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

  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried
  • First Drive
    27 February 2015
    Dual motors and a power hike give Tesla's electric family car supercar acceleration - and the rest of the package is as strong as ever
  • Car review
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.