Jaguar is anxious to point out there’s far more to building this XF than just ‘dropping in’ the new engine. New also are piezo injectors, a Mitsubishi turbocharger and an oil cooler. There are big revisions to the induction system and the manifolds are new, as is the sump. Jaguar has also installed its special engine management to match powerplant and gearbox.
What's it like?
Lower costs and better fuel economy are all very well, but one question burns brighter than all the rest: can this econo-XF still cut it as a fully fledged Jaguar? The answer is a resounding yes; the engineers have expended plenty of time and effort making it so. The careful sound-deadening pack double-insulates the bulkhead, wrapping even ancillaries such as the alternator and turbocharger in duvet-like padding.
The eight-speed transmission has been calibrated for the XF’s performance and weight (the four-cylinder engine saves 65kg compared with a petrol V6), while the XF’s rotary gear selector on the console and steering column paddles for manual selection are retained.
On the road, the car is quiet, long-legged and torquey. From the driver’s seat you’re barely aware of a four-cylinder rattle even at idle, and never on the move. The transmission’s ultra-low first and second gears give it impressive step-off (making the most of the engine’s generous 332lb ft of torque), yet the eight-speeder allows motorway cruising with less than 2000rpm showing on the tacho.
Automatic gearchanges are near enough to imperceptible, but you hear and feel a quick, smooth response when using the gearchange paddles. And there’s an irresistible bonus when you come to refuel the car: the trip computer predicts a maximum touring range of more than 800 miles.
We weren’t supposed to judge our prototype’s chassis. Engineers say they still have development work to do. To us, though, the car had all the XF credentials: supple bump absorption considering its impressive body control, near-perfect straight-line stability and plenty of cornering authority through the familiar excellent steering. Cornering was roll-free and near-neutral. When it was time to accelerate again, the generous torque, which peaks at just 2000rpm, gave impressive thrust.
Should I buy one?
Jaguar will start taking orders for the new model next month, but won’t deliver the first of them until September. However, right here, one major concern can be laid to rest: the long-awaited 2.2-litre diesel XF is a real Jaguar.
Jaguar XF 2.2D
Price: £29,000 (est); Top speed: 140mph; 0-62mph: 8.5sec; Economy: 52.3mpg (combined); CO2: 149g/km; Kerb weight: 1650kg (est); Engine: 4 cyls, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Power: 188bhp at 3500rpm; Torque: 332lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd auto