The Jaguar XF has been at the heart of Jaguar's renaissance since it went on sale in March 2008, and continues to be its standard-bearer to this day.

But while the Jaguar XF gave its makers a car to be truly proud of, it has taken a long time for Jaguar to really exploit that advantage.

The bigger-engined XF range has proven adept at taking on all-comers at the upper levels of the class since its introduction, with the 3.0-litre diesel available in two states of tune and 3.0 petrol attracting many plaudits, and the 5.0 V8 underneath the bonnet of the mighty Jaguar XFR stealing many headlines.

However it took until cosmetic and detail technical tweaks for the 2012 model year before the XF became available with a 2.2-litre diesel, a type of engine whose sales dominate the sector. Now in 161 and 197bhp states of tune, it rivals the ubiquitous BMW 520d or equivalent Mercedes E-Class.

Meanwhile, deliveries of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake - a sports estate in modern parlance - began in 2012, finally giving the XF the extended line-up it has long deserved.

All-wheel drive Jaguar XFs are sold in markets outside the UK, while the Chinese market also gets the option of a smaller petrol engine.

Top 5 Mid-size execs

  • The Jaguar XF is a sublime British executive saloon. It has a tremendous interior and even greater dynamics

    Jaguar XF

    1
  • Superb engine and cabin, but ride and handling let the side down

    BMW 5-series

    2
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class

    3
  • Audi A6
    The Audi A6 is a car that delivers in every area

    Audi A6

    4
  • The Lexus GS is unusual in the part of the market in not offering a diesel option

    Lexus GS

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • The Kia Venga 1.4 CRDi SR7 costs from £14,895
    First Drive
    1 April 2015
    Looking for a practical, no-nonsense car for ferrying the family about? This facelifted Kia Venga could be an option, but is it better than its rivals?
  • First Drive
    1 April 2015
    The Mirai is Toyota's first stab at a UK production hydrogen fuel cell-powered car. What's it like to drive and does it make sense?
  • First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Lavishly-equipped, rugged-looking Peugeot 508 estate is a pleasant drive, but there are many more recommendable alternatives
  • 308 GT 1.6-litre petrol is priced from £24,095
    First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Peugeot's given the 308 the engine from the 208 GTi 30th and some chassis upgrades; we find out if the changes bring a bit of old-school Peugeot hot-hatch magic to this likeable family hatch.
  • Car review
    26 March 2015
    Does Suzuki's new city runabout have what it takes to succeed?