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Jaguar XF engines, drive and performance

2015 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.4 out of 54.4

Written by Parkers Experts Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 1 February 2021

  • Efficient four-cylinder petrols and diesels
  • Simplified engine range from 2021
  • Best for performance is the 300hp petrol

The engine range was simplified down to three choices as part of the 2021 facelift, with one mild hybrid diesel and two petrol engines. All are 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder units and come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

All-wheel drive brings the benefit of additional traction and stability in poor conditions and is available as an option on the diesel, but comes fitted as standard on the most powerful petrol. These systems do add weight, though, meaning they are slightly slower and less efficient.

Powering the bulk of Jaguar XF saloons will be the 204hp mild hybrid diesel, designed to deliver high efficiency without sacrificing performance. It takes 7.6 seconds to get from 0-62mph, with a top speed of 146mph. The all-wheel drive version takes 7.8 seconds and has a slightly lower 143mph top speed.

While this engine isn’t particularly characterful, it is at least refined, flexible and eager to rev. With 430Nm of torque, there’s plenty of muscle and it doesn’t even feel off the pace compared with the more powerful D240 option that was previously available.

Jaguar XF Ingenium engine

That said, the automatic transmission plays a big part when it comes to accessing the engine’s performance. Whether you want to execute a quick overtaking manoeuvre or ease up to motorway speeds, its decision-making is a strong point – knowing whether to change down a gear or to simply make use of the engine’s torque. This is a genuinely good all-rounder and if you want maximum flexibility and effortlessness, it’s the way to go.

Two petrol alternatives

The base P250 petrol engine produces 250hp and 365Nm of torque, which is offered in conjunction with rear-wheel drive. The 0-62mph dash takes 6.9 seconds and it can reach 155mph.

Jaguar XF 2.0-litre Ingenium engine
Jaguar XF 2.0-litre Ingenium engine

At the top of the petrol range is the 300hp P300, which also produces a stout 400Nm of torque. Only offered with all-wheel drive, this reaches 62mph in 6.1 seconds, and will carry on to a limited 155mph.

Engines no longer available

There used to be a wider range of diesel engines, starting with the 2.0-litre producing 163hp and 380Nm of torque, coming with the choice of a standard six-speed manual or optional 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 135g/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.

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 version 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 this V6 XF to get from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.

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 higher-spec Portfolio or S variants, bumping up the cost further.

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 2021 handling front
Jaguar XF 2021 handling front

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, 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.

Jaguar XF 2021 handling rear
Jaguar XF 2021 handling rear

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, even in stop-start traffic.