Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Efficient four-cylinder petrols and diesels
  • More powerful 3.0-litre twin turbo diesel available
  • Best for performance is the 300hp petrol

Performance – and efficiency – for the current Jaguar XF range is delivered from a six-strong line-up of diesel and petrol engines.

Powering the bulk of Jaguar XF saloons will be the firm’s four-cylinder Ingenium family of diesels, designed to deliver high efficiency without sacrificing performance.

The entry point to the XF range is the 2.0-litre diesel with 163hp and 380Nm of torque, with a choice of a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic gearbox. The manual version gets from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, while the automatic version does the same in 9.1 seconds. On the efficiency front, there's very little difference – although emissions for the automatic version are slightly higher at 135kg/km of CO2 compared to 124g/km of CO2.

Choose the 180hp version of the engine and top speed climbs to 136mph, while the 0-62mph time for the manual version drops to 9.2sec. The automatic is quicker still and takes 8.4sec to hit 62mph from a standstill.

Jaguar XF driving

While the diesel engines aren't particularly characterful, they are at least refined – for comparatively small diesels –  and feel flexible and linear in their power delivery, particularly when coupled to the automatic transmission. Go for the all-wheel drive versions of the XF and you'll benefit from additional traction and stability in poor conditions, but they're also heavier, slightly slower and less efficient.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine fitted with two turbos produces 240hp and 500Nm of torque. All-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox is standard, and the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in a suitably swift 6.9 seconds. Flat out, this verison will do 153mph.

You could argue that those stats render the heavier and more complicated 3.0-litre diesel redundant. It puts out 300hp and a whopping 700Nm, which allows the V6 XF to get from 0-62mph in 6.4sec – which won't be hugely noticable in the real world.

It's only fractionally faster, too, reaching 155mph instead of 153mph. You can only have this engine in conjunction with rear-wheel drive, making it more of a handful in wet or wintery conditions. It's also only offered in Portfolio or S variants, bumping up the cost further. 

That all said, the automatic transmission allows for easy access to the engine's colossal torque. Whether from a standstill or already close to motorway speeds, provoking the accelerator unleashes a surge of forward motion, allowing you to execute overtaking manoeuvres with ease. If you want maximum flexibility and effortlessness, it's the way to go.

Two petrol alternatives

Jaguar expanded its petrol range in early 2017 with 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged Ingenium units. All are fitted with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Jaguar XF Ingenium engine

The base petrol engine is now a 250hp and 365Nm 2.0-litre Ingenium, which is offered in conjunction with rear-wheel drive. The 0-62mph dash takes 6.7 seconds and it can reach 152mph.

At the top of the four-cylinder petrol range is 300hp Ingenium, which also produces a stout 400Nm of torque. Only offered in R-Sport or Portfolio trim, this reaches 62mph in 5.9 seconds, and will carry on to a limited 155mph.

The XF S: ultimate performance, but now only available used

The ultimate XF in terms of performance was the petrol 3.0-litre V6, which was discontinued in 2018. This supercharged 380hp unit delivered 450Nm of torque to the rear wheels.

While it’s fast and very entertaining to drive, we think the punchier diesel version, with its low-down torque, suits day-to-day driving in the XF a little better. However, when you opt to drive the petrol XF gently, the engine note is more hushed and docile at urban speeds.

Once again the top speed was electronically-limited to 155mph, but the 0-62mph time was just 5.3 seconds. You’d pay at the pumps though, with a claimed 34.0mpg and CO2 emissions of 198g/km.

How does it handle?

  • Lightweight aluminium body makes for agile handling
  • Buyers can choose different suspension set-ups
  • Revised steering delivers rewarding drive

Employing lightweight aluminium for the body not only makes the Jaguar XF particularly light and stiff, but the resultant side effect is improved handling over the outgoing version.

Comfort and agility

Jaguar has long been lauded for the comfort of its cars and the XF is no different, thanks in part to its well-chosen and optimised suspension set-up.

The double-wishbone front suspension is designed in such a way that maximises tyre contact with the road whether in a straight line or cornering, delivering agility that belies the XF’s size.

At the rear is an integral link system that allowed Jaguar’s engineers greater control over both handling characteristics and ride quality. It feels uncanny that a car which changes direction with such poise can ensure its passengers remain unruffled.

Different suspension set-ups available

Standard-fit suspension dampers have been improved so that the faster you go, the stiffer they become – which improves the handling of the Jaguar.

Jaguar XF handling

Adaptive dampers are also available, enhancing the experience further still. Even in its firmest setting the XF transmits few serious bumps through to the cabin, yet it feels even more composed and confidence-inspiring through high speed corners.

Configurable Dynamics, available on V6-engined version, allows the driver to further adjust accelerator response, gear change points and steering weight in addition to the suspension.

Rewarding to drive

The XF steering is now an electrically power-assisted system for greater fuel efficiency, and it feels immediate, accurate and with well-weighted responses.

Steering action is further enhanced with Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB), another technology seen first in the range on the F-Type, which gently brakes the inside wheels through bends mitigating the chances of the XF understeering and pushing wide through a corner.

The brakes feel impressive too, delivering excellent retardation with negligible evidence of fading despite repeated heavy use. They’re easy to modulate too, permitting gentle slowing.