From £31,7308
The popularity of four-wheel-drive saloons has prompted Jaguar to offer an all-paw XF. Can it beat Audi at its own game?

Our Verdict

The second generation Jaguar XF

Is the new XF a car to excite or just an overly conservative sequel?

What is it?

Although this Jaguar XF may look no different to versions we’ve previously tested, there’s a significant change beneath its aluminium architecture. For the first time, the British brand’s executive saloon is available with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system that was first seen in the F-Type.

Unlike a permanent system that drives all four wheels all the time, Jaguar’s system powers only the rear wheels until extra traction is required. This should help agility while giving the kind of all-weather dependability drivers of the Audi A6 quattro love so much.

Naturally, there is a penalty for the additional hardware. Weight is up by around 100kg with an increase in carbon emissions and fuel consumption too. It should also be noted that you are restricted to Jaguar's 177bhp Ingenium diesel and eight-speed ZF auto if you want an AWD model.

What's it like?

Those expecting the extra grip to equate to a faster 0-62mph time will be disappointed; the XF AWD is nearly half a second slower against the clock if the official figures are to be believed. However, its top speed is unchanged, should your route to work involve an unrestricted autobahn.

While 8.4sec doesn’t sound too shabby a 0-62mph figure, the AWD feels more sluggish than this suggests. Ultimately, acceleration is adequate, and the car never felt strained accelerating to, and sitting at 130kmh on our French autoroute drive.

In normal driving conditions, the XF AWD feels little different to the two-wheel drive model. The steering remains as quick and accurate as ever, which helps the XF feel far more agile than you might expect from a big saloon - the stiffer suspension of the R-Sport test car helped further.

Firming up the XF may help handling, but it doesn't help comfort. Rough surfaces agitate the ride, although it never becomes outright unpleasant. If you’re swayed by the racy styling of the R-Sport model, you'll put up with it, but the Prestige and Portfolio models have a softer set-up and a more compliant ride.

It’s really only when you push the XF hard enough to begin losing traction that the differences between two and four-wheel drive XFs become apparent. Of course, on wet and icy roads, the difference is seen sooner. On dry roads, you'll have to be trying exceedingly hard to get power sent to the front wheels.

If you do manage to unstick the rear tyres, the tail of the car steps out only fractionally and momentarily before the AWD system shuffles power around, pulling the car out of the slide before it becomes even slightly out of control. It’s safe, but still much more exciting than the equivalent Audi system.

As for the rest of the car, it’s much the same as any other XF. That means an attractive interior, decent rear space and a bigger boot than any of its rivals. It also means material quality that is still behind the likes of Audi and a diesel engine that is less refined than the best out there.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for an all-wheel-drive saloon car but still want to have some fun, the XF is worth serious consideration. Sure, you can get a much faster diesel engine in an Audi A6 with quattro AWD, but the A6 is undoubtedly a blunter instrument.

The XF blends the security of four driven wheels with more playfulness than you get from the Audi. It should also prove similarly economical; according to the Jaguar’s trip computer at least, we averaged more than 46mpg over 600 miles of driving.

For the vast majority of people, however, the two-wheel-drive XF will be an even better bet. Unless you live somewhere that gets snow regularly, the standard XF is quicker, more economical and even more playful to drive.

2016 Jaguar XF 2.0d 180 AWD R-Sport

Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £38,650; Engine four-cylinder, 1999cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 178bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 318lb ft at 1750-2000rpm; Gearbox eight-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1700kg; Top speed 136mph; 0-62mph 8.4sec; Economy 57.7mpg; CO2/tax band 129g/km, 23%

Join the debate

Comments
11

23 March 2016

"In normal driving conditions, the XF AWD feels little different to the two-wheel drive model. The steering remains as quick and accurate as ever, which helps the XF feel far more agile than you might expect from a big saloon - the stiffer suspension of the R-Sport test car helped further.

Firming up the XF may help handling, but it doesn't help comfort. Rough surfaces agitate the ride, although it never becomes outright unpleasant. If you’re swayed by the racy styling of the R-Sport model, you'll put up with it, but the Prestige and Portfolio models have a softer set-up and a more compliant ride."

According to the Jaguar website, Sport suspension is not on the 180 AWD R-Sport........

23 March 2016
Will86 wrote:

...

Just buy an A6 and be content you bought the better car...

jer

23 March 2016

X drive 3 series I see around. But then again thats maybe BMW putting seeding the market to make people think they need 4wd. I would say though its not going to be useful in the the 2.0 its the 3.0 S that needs it for year round traction.

24 March 2016

I've noted elsewhere, Jaguar need to lose the hype and blandness, get some sense in the pricing along with Land Rover and sort themselves some decent engines-the Germans knock them into next week with regards to powertrains and interior quality, otherwise they're tinkling in the wind to put it politely. Shame really.

26 March 2016

Is this more of the sickening British bad management which was responsible together with the unions of destroying the UK car industry? How can Jaguar be so lead footed wrong footed lethargic footed and club footed to bring to market entirely the wrong engine car for AWD ?? Shoot the marketing department for allowing it to happen and shoot the tech department for actually doing it. Jag you just lost one sale for sure. It was top of my list - but right now after reading this it has not just been crossed off its been eradicated without trace

what's life without imagination

27 March 2016

R - Sport = 0-100 clicks in 8,2sec? Sport?????
Don't you poms have any laws there about such false advertising? This is a dog, which is hardly surprising with a little 4 cylinder trying to drag 1,7 tonnes around. Sorry, but this is plain uncompetitive - doesn't matter how good the grip is, if it can't pull away from the lights better than this.

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

27 March 2016
Aussierob wrote:

R - Sport = 0-100 clicks in 8,2sec? Sport?????
Don't you poms have any laws there about such false advertising? This is a dog, which is hardly surprising with a little 4 cylinder trying to drag 1,7 tonnes around. Sorry, but this is plain uncompetitive - doesn't matter how good the grip is, if it can't pull away from the lights better than this.

G'day Robbo. It ain't nothing t'do with only having 4 cylinders. It's the power output they make and the weight of car. Hell I know it ain't no Holden V8 but ain't that bad for what it's got.

27 March 2016

To point out that the Jaguar's power to weight ratio is the problem. But Commodores aren't badged "Sport" and nobody calls them that. They're just family saloons with a decent engine, which this Jag is not. When are Europeans gonna get over the diesel thing? It's dirty and that's it.
Robbo
(And how did you know that was my name?)

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

27 March 2016
Aussierob wrote:

To point out that the Jaguar's power to weight ratio is the problem. But Commodores aren't badged "Sport" and nobody calls them that. They're just family saloons with a decent engine, which this Jag is not. When are Europeans gonna get over the diesel thing? It's dirty and that's it.
Robbo
(And how did you know that was my name?)

Europeans will not get over the diesel thing unless they are forced to, which they should be. Agreed they dirty engines. Until successive Governments stop relying so much on fuel taxation as a form of easy income fuel costs will remain extortionately high and diesels will live on. The sport saloon bit is just marketing bullsh1t, something JLR are masters of and whilst there are so many gullable tossers willing to sit back and soak it all in, it'll continue.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run