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Jaguar XF‘s inside story of pace and grace

11:55 13 December 2015

All-new Jaguar XF is expected to woo buyers from other prestige brands and it's easy to see why.

All-new Jaguar XF is expected to woo buyers from other prestige brands and it's easy to see why.

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Jaguar’s all-new XF brings out the best of British and it’s easy to fall for its charms, says Matt Kimberley.

What’s new?

Here is a future piece of British automotive history. It’s the first time an Ian Callum-designed Jaguar has replaced an Ian Callum-designed Jaguar, and it marks the next step for the car that brought about the most significant brand revolution of modern times.

It’s a few millimetres shorter than before, but the wheelbase of the new aluminium construction is longer. That gives more space for passengers to enjoy the high-spec new cabin.

Jaguar XF

Price: Jaguar XF, £32,300 to £49,945

Engine: 2.0-litre, 161bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving rear wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 8.7 seconds; top speed 132mph

MPG: 70.6 combined

CO2 emissions: 104g/km

Looks and image

Jaguar isn’t going to win any prizes for originality, having largely just transplanted the family face from the XJ and XE straight on to the new car. It’s sweetly proportioned and carries its bulk very well. It’s a neat trick to pull when you can balance size and grace, and the XF does it better than any of its rivals.

It’s a British car and of course we want to love it but it’s very easy to love regardless of where you’re from.

Space and practicality

An extra 27mm of headroom for rear passengers could be much appreciated by some owners, despite the roof’s peak point resting 3mm lower than the old XF’s. A 540-litre boot with a wider aperture is a winner, beating each of the German rivals.

And the interior materials are so nice that, if your kids make a mess, invest in a very good upholstery cleaner.

Behind the wheel

The 3.0-litre diesel is immense, pulling like a train at the slightest tickle of the throttle and recording a laughable 1,300rpm at 70mph for epic long-leggedness – in top gear, 2,000rpm doesn’t arrive until 110mph.

Whether you’re on the passive standard suspension or the adaptive, adjustable set-up, the XF shows mighty composure through corners and rides unfeasibly well on the 20in wheels on the test car. You can’t escape the outright weight, despite the savings versus the outgoing one, but along some deeply challenging twisties the XF’s dynamics are excellent.

The eco-friendly 2.0-litre diesel is less impressive in terms of performance, but ticks the right boxes for running costs. A 104g/km version is an eye-opener.

Value for money

Depending on whether your heart really wants it or not, the Jaguar could look like excellent value. If you do want one, go for it and you won’t regret it. If you’re a die-hard BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi follower you’ll need to get inside one to see just how far the Jaguar brand has come. Prices, on the face of it, are competitive with the best of the rest, and that 104g/km version will turn some heads among company car user-choosers.

Who would buy one?

As well as business types, families will get along famously with the XF. At almost five metres long it could serve perfectly as the family’s ‘big car’, the one that handles longer trips and holidays. Jaguar expects a lot of buyers to switch from other brands, and it’s not hard to see why once you’re in and around it.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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