Jaguar XF Portfolio

It lacks the old Jaguar elegance – but you'll get over it

Price: £43,050
Engine capacity: 2.2 litres
Top speed (mph): 140
0-60 mph (seconds): 8
Fuel economy (mpg): 52.3
Co2 emissions (g/km): 149

You may be thinking: hasn't the Jaguar XF been around for a bit? And you'd be right. The first model was unveiled in Frankfurt in 2007 and was in British showrooms in 2008. It was conceived as a replacement for the old S-type Jaguar, the long sleek sedan touchingly name-checked by Kanye West as the car he thought his mum would like. "Imma get you a Jag, whatever else you want, jus' tell me the kind of S-type Donda West like," he sang on "Hey Mama".

Anyway, the first XFs in 2008 had socking great V6 and V8 engines. The new version carries a much smaller 2.2-litre, single-turbo, four-cylinder diesel. It's aimed at the company-car market: when it comes to low CO2 emissions, it's well beneath the 160g/km tax threshold; when it comes to good-value driving, it offers an economical 52.3mpg. It's a luxury car to pamper the executive classes, matching similarly priced Audis and BMWs.

When you first encounter this beast, you curse Jaguar's design director Ian Callum and say: Ian, it doesn't look like a Jaguar. From the big grille, apparently borrowed from a Bentley Continental, to the plump matronly hips and the substantial rear-end, it lacks the old Jaguar elegance, the trophy-wife sexiness of the 1999 S-type.

You get over it, though, once inside. The charcoal suede roof, leather-trim walls and walnut dashboard are amazingly stylish. Apparently unique to this model is the graceful electrical foldout of air-con vents and gear lever. Like many new cars, there's no ignition key, just a start-stop button. Prod the button and the four air vents whirr open, while the circular gear dial glides out of the central console like the parts inside HAL 9000. A slightly maddening "intelligent start-stop system" kills the engine dead at traffic lights and kicks it back into life when you take your foot off the brake.

But don't get me started on the special features, the slightly crackpot refinements that come as standard with the XF: two extra airbags on the side walls, "rain-sensing" windscreen wipers, fog-anticipating headlights, pedestrian contact sensing, front-back-and-sides beeping, a reversing-aid camera that shows on-screen exactly what's behind you. It's like being inside a neurotic and paranoid guard dog. My 16-year-old daughter absolutely loved the extras, especially the heated steering wheel and the dashboard television (although all we could tune into was Welsh-language TV).

It's a heavenly drive. For such a seemingly bulky car, it's surprisingly nippy in cornering and sleek in cruising. The steering is light and responsive, the acceleration so smoothly powerful it'll make you smile like a Bond villain. It doesn't so much sail over sleeping policemen as ignore them completely.

I have three cavils. The automatic gearbox has a mind of its own, choosing high gears when you're idling in traffic. The engine doesn't have sufficient power to whompf this big car away from a standing start: maybe it does nought-to-60 on eight seconds, but I'd add two seconds of just-sitting-there time. And if you're not familiar with a car key whose mere presence unlocks the door, you'll spend a maddening time locking the car. But idiocy apart, this is a big-hearted, beautifully designed car that'll give any grey-templed senior manager an instant James May complex.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
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

    Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

    £30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

    Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

    £35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

    £60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game