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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
2015 Jaguar XF 3.0 TDV6 S

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.

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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

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Comments
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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
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.

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.

17 August 2015
Having read the review there are a few issues that seem to have been glossed over in the interests of "bigging up" another new Jaguar. First, this car runs a V6 diesel so should be smoother than a nasty 4 cylinder Ingenium diesel (see the review of the i4 180 version) but the reviewer tells us that "at around 2000rpm, there’s a distinctive diesel rattle. Once you know it’s there, it’s hard to ignore". So it is noisy when should really be quiet - 200rpm is hardly high revs after all. Then we are told that the usually brilliant ZF auto handles the engine as follows: "Power is managed expertly in most cases... 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 reviewer goes on to state:

"The thrill of full throttle is diminished as the gearbox ponderously selects the appropriate gear, too. It’s a minor niggle, definitely"

Minor niggle? Not really as one assumes that a driver selecting "Sport" wants instant power and response and by the sound of it he is not going to get it. This could lead to a certain amount of "consternation" when overtaking for example. Compare this to the same ZF gearbox currently fitted to BMW products where the power is served up instantly in Sport mode.

So what we have is an evolutionary styled XF - no bad thing the original was good looking. An aluminium intensive chassis and body - good effort to reduce weight. Slightly more room - no bad thing in itself but we are talking fractions of an inch. similarly a slightly smaller car than the one it replaces - again not a bad thing but it is only fractions of an inch here and there. But with an engine that seems to be both noisy and reluctant to perform and which is still not as good on fuel or emissions as a current BMW 530d (134g/km and 55.4mpg combined versus 144g/km and 51.4mpg for the new XF) - a car that is due to be replaced in 2017 and which will use a carbon-fibre, aluminium and steel chassis and body. As others have commented the XF might beat some of its direct competitors at the moment but when those cars are replaced the XF is in danger of looking very old fashioned.

What will it take for Autocar to just admit that Jaguar are producing some good cars again but they are far from being "class leading"? That Jaguar cars are competitive and sell well is good news for the UK car industry but continually creating reasons why some quite worrying flaws (noisy, relatively dirty and reluctant engines) can be overlooked is not a good idea and does not seem to be objective journalism.

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