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Jaguar's second-generation XF is a more advanced product in every sense - and is well in contention for class leadership
Darren Moss
15 August 2015

What is it?

Back in 2007, the original XF became the new face of Jaguar. Liberated from the shackles of Ford ownership and backed by Tata, Jaguar was free to carve its own path in the premium car segment, starting with its XF.

Almost eight years down the line, the second-generation XF is getting ready to pick up the baton from its predecessor. With prices starting from £32,300 it’s being pitched squarely against the giants of the premium saloon segment – where sales power is balanced between the bonnets of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The new XF is claimed to be lighter, more efficient and more technologically advanced than the car it replaces. Key to that lightness is the new iQ[Al] aluminium-intensive platform shared with the smaller XE – meaning that the new XF is as much as 190kg lighter than the old model, with a body-in-white weighing just 282kg and a kerb weight as low as 1455kg.

The new XF has also shrunk compared to the outgoing car, with its dimensions making it marginally shorter (7mm) and lower (3mm) than the current XF – although it has a 51mm longer wheelbase. Jaguar is promising best-in-class space for rear passengers – one of the few areas of contention on the old car.

Three engine options will be available in the UK. The majority of sales – of which around 45% will go to fleets – will come from the 178bhp, 317lb ft four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine, while a 161bhp/280lb ft version is also available.

The same 375bhp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine as found in the F-Type is also available, and sits at the very top of the range. The model tested here, however, is a 296bhp, 516lb ft version of the familiar 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel - offered in the UK in range-topping S trim only.

What's it like?

Very competent indeed. The new XF is every bit as impressive as the current model, and then some.

While the Ingenium engines may take the vast majority of sales, it’s this V6 turbodiesel where keener drivers are likely to find a home. The 3.0-litre unit is responsive and powerful from very low down in the rev range, with the maximum 516lb ft of torque (100lb ft more than the old 3.0-litre V6) being unleashed from just 2000rpm.

It doesn’t sound as sporting as you might like, emitting only a faintly performance-orientated tone higher up the rev range. In fact, at around 2000rpm, there’s a distinctive diesel rattle. Once you know it’s there, it’s hard to ignore.

Power is managed expertly in most cases by the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission – selected via the new roundel in the centre console. We say in 'most cases' because, while the transmission does an excellent job in Drive mode, when Sport is selected the downshifts are accompanied by the odd pause.

The thrill of full throttle is diminished as the gearbox ponderously selects the appropriate gear, too. It’s a minor niggle, definitely, and can be negated by using the wheel-mounted paddle shifters for faster changes.

The XF’s dynamic qualities have only been enhanced in its second generation. The steering feel, agility and cornering stability we loved about the original XF remain in this new model, but it’s all been subtly tweaked. The steering is even more accurate and full of feeling, resulting in excellent front-end responses. It’s also joined by a ride that feels comfortable on the motorway but firms up at lower speeds.

The XF’s redesigned cabin is comfortable and spacious, and while there may only be an extra 3mm of rear legroom compared to the BMW 5 Series, it makes a difference. A six-foot adult can sit on the back bench in comfort over long distances without any trouble.

One highlight is the new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which will be optional on XF models by the end of this year. It’s pricey, at £1200, but gives the XF a genuinely more premium feel.

Gesture controls are similar to those used by a smartphone, while the wide 10.2in interface (replacing the standard 8.0in screen) lends itself well to the XF’s cabin. It’s joined by a 12.3in digital instrument cluster – also optional – that is also configurable by the driver.

Should I buy one?

While a full verdict will have to wait until we’ve driven the new XF on home turf, it’s safe to say that Jaguar has come very close to creating a new class leader. Its rivals all have their merits – the A6 has a nicer cabin overall, the E-Class is the most comfortable and the 5 Series represents the best value for money – but the XF has only grown stronger in its second generation.

While most fleet buyers will be satisfied with the Ingenium engines, private buyers should look closely at this 3.0-litre turbodiesel. In this form, Jaguar’s XF shines brightest, and is capable of being both a comfortable commuter and a sports saloon. It’s a mix that is usually hard to achieve, but one that Jaguar has pulled off very well.

Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 S

Location Pamplona, Spain; On sale Now; Price £49,945; Engine V6, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power 296bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1750kg; 0-60mph 5.8sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 51.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 144g/km, 25%

Read Autocar's first drive in the 2015 Jaguar XF 2.0 i4D 180 R-Sport

Join the debate

Comments
16

15 August 2015
Autocar wrote:

...While a full verdict will have to wait until we’ve driven the new XF on home turf, it’s safe to say that Jaguar has come very close to creating a new class leader.

Why does the full verdict have to wait for the home drive? You've stated that it is better than the old XF, which is already the class leader in Autocar's estimation (see the 'Mid Size Exec' Top 5 in this very website). So, surely it automatically follows that the new XF is the class leader.

Not forgetting of course that this is a JLR car and this an Autocar review, which means...... :)

15 August 2015
What's the transparent rectangular plate behind the badge on the front grille? Something to do with collision avoidance tech?

15 August 2015
As if foreign roads are THAT much different to UK roads..! How the heck is this preventing you from giving a full blown recommendation when you've already gone and awarded it 4.5 stars?

15 August 2015
Jaguar has had three attempts working with the design language first premiered in the C-XF concept (the original XF, XJ, and now this XF). With this car I feel Jaguar have finally found a harmony for those design motifs. Though a fan of the mark 1 XF and a big fan of the current XJ, I sense a completeness in this car that I could never quite arrive at with its siblings (the slightly awkward relationship between grill and lights on the XF, rear on the XJ). There seems a coalescence of the lessons learned from its sibling cars here. Where in the past there may have been minor compromises, here it seems less so. The light work or ‘Jewellery’ of Jaguar’s competitors is excellent, Audi’s light research, BMWs laser lights etc. This has always felt an area where Jaguar could improve. With this second generation XF front clusters are full LED and beautifully rendered. (I also find this interesting in relation to the new XE. I’m intrigued why, unlike the new A4, the XE doesn’t have full LED rendered headlights ala new XF? Similarly no digital dashboard? The upcoming F-PACE will have both of these and I found it strange that the XE didn’t appear at launch with these features, as it would have given a safe design a whiff of modernity.) In the Mark 2 XF I see a restrained elegance, an understated glamour, echoed by the interior, speaking of which, full digital display with 10.2 inch interface, this is more like it. It’s taken a while to arrive at this point (and there’s a debate as to whether this car is a generation late … not in a 'dated' sense, more in the 'impact' the original XF could have had to be an epoch car, ala mark 1 A4 or Alfa 156) but personally, this is the one. Stylish, car, certainly over its competitors and much more in this guise than any R version. Bravo Jaguar. Now its time to move the language along.

15 August 2015
Better looking both inside and out compared to the XE, I especially like the headlight and front-end design. Jaguar does do very handsome front-ends.

Cyborg

15 August 2015
Seven years later what a beautiful revival of this magnificent brand. One cracker after the other. In this time of hyper hybrids, Jaguar could only excel by going ahead with the CX-75.

16 August 2015
Good to see the inclusion of a three quarter light window, so at least you can differentiate it from an XE. I wonder if it will actually accommodate four 6 footers now? BUT that dash has a strong influence of Toyota Auris about it. Please Jaguar, what is going on with your interior design? XJ with tacked on air vents, this looking like a mid-range Toyota and the XE has a whiff of Peugeot 209 about the dash.

16 August 2015
I think this is a handsome looking car, better than the XE in my mind.

marj wrote:

BUT that dash has a strong influence of Toyota Auris about it. Please Jaguar, what is going on with your interior design?

While I agree that Jag's current interior design doesn't exactly set the world alight, but I can't see it being like the Avensis' interior at all.

16 August 2015
looks slightly dated to me now, in a comfortable, midde of the road way. I guess that's what styling 'maturity' means, combined with the spunky younger brother XE appearing on the scene..

17 August 2015
It doesn't matter whether it's better than the current E-class, it has to be better than the new E-class which is due soon. Is it? I don't know, but we'll find out soon enough.

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