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Jaguar XF 2.7 V6 Diesel Premium Luxury

Click to view picture galleryJaguars classy new XF sports
  saloon is a significant milestone for
  the ‘premium
brand. David Miles
  reports from behind the wheel of the
  very well specified 2.7-litre V6 Diesel
  Premium Luxury model...”

IN EVERY RESPECT THE XF SIGNALS THE FUTURE of the Jaguar marque and yet it remains true to the essence of what has always made great Jaguars the cars they are. Under Ford's ownership, the XF cornerstone was laid down; under Jaguar's new owners TATA the XF will help build Jaguar's future.

The new XF is more than just a strikingly-beautiful, crafted and sculpted Jaguar with the new face of Jaguar featuring a thrusting, elongated horizontal chrome mesh grille. It appeals from a rational perspective to buyers of all ages who expect value for money, even from a luxury brand, and it still retains its Britishness. XF pricing is competitive throughout the range, in spite of the high level standard feature specifications and extensive use of advanced technologies.

Prices start at 33,900 and continue upwards to 54,900. The mainstay models — 2.7-litre V6 Diesel Luxury and Premium Luxury versions — are priced at 33,900 and 37,500 respectively.

Strong residual values will appeal to those using the XF as a 'business' car and the V6 diesel in particular has competitive emissions levels, with the accompanying tax advantages for company car users and fleet buyers. Industry predictions are that XF diesel models will retain over 50 per cent of their value after the usual three-years/36,000 mile period — better than the competitor models such as the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6.

The Jaguar XF four-door sport saloon is one of the most visually striking, technically sophisticated and driver-oriented cars that the company has ever produced; and hopefully it will define the Jaguar brand. Over a dozen International awards have been won by the Jaguar XF since its show debut last year, and when UK sales started in March of this year the order books were full long before the first cars hit British roads.

Apart from its stunningly sleek, muscular and wide-track styling, Jaguar's trump card for the XF is that most of the equipment you would expect in a luxury car comes as standard — unlike with Audi, BMW and Mercedes, who have endless lists of extra cost options which in reality are needed. However, there is still a huge range of extra cost options that will push even the cheapest XF diesel up to the 40,000 mark.

Apart from is four-door coupe sports styling, Jaguar has adopted a sharp new edge for the interior of the XF. Sophisticated instrumentation with touch-screen controls — a little small to use (but you get used to them0 and modern materials as well as real wood finishes and leather upholstery. On entry to the XF, the start button pulses red like a heartbeat. Start the engine and the cylindrical JaguarDrive gear selector rises into the palm of the hand while rotating vents turn from their flush, 'parked' position to their functional open state.

The XF is currently available with a range of four engines all combined with Jaguar's proven six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted 'paddles' for manual gear selection.

The powerplant line-up offers the choice of the 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbocharged diesel with 204bhp, 320lb ft of torque from 1,900rpm, 0-62mph in just 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. Average combined fuel economy is 37.6mpg, with 199/g/km of CO2 giving it a Vehicle Excise Duty Band F rating of 210 this year and 260 from next April. This will be the main selling engine in the UK.

Next comes the 3.0-litre V6 petrol unit with 235bhp, 216lb ft from 4,100rpm, 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 148mph, average fuel consumption of 26.8mpg and 249g/km (a 400 road tax bill going up to 440).

Following on is the 4.2-litre normally aspirated V8 petrol engine with 300bhp, 303lb ft of torque, 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. Fuel economy is 25.3 and CO2 emissions of 264g/km put this engine in the top road tax band of 400 — and more next year.

Even more power and performance — and running costs — comes in the form of the 4.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine which produces 420bhp and 413lb ft. Performance figures are 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. Fuel consumption is 22.4mpg with a budget-busting 299g/km of CO2: 400 road tax now and 440 in 2009/10 — unless The Government makes yet another U-turn.

Key driving aids on the XF include Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control and Engine Drag Torque Control. And, for the first time in a Jaguar, Understeer Control Logic — which decelerates the car and helps to restore grip to the front wheels when required.

The new XF has a wide range of driver assistance features and options including a Blind Spot Monitor, Front and Rear Parking Aids, Rear Camera Parking Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Speed Limiter and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Bluetooth compatibility, iPod/MP3 player interfaces, JaguarVoice, Digital radio and a single or six-disc CD player ensure owners can listen and talk as they choose.

As with previous Jaguar saloons, the XF is a weighty and substantial vehicle. Its 2.3-tonne weight allows it to feel firmly planted on the road ensuring a comfortable and controlled ride with really excellent handling characteristics. For such a large and heavy car the XF still feels agile and nimble on winding roads.

At 4,961mm long, 1,877mm wide and 1,460mm high it is a big executive four-door saloon but inside, other than the large 540-litre boot, there isn't huge amounts of space. True, it can be classed as a five-seater but in reality the rear seats are better suited to two adult passengers. Due to its coupe styling, headroom in the rear is also restricted and although the boot is large the access to it is restrictive. However, the rear seats do fold to create more space.

Although the 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel engine is quiet, refined and generally gives adequate account of itself, the XF's weight does take the edge and sharpness off performance. Neither does it help fuel economy: just 30.2mpg during my test drive period.

Few owners are likely to complain loudly about the tight rear headroom although some may notice that, in the 2.7-litre V6, the car's heavy weight dulls the sports performance. But there's a lot to appreciate, starting with the classy styling both inside and out, the superb handling, the high level of standard equipment, the refined engine and transmission and the expected strong residual values.

Image, quality and refinement are the XF's core features and as long as reliability is not an issue in the long-term, then the latest Jaguar has a very positive future indeed. — David Miles

Jaguar XF 2.7 V6 Diesel Premium Luxury
| 37,500
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Overall test MPG: 30.2mpg | Power: 204bhp | Torque: 320lb ft
CO2 199g/km | VED Band F 210 | Insurance group 17