From £29,375
The XF’s strengths of styling and chassis balance still shine, but CO2 emissions should be lower

Our Verdict

Jaguar XF 2008-2015
The Jaguar XF is a sublime British executive saloon. It has a tremendous interior and even greater dynamics

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

15 March 2012

What is it?

This new lower-powered Jaguar XF diesel is all about carving out sales in the tough fleet market. Priced at its keenest point below £30k for this 161bhp 2.2-litre XF, the sales strategy is the brainchild of new Jaguar UK boss Jeremy Hicks, ex-Audi, whose team has negotiated keen leasing rates to maximise the sales potential of Jag’s excellent new four-cylinder diesel. Sales of four-pot oil-burners now dominate the executive saloon market like never before with a 65 per cent share and growing.

This entry-level engine makes 295lb ft of torque alongside its 161bhp — that’s 27bhp and 37lb ft less than the more powerful 188bhp. Spec-for-spec it’s £1000 cheaper than the higher-powered version, insurance groupings are lower and the annual company car tax is claimed to be £880 cheaper, too.

The main targets are the entry-level versions of the Audi A6 2.0d, BMW 520d and Merc E220CDi, particularly the latter, which in Executive SE trim is being marketed at an aggressive £359 per month on a typical 3+35 company rental. Jaguar has got the rental on the £31,500 Business SE version (includes touch-screen sat-nav) down to £399 per month.

Like so many well-priced entry-level versions, there’s plenty of value in this 161bhp XF. Particularly the engine, which is an electronically-tweaked version of the 188bhp.

What’s it like?

Very driveable and strong around the mid-range from just below 2000rpm, it delivers an elastic shove of torque right up to the red line. An eight-speed ZF auto is standard-fit and the engine/box tune is set-up to maximise performance in the mid-range.

So as soon as you demand performance to speed up the exit from a corner or to push past a slower vehicle, it steps down a gear. Together with keen throttle response, this XF feels eager on-the-move, and because the ZF box is so smooth in operation, it’s done without that ‘hunt-the-gear’ feeling of some autos.

As a result in give-and-take, everyday driving, rather than a test track evaluation, it would be hard to distinguish the 161bhp from the 188bhp, which makes it something of a bargain. The disappointment though is that the lower power output doesn’t translate into a lower CO2 rating — 149g/km is 17g/km higher than the E220CDi — which means three bands higher in the Benefit-In-Kind ratings.

Chassis-wise this XF has the same spring/damper and steering settings as the more powerful 2.2, which means light, precise steering and a supple chassis that glides over bigger bumps, yet maintains strong body control. The ride is also helped by standard 17in alloys, although they do look a little weedy. Unusually there’s not even the option to upgrade to 18in wheels at the factory level, which keeps the fleet deal simple, we guess.

We tested the top of the range Luxury model, which includes standard leather and auto 'box. The keenest price-point SE and SE Executive make do with part leather trim, which might detract from the cabin ambience.

Inside there’s still a luxury feel with its extensive swathes of wood, but other aspects are starting to age. Amazing to think that 2012 is only the XF’s fourth-year on sale, but in that time all-new A6 and 5-Series models have ratcheted-up interior design quality, suggesting the XF’s dials and information read-out are ready for a re-design. Small points, but our XF also had creaky-feel lesser interior trim parts and the door handles felt stiff.

Should I buy one?

No doubt the XF remains a handsome-looking and fine driving saloon, which this new 161bhp 2.2 builds on. And the keener pricing and lease rates are welcome, but for a company car tax special it really needs lower CO2 to sit at the top of the class.

Jaguar XF 2.2 (163PS) Luxury

Price: £32,950; Top speed: 130mph; 0-62mph: 9.8sec; Economy: 52.3mpg (combined); CO2: 149g/km; Kerb weight: 1745kg; Engine: 4cyl in-line, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Installation: Front, RWD; Power: 161bhp at 3500rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd auto; Fuel tank: 69.5 litres; Wheels: 17-inch, alloy; Tyres: 235/55 R17

Join the debate

Comments
45

507

16 March 2012

Compared to the BMW 520d EDE it lets out 30g(!) more Co2, is nearly 2seconds slower to 62Mph, only manages 4stars in Euro Ncap etc.

16 March 2012

To be fair to Jaguar, is the CO2 figure quoted for the Merc 220 an automatic?

16 March 2012

[quote Autocar]

...it would be hard to distinguish the 161bhp from the 188bhp, which makes it something of a bargain....[/quote]

Nice enough exec diesel, but is a 161 bhp 2.0d, at £33k base price, really "something of a bargain" ?

16 March 2012

[quote Mondeal]

To be fair to Jaguar, is the CO2 figure quoted for the Merc 220 an automatic?

[/quote]

E220 CDI BlueEfficiency 7 speed auto (since Dec 2011) - 57mpg and 129g/km. 0-60 in 8.1 secs.

So the Merc produces 20g/km less, 5 mpg more and does the 0-60 1.7 seconds quicker.

Even so, I'd still rather have the Jag! :)

16 March 2012

Never before have 17" wheels looked so weedy!

Are they really 17"???

16 March 2012

its good to see Jaguar moving down market, there will be plenty of interest in this i am sure.

I dont even think the 17 inch wheels look wrong, and they wont do the ride any harm. All in all i suspect its one of the better XF models.

16 March 2012

Poor Efficiency, Dull while at the same time chavy with those hideous lights, slow, high Co2 while at the same time expensive....... what company car driver (lets be honest this is who this is aimed at) would pick this over the Merc or BMW i sure as hell wouldnt pay almost double the tax for a car that was slower and less fun to drive.....

16 March 2012

[quote Vidge 123]what company car driver (lets be honest this is who this is aimed at) would pick this over the Merc or BMW[/quote]

Any company car driver who did not want to be thought of automatically as a company car driver in his common German company clone saloon.

16 March 2012

[quote Vidge 123]Poor Efficiency, Dull while at the same time chavy with those hideous lights, slow, high Co2 while at the same time expensive....... what company car driver (lets be honest this is who this is aimed at) would pick this over the Merc or BMW i sure as hell wouldnt pay almost double the tax for a car that was slower and less fun to drive[/quote]

Bang on Vidge, the XF is just not competitive in the fleet user chooser market. Jaguar should stick to selling limited numbers to its traditional older customers if it is not going to make a serious attempt to shift volume through fleet. Go away and come back when you have something worth our consideration!

16 March 2012

[quote Oilburner]

E220 CDI BlueEfficiency 7 speed auto (since Dec 2011) - 57mpg and 129g/km. 0-60 in 8.1 secs.

So the Merc produces 20g/km less, 5 mpg more and does the 0-60 1.7 seconds quicker.

[/quote]

That's why I'd take the Merc.

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