What is it?
A diesel that wants to be an XFR. In an effort to differentiate the two versions of 3.0 V6 diesel available in the XF, Jaguar is now offering a couple of tempting options for the higher powered 271bhp S model.
A £1500 ‘Aerodynamic Pack’ gives the diesel a touch of the XFR, with bolstered sills and a more aggressive front. While not an exact replica of 503bhp supercharged R model, this does give the XF a stronger visual stance. LED running lights are also available for an additional £500.
Available separately, or in conjunction with the Aero Pack, is a Dynamics Pack that adds continuously variable dampers, until now only seen on the XFR, and 20” Volans alloys. It is worth noting though, that this pack does not bring an E-Diff to the Diesel.
Inside the S now gets the leather sports seats from the XFR as standard, and can optionally be specified with Piano Black veneer and alcantara-style headlining.
What’s it like?
Obviously you can make up your own mind on the merits of the Aero Pack so we’ll leave that and concentrate instead on the Dynamics Pack. The first thing to say is that the differences are subtle, so subtle that you’d really need to drive a regular S and one with the pack fitted, back-to-back to notice the difference.
Luckily I could do just that. The result is not entirely unpredictable; with the adaptive dampers fitted the XF has slightly better body control and a more responsive front end. But the truth is that the standard car is hardly shabby in this respect, and you really have to be really pushing on to get to benefit from the tighter control.
Furthermore, while Jaguar claim that this improvement in agility comes with no loss in comfort, I disagree. Both XF’s I drove had 20” alloys fitted, and the adaptive car suffered more fidget at slow-to-medium speeds. We are taking about a small degradation here, but one that takes the shine off one the XF’s best qualities; its ability to ease away the miles.
Should I buy one?
Clearly there is always a trade off between agility and comfort, but it is that very fact that makes standard XF such an achievement. For mixed road use it is just so well judged. While the £1250 Dynamics Pack furthers the XF’s abilities in some areas, it is not without compromises in others. The best advice is to try both before you buy, but personally I’d stick with the standard car.
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