From £31,7808
With a 375bhp supercharged V6 from the F-Type, the new XF's chassis gets its most thorough workout yet. It feels like it could take more, though

Our Verdict

Jaguar XF

The second-gen Jaguar XF excels, especially with its class-leading dynamics, but does it have enough in reserve to keep the new BMW 5 Series at bay?

What is it?

At the moment, this is the most potent version of the new Jaguar XF. Packing the same 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 as the most powerful six-cylinder F-Type, it puts 375bhp under your right foot.

Not only is it considerably more powerful than the range-topping diesel – that only has 296bhp – it also weighs 40kg less. Considering the diesel has an iron engine block as opposed the aluminium one fitted to this variant, a lot of that weight is coming off the front axle.

While that should assist handling, there's always the worry that the most powerful V6 could overwhelm the chassis. Our cold December test in the UK proved a stern test for the petrol XF S.

What's it like?

Impressively controllable. Despite the power increase, there’s still plenty of purchase on the road even when you disable the traction control. Sure, it’ll spin up the rear tyres quite happily in first gear, but a quick shift to second soon restores order.

Before long you learn to stop worrying about the rear tyres being overwhelmed and start to enjoy the drive. It has the same surprisingly swift feel to the steering that you get in lesser models and the same level of precision. Feedback is the best in class too.

This allows you to place the XF easily on the road and get a good idea of what the front end is doing. As you up the pace, you can feel the inherent balance of the chassis allowing you to carry speed across country with consummate ease.

Over a wide variety of surfaces – from four-lane motorways right the way down to single tracks with broken tarmac – the XF has exemplary body control. While it does always err on the firm side, this seems entirely in keeping with its sports saloon remit.

Even on 20in wheels, it's hard to fault the way it deals with bumps, compressions and potholes. There’s enough pliancy that it never becomes uncomfortable, while float and wallow are absent even with the suspension in Normal mode.

Wind things up to Dynamic and it can feel too hard for a typical UK B-road, although the added roll resistance and tighter body control is welcome. For normal use it’s unnecessary, but on smoother roads it certainly helped it feel even more sporting.

Indeed, our only complaint regarding the suspension is that the occasional sharp ridge or particularly nasty compression could send a thud through the chassis. It’s worth mentioning that this is something you hear much more than feel.

As for the engine, it’s certainly an effective unit once the revs have passed 3000rpm - no surprise when peak torque is up at 4500rpm. Those expecting a diesel-like shove from barely above idle may be disappointed, but then the oil-burner won’t spin round to 7000rpm.

As you’d hope from a supercharged unit, there’s no sudden lump of power. The ramp-up of urge is linear and very easy to judge with your right foot. It’s not as creamy as you might expect from a V6 though.

Nor is it particularly sonorous. You can tell there are six-cylinders and a supercharger under the bonnet, but the exhaust note doesn’t egg you on. Even cracking a window open doesn’t improve things; there’s none of the aural fireworks you get from an F-Type.

The gearbox is the familiar eight-speed ZF auto with paddles for manual shifts. For the most part it’s a smooth gearbox, although it does share the same hesitancy when pulling away from a standstill that seems to blight Jaguars.

As for the interior, like the other XFs we’ve tested it has a roomy cabin for passengers both front and rear. Thanks to plenty of adjustment, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel and at first glance this seems an attractive place to be.

Further investigation reveals some cheap-feeling plastics in surprisingly obvious places. This may be hard to stomach on a £32,000 car, but it's even more disappointing when you consider the model we tested costs more than £60,000 after options.

Not that you need to option too much. On top of the standard 8in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and a variety of connectivity options, the S also gains a powerful, high-quality Meridian sound system.

There are also heated leather sports seats up front, adaptive cruise control, keyless start, a suitably sporty bodykit with wide spaced twin exhaust pipes and adaptive dampers thrown in for the £49,945 asking price.

Should I buy one?

There’s no doubt that the supercharged V6 gives the chassis of the new XF its best workout yet. Despite the hike in power, it copes with the increase exceptionally well; you really can use the extra grunt without fear of it biting you.

Despite this, you’d have to really need a petrol powerplant in your life to opt for this engine. While official figures put combined fuel consumption at 34mpg, we got this figure well below 20mpg without too much trouble.

Carbon emissions are also predictably high at 198g/km, just 1g/km less than a much faster twin-turbo V8 BMW 550i. To further stick the knife in, the diesel V6 can feel just as quick if not quicker in real world situations. The petrol may have more outright power, but the diesel has far more torque that’s much easier to access.

Unsurprisingly, then, this motor will be a niche choice in this country. What it does show is that there’s plenty of scope for an even higher output under the bonnet. As a warm-up act for an R version, it works pretty well. 

Jaguar XF S 3.0 V6 380PS

Location Berkshire, UK; On sale Now; Price £49,945; Engine V6, 2995cc, supercharged petrol; Power 375bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1710kg; 0-60mph 5.1sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 34.0mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 198g/km, 34%

Join the debate

Comments
13

2 December 2015
I think Jag has really got to get on top of its perceived quality issues, especially with its interiors. The door cards, in particular, are of unfathomably poor quality plastic when the planners would have known that this is a car that has to stretch into the £ 80k+ price category with the upcoming 'R'.

The 'LR' of JLR proves that they can 'do interiors' but Jag's consistently poor showing with the XE and now the XF does not augur well. Perhaps that doesn't matter in the US and China ? For Jag's sake, let's hope so.

BertoniBertone

2 December 2015
BertoniBertone wrote:

I think Jag has really got to get on top of its perceived quality issues, especially with its interiors. The door cards, in particular, are of unfathomably poor quality plastic when the planners would have known that this is a car that has to stretch into the £ 80k+ price category with the upcoming 'R'.

The 'LR' of JLR proves that they can 'do interiors' but Jag's consistently poor showing with the XE and now the XF does not augur well. Perhaps that doesn't matter in the US and China ? For Jag's sake, let's hope so.

You are officially off Roadsters Christmas card list!!

2 December 2015
At the risk of upsetting Roadster further, I have to say that this particular combination of white paint with black trim and wheels is a bit rubbish: it looks bloated and under-wheeled in profile. The XF appears to be very colour sensitive and looks better in darker colours with chrome trim and silver alloys, IMHO.

3 December 2015
If you are selling a product that's supposed to represent heritage, quality and prestige, the very last thing you should be doing is skimping on the quality of materials on the interior - particularly the ones you touch. All cars have plastic in them, but while the rest of the motoring world seems to have progressed in the quality (or perception of quality) and appearance of these products, JLR seem intent on using materials last seen in something wearing a Mondeo badge. I had a good sniff around several JLR vehicles at the Goodwood FoS a couple of years ago and was, quite frankly, shocked at some of the surfaces inside them, even to the point of raising it with the rep on the stand. I'd go so far to say that the plastics on the door card in one of the new Hyundais there was better. I'm not complaining, but I get the feeling that the 4 stars awarded here were given a bit begrudgingly, still, Roadster will be along in a minute to tell us how good it is.

3 December 2015
Cobnapint wrote:

If you are selling a product that's supposed to represent heritage, quality and prestige, the very last thing you should be doing is skimping on the quality of materials on the interior - particularly the ones you touch. All cars have plastic in them, but while the rest of the motoring world seems to have progressed in the quality (or perception of quality) and appearance of these products, JLR seem intent on using materials last seen in something wearing a MONTEGO badge. I had a good sniff around several JLR vehicles at the Goodwood FoS a couple of years ago and was, quite frankly, shocked at some of the surfaces inside them, even to the point of raising it with the rep on the stand. I'd go so far to say that the plastics on the door card in one of the new Hyundais there was better. I'm not complaining, but I get the feeling that the 4 stars awarded here were given a bit begrudgingly, still, Roadster will be along in a minute to tell us how good it is.

3 December 2015
The XF is the most magnificent automotive creation in the history of cosmos. It is so far superior to the pathetic and utterly hopeless, hapless and helpless German rivals that it's not even worth commenting on.

Not only does the XF have by far the best handling, ride, steering, styling, build, interior, engine, gearbox, refinement, ambience, ergonomics, tech, etc. etc. etc, but it also has by far the best looking drivers too, with the best outfits and lifestyle.

Did I leave anything out?

3 December 2015
Audi's have lovely plastics spread all over the interior. Rubbish to drive though, so I guess you spend your money on what's most important to you.

3 December 2015
The previous XF was class best for its entire life. This new one merely builds on that car's excellence and therefore continues to outclass its rivals while the latest full road test of the new XF proves it's class best and is head and shoulders above the 5 Series, E Class and A6. The Jaguar was found to handle better, ride better and steer better than those rivals while it's more advanced and weighs a lot less too. And that it looks fabulous and is more desirable and expensive looking that the BMW, Audi and Mercedes is the icing on the cake. What more does Jaguar have to do to prove the XF is comprehensively the best car in the class and is probably the most complete car in the world. There is very little reason not to pick the XF over a 5 Series, E Class or an A6 unless you simply want a car with a BMW, Audi or Mercedes badge on it or they have a particular engine, spec or trim which Jaguar doesn't currently offer.

3 December 2015
Roadster wrote:

What more does Jaguar have to do to prove the XF is comprehensively the best car in the class and is probably the most complete car in the world.

Well if the XF range can't even get 5 stars from the normally over biased Autocar I would hazard a guess that it's quite a lot as it happens!

3 December 2015
One thing I'm sure on, is that Roadster doesn't give a tuppeny's as to Jaguar's products. JLR's whole media team presence on this website is just parroting whatever PR/BRAND/lifestyle nonsense they've been fed. If they cared about the brand or their job, they'd at least try to make their astroturfing appear less obvious and inject a bit of effort into the whole thing.

I'm actually a fan of the previous XF. Still think the facelifted model is a beautiful looking car. The new one (and the XE) are just a bag of disappointment though.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    It's got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again