lot of space for a middle-seated passenger, so it’s best to stick to four occupants on long journeys.

The Jag also suffers slightly for rear head room thanks to a sloping coupe-like roofline.

Boot space is comparable with 520 litres in the BMW and 540 litres in the XF, and the latter now comes with a wider aperture than before, so it’s easier to fit things in.

Performance

The Jaguar gets its nose ahead early here with a bit more power – it produces 160bhp compared to the BMW’s 147bhp. This means it gets from 0-60mph a bit quicker too, taking 8.2 seconds, just under a second quicker than the BMW.

With its lightweight aluminium chassis it also impresses on a twisty road too, offering balance and poise as well as heady levels of grip.

The overly-firm ride of the previous 5 Series is gone so it offers exception levels of comfort too. Composure is available in spades too - you’ll always feel like the BMW is in control.

Equipment

Those familiar with Jaguar cars of old will feel right at home in our Portfolio car. It comes with an electrically-heated windscreen, a reversing camera, front parking sensors, and 17-inch alloys.

Inside you’ll sit on electrically adjustable seats trimmed in soft ‘Windsor’ leather, plus there are luxurious carpet mats and a 380W Meridian sound system.

The Luxury spec 5 Series is just that, with lots of chrome and 18-inch alloys on the outside, plus fine-wood trim inside, high-quality leather seats and a hard-disc sat-nav system.

Verdict

In days gone by it would be easy to recommend the BMW 5 Series as the driver’s choice but the lightweight aluminium chassis of the Jaguar XF has definitely changed the game.

Both are excellent to drive, as well as offering good equipment levels at this specification, so the decision of which to buy is now harder than ever.

However in this showdown of incremental differences it’s the faster, more economical, and larger-booted Jaguar XF we’d choose.

*Monthly tax costs are based on a 20 percent tax payer for the current 2015/16 tax year assuming no optional extras. BIK tax bands and P11D values correct at time of publication