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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.

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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

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spqr 1 September 2015

Calm Down Dear

Calm down dear, it is only a forum. The point being made is that at present on its release the new Jaguar XF is just about competitive with some rivals (BMW 5 Series) or slightly better than some (Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class). But between the release of the new Jaguar FX and 2017 BMW will be introducing a brand new 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz will be introducing the new E-Class and Audi will be bringing out a new A6/A7. As far as can be gauged at present from the products introduced by BMW (New 7 Series Carbon Core chassis, revised "B" series engines in the 3 Series, new iDrive iteration, hybrid drive train in the X5 xDrive 40e) and Mercedes-Benz (New C-Class, hybrid drive-trains, new engines etc) and Audi (E-Tron, new instrument panels, revisions to Quattro and aluminium construction) the new versions of rivals for the Jaguar XF will move the game on significantly. The 2015 Jaguar XF is a very competent car against rivals introduced between 2008 and 2010. For example to take just 2 issues, there are no plans from Jaguar for a hybrid XF and it does not seem from the report that the XF has been engineered with a hybrid in mind, the Jaguar "infotainment" is not as good as BMW's iDrive etc. It is doubtful it will be so competitive against the newer generation of German executive saloons being introduced from 2016 onwards. This is the point being made by a number of contributors.
Grunt 28 August 2015

Prejudiced

Some of the commentators here are so prejudiced against Autocar reviewing Jaguar cars that they get their panties all in a twist over minor niggles.

Don't trust Autocar's view? Have a look elsewhere. Reviewers around the globe agree to the Autocar verdict, even if Autocar is is listing more minor niggles left or right - I assume in an effort to appease those prejudiced against its verdict.

And, my dear spqr, no, they are not talking about fractions of an inch. They have a full inch more legroom, headroom and shoulder room, making for officially the most spacious of the contenders. "An engine that is noisy and relucant to perform"? That is what you make out of this, out of prejudice. Again, have a look elsewhere to take your head out of where it really has no place being.

BTW, the 4 cylinder Ingenium is not nasty. It is - again, according to international reviews - a damn sight smoother than the Mercedes 2.1 diesel, though not quite up to the standard of the latest BMW 2.0d. That is the proper perspective.

jer 18 August 2015

Torque difference

Difference old to new is 70lb ft. Jees certainly got people agitated.

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