Jaguar XF 2.7D

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Modern, muscular and imposing – it's everything a Jaguar should be


SPECIFICATIONS:



Model: Jaguar XF 2.7D


Price: from £33,900, on sale now


Engine: 2,720cc, V6 cylinders, 24 valves, twin-turbo diesel, 207bhp at 4,000rpm, 435lb ft at 1,900rpm


Transmission: six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive


Performance: 143mph, 0-60 in 7.7 sec, 37.6mpg official average, CO2 199g/km

It seems the most important Jaguar for years has gone down well with the critics, if not all those who work for this newspaper. Maybe we have occasional flashes of doubt about the XF's styling as portrayed in photographs, but in the metal it looks modern, muscular and imposing.

It also pulls off the trick of looking like a credible Jaguar, because nearly everyone who sees it recognises it as one. The V8 versions I drove at the end of last year also felt as Jaguars should – quiet and smooth but not so insulated from everything that you lost touch with the notion of driving a car. And as for the interior, it's a brilliant convergence of Jaguar ideals and the modern world, and not a retro reference in sight.

The 4.2-litre V8s – of 298bhp or, with added supercharger, 416bhp – are the image formers of the range buttheir sales, in Europe at least, will be in the minority. This will be especially true for motorists in central London as the V8s' rated CO2 output is significantly greater than the 225g/km beyond which the congestion charge will soon rise from £8 to £25.

For this test, I have driven the two "entry level" XFs, powered by V6 engines. One is Jaguar's long-running petrol unit of 3.0 litres, which produces 238bhp. Unfortunately, this too busts 225g/km, so that brings us to the XF which will outsell all others by a big margin in Europe: the 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, delivering 207bhp, a healthy 320lb ft of pulling ability, and generating 199g/km of the gas that plants crave even if we don't.

A 3.0-litre version of this engine is planned for the near future, which will add some extra energy, but if the current unit makes for a sufficiently lively, clean-living Jaguar then maybe the XF will be fine as it is. This is an engine, after all – the product of a joint venture between Ford and Peugeot-Citroën – that has had nothing but praise heaped upon it in its various forms, which include those found under the bonnets of the larger Jaguar XJ, the Citroën C5, the Peugeot 407 and, with just one turbocharger, various Land Rovers and Range Rovers.

A humbler engine doesn't mean a humbler XF, as even this 2.7D can be had in the two trim levels of Luxury and Premium Luxury. This is partly to ensure good residual values, because to have an Abject Poverty version in the range, which no one would want to buy second-hand, would drag values down overall and so push leasing costs up. Indeed, in an extraordinary feat of transference into the next space-time continuum, the two big trade guides to used-car prices have predicted residual values for the XF that are better than those for any of its German competitors.

Fine. So this XF 2.7D that will be worth 50 per cent of its original price when it is three years old and has covered 36,000 miles – what's it like? It sounds different from the V8s but its deep, smooth six-cylinder note is more that of a 1960s petrol engine than obviously of a diesel. You can feel a little tremor through the steering wheel when the engine is idling – which I am told will be tuned out of the cars by the time they reach the showroom – but otherwise the only real clue to the engine's method of functioning is its powerful pull from medium speeds and the way the power fades as 5,000rpm nears.

The XF 2.7D actually accelerates more briskly than the petrol V6, reaching 60mph in 7.7 seconds from standstill. And that's with the six-speed automatic transmission fitted to all XFs, operated by a rotary knob in the centre console which rises out of its wooden surroundings when you press the starter button, which itself pulsates in red as you open the door and step inside. It's all very biotechnical, this giving of apparent life to mechanical objects, but drive the XF at night and you'll also see a crisp, electronic edge to its interior design as the switches are outlined in a pale greeny-blue like the keys of a mobile phone.

But I was going to tell you about the gearbox, whose automatic mode works smoothly but which needs the encouragement of the paddle-shift manual mode to get the best from this engine on a curvy, hilly road. The transmission responds quickly and positively to the paddles' commands, and even this diesel engine gets a little blip-up of revs during a downshift, to smooth the transition between gears.

So the diesel XF is as refined, well-mannered and lively as a Jaguar should be, making it the most sensible and conscience-salving version in the range. It steers and handles with the same verve as other XFs, and shares their relaxed, fluid approach to road disturbances at speed and slight fidget over bumps at low speeds. That's the price for the poise and precision you enjoy the rest of the time, and it's a small one as the Jaguar still rides more smoothly than most rivals.

It would be good to try a mere Luxury model, running on 17in wheels – to compare with the Premium Luxury tested whose 18in wheels have less supple tyres. The Luxury XF lacks the grander one's stitched-leather dashboard and upper-door covering, but its soft vinyl substitute is still genuinely stitched.

The petrol V6 isn't as good as the diesel. You have to work it harder, creating more scope for sudden, intrusive gear changes, and it seems a little overwhelmed by its task. Better stick with the 2.7D, then – but what Jaguar could also do with is a four-cylinder diesel of 2.0 to 2.2 litres.

Sacrilegious? Not really: all the German rivals have them. Ford and Peugeot do have an excellent 2.2-litre unit of 170bhp, but it is designed to be moun-ted transversely for front-wheel drive so would need a redesign for the XF. An engine from a Ford Transit, then? Now that would be a marketing challenge.

THE RIVALS:
Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro: from £32,050
More power than the XF plus standard four-wheel drive, and this is a pleasing engine to drive behind. Beautifully made but not as heart-warming as Jaguar.

BMW 530d: from £34,655
That rare thing – a straight-six engine, and a smooth, powerful one too. Enjoyable handling mirrors Jaguar's, and Efficient-Dynamics with stop-start makes CO2 low at 170g/km.

Mercedes-Benz E280 CDI: from £33,097
Cheapest E280, in Classic trim. Lacks XF's luxury but is a solid, functional and satisfying car to drive and own. Starting to look and feel dated now.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us