Not sure what I did to deserve it, but last week I ended up being ‘three Jags McIlroy’ – and all of them XFs.

I ought to add at this point that these Jaguars did not come all at once, but on consecutive evenings. Night one? The new XFR. Night two? Chas Hallett’s long-term 2.7 diesel. Night three? The new 3.0d S.

All three had the same core strengths: sublime chassis balance, composed ride, communicative steering, quick-witted automatic gearbox and a cabin that feels sumptuous while avoiding ‘old man’s armchair’ syndrome.

But while the XFR was as you might expect – ohmygod fast from A to B, and friendlier than a BMW M5 – the real star for me was the new diesel model.

Point to point, the R would be quicker, of course. But not by all that much; the new 3.0-litre turbodiesel gives sensational throttle response, a wall of torque that appears to avoid interruption by turbo lag. It’s smooth – smoother than the 2.7, I’d say – and works superbly with the Jag’s automatic gearbox. And while the XFR’s fuel gauge showed a slightly alarming magnetic attraction towards empty, the 3.0d showed admirable reluctance to consume.

Over a long run, then, the diesel would be not much slower, not much less fun, just as comfortable and far more economical. It might have the highest price tag, but for my money, the ultimate XF is not the XFR. Instead it’s the model that stops at the black-nozzled fuel pump.

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