XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio
be influenced by the 60+
global accolades scooped by it since
its launch. Because if you want to
find out just how good it is, all you
have to do is to drive the sporty
I GUESS WE'VE RATHER GIVEN THE GAME AWAY by saying that. However,
knowing something's first-rate as a headline is one thing; discovering
in what way is what makes it interesting. Starting with a prerequisite for any
Jaguar the looks the XF scores highly.
In actual fact a four-door, five-seat saloon, the XF's styling is flagrantly
deceptive in the nicest possible way. Inside it's undeniably exactly
what Jaguar says it is: a practical saloon. Outside, though, it's far more handsome
than a saloon has any right to be. First impressions are of a lithe coupe totally
in keeping with Jaguar's ethos of producing 'Beautiful, Fast Cars'.
The XF's declared competition are the usual premium brand executive suspects
the Audi A6, BMW's 5 Series and Mercedes' E-Class. None of whom
can match the Jag for charisma, which impresses even before you drive off in
it's the XF's interior, recently upgraded to XFR levels, that edges the other
three into the shade. If you were expecting 'trad' Jag then bad luck, you'll
be disappointed the XF's modish cabin is like no other in this
class. Sure there's still lashings of quality hide and well-considered chrome
and aluminium touches, but where the XF really scores is in the manner in which
it's been applied.
in the nicest
possible way. First
impressions are of a lithe
coupe totally in keeping
of producing Beautiful,
Climb behind the wheel and feast your eyes. Actually, until you fire up the
engine by thumbing the stop/start button not a lot happens. Do so, and the cast
alloy JaguarDrive rotary gear selector rises up out of the centre console like
something in a Star Trek spacecraft; at the same time four air vents are quickly
revealed in the aluminium fascia as their blanking covers rotate silently out
of sight. Showy? Not in the least just a welcome flash of well-executed
We tested the £46,900 top-spec Portfolio version which comes highly-tricked
out with all the top-end kit previously only found in the more expensive XFR
models. Most appreciated are the fabulous power-adjustable leather sports seats
not 8, not 10 and not even 12-way, but 14-way for the front passenger
and 18-way for the driver. It's no exaggeration to say that getting comfortable
and we mean truly, bone-deeply comfortable has never
been this easy.
Power-adjustable side bolsters (that pump up like the lumbar support) ensure
both the driver and passenger remain seated during the exciting bits. Add in
an easy entry and exit tilt-away powered steering column with liberal reach
and rake adjustment and a heated meaty rim (keeps your fingers dexterous on
long drives as well as on cold days) and the perfect driving position has never
been more attainable.
The interior is not only a classy place to be but cool, too. Because adding
to the pleasure of just sitting in the front of the XF's sporty cabin are ventilated
seats that will not only warm you up but also cool you down that's
right, they chill; and seriously so.
luxury touches include a tailored softgrain leather fascia, suede headlining,
deep-pile mats with embroidered logos, high-gloss Piano Black veneer, touch-sensitive
operation for the glovebox release and also of the interior lights
which feature soft Phosphor Blue mood lighting with halo illumination around
key switch packs for easier night-time operation.
you can take for granted items such as keyless entry and start, auto-dimming
rear-view mirror, electric parking brake, one-touch open/close electric windows,
automatic climate control, heated auto-dimming powerfold door mirrors (on lock
and on demand), cruise control with automatic speed limiter, etc, etc.
fabulous ventilated, heated and cooled
leather sports seats are
camera-generated 3D display on the touch-screen makes light work of going backwards,
while the nearside door mirror dips automatically for a view of the kerb when
you select reverse gear. Talking of the touch-screen, you'll find it intuitive
to use (we try not to read car handbooks unless we absolutely must, and didn't
need to for the XF) with a touch-operated foolproof side-sliding menu system
covering navigation, climate, vehicle and audio functions.
Given the coupe roofline, headroom is far more abundant than you might have
been expecting. In fact, there's ample room in the cabin for four, who'll feel
delightfully cosseted by the comfort and the hushed drive quality. Wide opening
doors and no issues with getting in or out, either. You also get an accommodating
boot: 500 litres should be as much as you'll need but drop the 60:40 folding
rear seats and this nearly doubles, to 963 litres. Cabin oddments space is good
and neatly out of sight.
Taking care of the audio is an exclusive sound system a Bowers
& Wilkins 440W system with Dolby ProLogic II surround sound and no fewer than
14 speakers plus a 6-disc in-dash CD player and DAB. The XF's Portable Audio
Interface also allows simple, direct connection of iPod and MP3 players with
full control via the touch-screen or steering wheel controls.
Pressing that stop/start button opens up a new set of experiences for the XF
driver. Or lack of them it's very quiet in the cabin. The
twin sequential turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet is not
only noticeably low-key, but due to recent improvements it's also noticeably
quick. Generating 271bhp and a very persuasive 442lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm,
this oh-so-refined V6 diesel unit accelerates the XF from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds
and engine response at low- to mid-range speeds is unfailingly immediate. Top
speed is limited to 155mph.
be honest, as good as it is, you're not buying this Jaguar just to sit in the
cabin listening to your favourite tracks on the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
You're buying it for its appetite. Not to be confused with its thirst
which is another good reason to buy the V6 diesel. Officially, this very quick
Jag will average 42mpg, 30 around the houses and a pretty remarkable 51.3mpg
with a dash
of restraint, especially
cruising on longer
journeys, and theres
reason why you
expect to see
the official 42mpg on the
our week's test we averaged 32.8mpg but then we did succumb to its power and
torque temptations. A lot! Abraham Lincoln said that if you want to test a man's
character, give him power. Guess we just proved that! Driven with a dash of
restraint, especially cruising on longer journeys, there's no reason why you
shouldn't expect to see the official 42mpg on the touch-screen.
a warning you really will be fooled into thinking you're driving
a powerful petrol-drinking V8 and not a diesel, so Jaguar's new diesel mis-fuelling
prevention device is fitted as standard to ensure your not-so-frequent fuel
stops won't be a disaster!
Now, about that 'appetite'. It's an appetite for roads; any and all roads. Straight,
winding, dipping, sweeping… you name it; the XF will get the better of it. From
a driver's point of view it's all good news because whatever tarmac you throw
the XF at, its chassis will always have more than enough grip and composure
Of course it helps that the XF can now have the same adaptive dampers as the
XFR they come as part of the £1,250 Adaptive Dynamics Pack which
provide all the benefits of an automatically-managed damping system without
you having to flick between settings while you're driving to find the one that
works best for the particular section of road you're on.
Like the Ferrari 599's manettino, the XF allows its driver to fine tune the
driving characteristics. Immediately behind the rotary JaguarDrive selector
are four neat, silver switches, three of which modify the handling: Winter mode;
Dynamic and DSC. Winter mode modifies engine response and modifies the gear
change strategy for slippery conditions; given our increasingly treacherous
winters, it will definitely come in handy.
red-blooded drivers will be more interested in the other two. Press the Dynamic
Stability Control switch and you can activate TracDSC for reduced system interventions
this is for use only on dry tarmac. Try it on a damp road and
you'll see why. So, select this and be ready for some seat-of-the-pants driving.
Oh, and watch out for the XF's pert little tail… Alternatively you can simply
switch DSC off.
combatively in Dynamic
mode, pushed onwards
by the wave of torque
from the twin-turboed V6
diesel, it feels unruffled,
completely at ease
with its abilities...
other option Dynamic optimises the vehicle systems
to deliver a 'more involved driving experience'. Combined with seamless paddle-shifting,
a Sport setting that offers permanent manual selection and a turbocharged powerplant
that never feels out of breath even as it hits the red-line and you have a recipe
for some very tasty driver entertainment.
engineers really have done a thorough job of fettling the XF's handling. Underpinning
their efforts is a stiff bodyshell and a grippy chassis that feels beautifully
composed on all roads. Even when driven combatively in Dynamic mode, pushed
onwards by the wave of torque from the twin-turboed V6 diesel, it feels unruffled;
completely at ease with its abilities. The communicative steering plays a major
part in this class sports saloon act, providing decent feedback. As, too, do
the brakes, which serve up retardation with an 'R'.
When you're not in combative mode, the XF glides along in true Jag style. And
that's riding on 285x30 SP Sport Maxx rubber wrapped around 20-inch wheels
remarkably, they don't appear to degrade the ride quality even on our 'Third
World' British roads. And even when the ride automatically firm's up, the XF's
refinement remains excellent. Overall, the balance between soothing progress
and roadholding and handling couldn't be better.
News just in is that a resurgent Jaguar has made it into the top 10 'Consumer
Superbrands 2011' judged on its quality, reliability and distinction. What's
particularly heartening is that now you don't need to be a flag-waver to buy
a Jaguar; it's not about what you can do for Jaguar, but what Jaguar can do
for you. Drive an XF not because it is British but because it is Better.
Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio | £46,900
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 6.4 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 271bhp | Torque: 442lb ft | CO2 179g/km