New diesel will do business for Jaguar XF
Iain Dooley says a smaller four-cylinder diesel engine is a big boost for the facelifted Jaguar XF.
It's only been a few years since the XF burst on to the scene but Jaguar's mid-size executive saloon surprised many with its bold looks and ability to please keen drivers.
The few blink-and-you-miss-it revisions that have appeared since then did the job of keeping the car competitive in the face of the German 'big three' car companies. However, for the 2012 model year, Jaguar has dug a little deeper to produce a more noticeable styling change and included a long-awaited new engine to the XF line-up.
For all the car's luxury connotations, the XF and its rivals are also promoted as executive expresses in the company car world. And while the Jaguar has been a popular choice, this is about to improve with the addition of a tax and wallet-friendly 2.2-litre diesel to partner the existing 3.0-litre engines.
Reflecting the need to keep an eye on the bottom line, the 2.2 diesel boasts a 52.3mpg combined economy figure and, this is the important bit, 149g/km CO2. The associated low tax banding the value attracts should keep fleet managers happy, if not the tax man. And no 'low tax' engine would be complete without a stop-start system.
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Also happy will be the person who gets to drive the new low-emissions XF. In the real world the car behaves every bit like its more powerful cousins, with enough on tap (190hp) to make motorway journeys uneventful and ensure that keen drivers don't feel cheated when on their favourite backroad. Sure, the 3.0-litre cars feel quicker, but the 2.2-litre variant is no slouch despite its obvious economy bias.
And, like the other diesels, the four-cylinder car gains a new eight-speed auto gearbox as standard to further enhance its fuel-sipping credentials. The result being super-smooth shifts plus the ability to do it yourself when the mood takes you.
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Mechanically then the regular XF range is now capable of meeting the competition head-on in all key areas – economy, emissions, performance. The latter was never in doubt but the arrival of the four-cylinder diesel finally plugs an important gap in Jaguar's sales for business customers.
Aside from all the new stuff, one constant throughout the XF's life has been its bold styling. The car's sleek exterior has helped win it many awards. Thankfully Jaguar has resisted the urge to radically change things, although the bonnet, front lights, bumper and air intakes have been subtly changed to enhance the car's already streamlined look. In particular, the headlights gain a bold daylight running light design while the new rear cluster is no less distinctive when in use.
Move to the car's interior and on the surface it appears to be business as usual. Look closely and there's a new touchscreen interface and sat-nav system, plus some of the minor controls have been tweaked slightly. There's also a new secondary display between the car's main dials plus a more sophisticated array of entertainment options, including rear seat displays and connected headphones.
Elsewhere the XF cabin experience is as plush and refined as ever. The accommodating cabin boasts enough space for four adults, while storage space isn't in short supply for those working types who need it the most.
With the measured revisions to the car's exterior and the all-important new fleet-friendly diesel engine, the XF is finally a fully-rounded package for prospective buyers seeking a visually striking and frugal business machine. The 2.2-litre offers the right balance of performance and economy to satisfy even the most demanding of users.
Don't think that the other cars in the range have been rendered obsolete though. The two 3.0-litre diesel models continue to deliver real-world high-end performance, with the 275hp version in particular more than capable of giving the hot XF R a run for its money on the right road.
Already riding high on the back of impressive sales figures and buoyed by the increased financial support of new owner Tata, Jaguar has again showed that there's more to the executive car market than the big three German companies and this revised XF is all the proof you need.
JAGUAR XF 2.2 DIESEL LUXURY
Engine: 2.2-litre, 190bhp turbo diesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving rear wheels
Performance: 0-62mph 8.5 seconds; top speed 140mph
CO2 Rating: 149g/km