Jaguar XF review - is the latest Jaguar exec-saloon best in class?

Stuart Gallagher
22 Jun 2017

An engaging drive but rivals beat Jaguar in some areas

Evo Rating: 
Engaging chassis, ride comfort and handling
Restrictive engine choice, lacks cutting edge technology

Jaguar’s XF may be new in terms of interior and exterior looks, the materials used to make it and elements of the powertrains offered, but peel away its new aluminium intensive construction and the XF is no fresh faced saloon. 

The XF borrows heavily from the smaller XE and as a result is definitely one of the more dynamically adept options within the executive car class. As such the Jaguar is the more entertaining steer in the class, even bettering the all new BMW 5-series which has historically been the most fun executive car to drive. The BMW is the more rounded machine however, offering a level of refinement and tech the XF just can't match.

With Mercedes’ E Class also having undergone a thorough update recently, it now also leads the XF on refinement, powertrains and cockpit technology, although the Jaguar is a more involving drive than the Mercedes.

Audi’s A6 sits between the Mercedes and Jaguar in terms of both driver involvement and refinement. The Audi isn’t the most thrilling to drive but it’s incredibly competent and its interior is of the highest quality, even if it does lag behind in terms of technology. A new A6, scheduled for the end of 2017, will rectify this.   

With the XF also available with permanent four-wheel it can match its German rivals for functionality, although without an estate variant available yet (expect one to be launched later this year) the Jaguar doesn’t cover every practical base, which for many will be a turn-off.  

The new XF may have its shortcomings, but in the right trim and spec it’s a compelling proposition and a strong alternative to its key rivals from Germany.

> Performance and 0-60 time - Performance is dependant on the specific engine of course, with the lowliest 2.0-litre diesel completing 0-62mph time in 8.2 seconds, while the most accelerative 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol model dispatches the time in just 5.1 seconds.

> Engine and gearbox - The XF's engine range is made up of four and six cylinder petrol and diesel variants. All four-cylinder options have been through a recent and subtle update, while V6 variants are soon to be superseded by an all new range of straight-six's.

> Ride and handling - Perhaps the XF's biggest strength, it is a far more engaging drive compared to rivals. The trade-off of this handling prowess is that the XF is not as cossetting as others in the class, making this the dynamic benchmark of the class, but definitely not the most rounded.

> MPG and running costs - Thanks to a slippery body and frugal entry level diesels, the claimed 70.6 mpg is impressive for the class and make ia tempting option for company car buyers. Petrol and V6 models are far thirstier and correspondingly more expensive to run.

> Interior and tech - A key downfall in this class, the XF is not anywhere near as advanced as the new BMW 5-series, tech-laden as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class nor serene as Volvo's lovely S90. The design also leaves much to be desired, lacking any of the imagination or thought we know Jaguar can possess. 

> Design - The Ian Callum design body looks great compared to rivals, yet also perhaps is a bit to similar to the old XF. Substantial changes have been made though, with the longer body and shorter overhang giving the new car a more dynamic appearance then the old one.

Prices, specs and rivals

XF prices start at a competitive £32,490 for a 2-litre diesel model, in entry-level Prestige trim. With 161bhp it's likely to be a strong seller, though we suspect the majority of people will spec the eight-speed auto gearbox for an additional £1750.

If you want to step up to the more powerful, 178bhp 2-litre diesel it'll cost you £33,010, again in Prestige trim. Next in line is the automatic-only 238bhp 2-litre diesel, at £37,800, and finally the range-topping 3-litre 296bhp model, which starts at £47,600.

Petrol choices are surprisingly extensive for this class of car - you can have a 2-litre Ingenium unit with 198bhp, 248bhp or 297bhp, starting from £35,235, £37,735 or £44,335 respectively. Finally, the range-topping 3-litre V6 model weighs in at £51,100, exclusively in S trim.

An eight-speed automatic is available across the range, while some models can be specced with four-wheel drive.

All XFs are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen with Jaguar’s InControl Touch infotainment system with sat-nav included as standard. The XF is also the first Jaguar to offer the company’s In Control Touch Pro system, which features a larger 10.2-inch touchscreen and is much more closely aligned with a smartphone in terms of functionality. 

The natural Jaguar XF rivals comes from Audi (A6)BMW (5 series) and the new Mercedes-Benz (E Class).

The latter has just been updated and is a far more accomplished all rounder than the Jaguar. The Mercedes' four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine is more refined, economical and a far nicer power unit to use than the equivalent found in the XF. Its 9-speed automatic gearbox is also one of the few that puts the Jag's excellent 8-speeder in the shadows. The E-Class also has a superior ride comfort to that of the British saloon and a thoroughly up to date interior stacked with the latest technology.

The current BMW 5 series is not long for this world and the new model set to make its world debut soon. But the Munich saloon is still involving, but the Jaguar is a more accomplished proposition.

Audi’s A6 has recently been face-lifted (2015) and the all-new model is still over two years away, but the current offering is still a serious contender in this class. The Audi's interior quality is best in class, although its infotainment system is beginning to show its age. Its refinement levels are ahead of the XF but fall short of the latest Mercedes.  

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