10/03/2009 00:00

Jaguar XF-D review (2009 onwards model)



Peter Burgess' biography

What – Jaguar 3.0 Diesel S PortfolioWhere – Provence, FrancePrice – £44,200Available – Late March 2009Key rivals – Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class

GALLERY: Jaguar XF-D
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Summary

Brilliant new larger capacity twin turbo-charged diesel is simply the best engine in the XF range.

We like – Brilliant new diesel engine, thoroughly enjoyable drive, high comfort levelsWe dislike – Economy suffers heavily when you use the performance, awkward gear knob, fascia need livening up

First impressions

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

Click images to enlarge

Launched just a year ago, the XF gets a mild facelift and a much-needed boost to its diesel powertrain. The cosmetic changes are minor: new door mirrors with LED side repeaters, an acoustic laminated windscreen, new wheels, new colours and new veneers inside.The real interest surrounds the diesel. The 2.7 is replaced by a 3.0 V6 with two power outputs, 240hp or 275hp. Prices have barely changed for the lower powered unit but the 275hp diesel carries a £3,000 premium. The top-of-the-range Portfolio is a weighty £44k, though this engine is available in Luxury grade from £37k.

Performance

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

The new 3.0 engines are, on paper, better than the 2.7 in every respect. Not just faster, but more economical and cleaner too. Jaguar wants its engines to be considered a benchmark for low-speed torque which is, once you get past the usual power fetish, the true measure of everyday high performance.So though the 275hp figure looks impressive, it tells only half the story, for this Diesel S is simply so willing that it eclipses the new 5.0-litre petrol V8 with another 110hp. From rest the engine burbles away, a diesel certainly, but hinting at something special. Then slip it into drive via the gimmicky and ultimately flawed rotary selector, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

Up hill, down hill, city or open road, there is never, ever, any shortage of acceleration. But it's just about the performance; this XF is a genuine sports saloon. It picks up the instant you ask for more, so that corner to corner there's little in this class that can better it. The paddle change on the steering wheel is fast and fun, defaulting to full auto if you loose interest, but always instantly on hand if you think you can do it better. The transmission is clever enough to second guess your intentions too, hanging onto lower gears into bends when you are driving hard. The sport mode soon becomes irrelevant.

Ride and handling

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

Jaguar's much vaunted Active Dynamics chassis technology isn't available on the diesels. Instead traditional suspension deals with the demands, but as no Jaguar has been shabby in the area, that's no real concern. What is soon apparent, however, is that the XF Diesel S has its bias centred on its sporting potential.The steering is rather good. Light, but not too light, there's fluidity to the way it turns the XF into corners, with an immediate reaction to the smallest turns of the wheel. The result is that a winding road can be truly inspiring, the faith the driver can put into the chassis paid back every time.

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

There's real composure and minimal body roll as the direction switches from left to right. The driver can hone things a bit more by pressing the Dynamic button on the centre console which, in this Jaguar, sharpens up the throttle response. 20-inch alloy wheels are standard on this top-of-the-range Portfolio XF. The resulting ultra-low-profile tyres might mean a compromised ride but although this is no cosseting Jaguar XJ, it will probably be a good balance for those who understand what a sports saloon is all about.

Interior

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

The Portfolio specification is luxury XF to the XF-R's mega-sports image. It comes as standard with softgrain leather and 16-way electric seats, heating and cooling for those front seats, enhanced wood and a fabulous Bowers and Wilkins sound system. All XFs get Sat-nav and automatic transmission as standard, unlike most German brands.Consequently it's all very luxurious and comfortable, though not as roomy in the rear as some rivals. Boot space is massive as long you opt for the tyre repair kit in place of the spare wheel. Our beef with the interior is the fascia design. It's a personal thing, but for us it simply fails to exude the premium effect you get from the rest of the XF. If only there wasn't so much silver paint...

Economy and Safety

Jaguar XF-D (© Image © Jaguar)

The official figures show that the XF can average 42mpg. That's mighty impressive from a powerful 3.0-litre diesel coupled to automatic transmission. Our long term Citroën C5 two-litre auto is 2mpg worse. But you will be severely challenged to approach these numbers, for alarmingly we saw the consumption drop below 20mpg with spirited driving.The CO2 figure of 179g/km is impressive though, 20g/km better than the 2.7 V6 diesel, which will undoubtedly help company car sales. The XF has yet to go through the EuroNCAP crash test procedure, but it would be surprising if it didn't get the full five stars.

The MSN Cars verdict 4/5

4 stars for the Jaguar XF-D

It's very hard not to be seduced by this Jaguar. The overall package is mostly a delight and the engine driving experience wonderfully addictive. The new 3.0-litre turbo diesel makes a good car great.

Engines petrol3.0 twin turbochargedPower (hp) 275Torque (lb/ft)4430-62 (secs)5.9Top speed (mph)155Combined mpg42.0CO2 (g/km) / Tax %179 g/km / 27%

Rating S5Performance*****Ride and handling****Interior****Safety*****Price***Practicality****Fuel economy***MSN Cars verdict****

More pictures of the Jaguar XF-D from Live Search

Others to consider

Audi A6
BMW 5 Series
Mercedes E-Class

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