Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel Sport 14 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Sporty XF is a headturner which confirms Jaguar is back where it belongs: at the top


    I’ve always had a soft spot for Jaguars, so much so that I actually own two of them, an elderly Mark II – most commonly referred to as “the Inspector Morse” – and a low mileage mid-90s XJ6. They only come out of the garage and on to the road in the summer, and never in the rain, but I do sometimes take them out just to admire their sleek lines. So I’m totally biased when it comes to Jags, but my tolerance has been tested in recent years with the arrival of the new breed. The S-Type wasn’t too bad, if a poor imitation of the Mark II, but the X-Type, more commonly referred to as a ‘Mondeo with a Jag badge’, just wasn’t right, and I’m sure helped speed the problems which Jag faced in subsequent years, ending with their eventual sale by Ford to the Indian Tata company, along with Land Rover.

    More recently Jaguar has got itself together and the XF, thankfully, has got back to original principles of quality, heritage and tradition. I’m not sure I’d go as far as Jaguar’s publicity blurb which says the XF has “the soul of a sports car, the style and sophistication of a luxury four-door saloon and the visual excitement of a coupe” but it is a bit of a looker and it is comfortable.

    It's very comfortable and the look and feel inside is superb

    On the road

    The test car had the latest 3.0-litre twin turbocharged diesel engine which does a fine job in combining impressive economy of 42mpg with surprising performance; it’ll get you from a standing start to 60mph in under six seconds. It feels effortless, especially with the simple cast alloy automatic transmission selector which pops up after you’ve pressed the pulsating (yes the light inside really does glow and dim) ‘Start’ button so you can dial up D, P, R, N or Sport performance. It’s difficult to detect the diesel engine from inside the car, although I did find it a touch noisy on the outside.

    While I had the car, there was a sudden shower of snow overnight which showed the car in a different light. In dry conditions it may be a delight on the road, but it was well and truly stuck in some hard packed snow on only a slight gradient. Even taking off the traction control had little or no effect and the rear wheels simply spun with no hint of grip. It took a couple of shovels of grit to get going. Slippery conditions just don’t suit the combination of power, the huge tyres and the automatic box.

    Comfort & Safety

    Without doubt it is very comfortable and the look and feel inside is superb. The test car was fitted inside with a combination of truffle and ivory leather, and even the headlining and pillars were covered in suede cloth. The overall feeling is one of quiet sophistication, highlighted by the aluminium facia vents which rotate silently open when you call up the climate control.

    I’m still not sure about the central screen which controls virtually everything from audio and onboard computer to the navigation and vehicle settings, including a valet PIN code. If I’d had the car for longer I might have got more used to the system, but I felt I had to wade through the whole menu for every operation, and even then it felt less than reliable. The blind spot system, which warns through a light on the door mirrors of other vehicles behind you to the side, proved to have some sight problems of its own, often rendered out of action because of road dirt on the rear bumper sensors.

    Should I buy one?

    If owning a Jaguar is your dream and you feel the larger XJ is too much of an old man’s car, then the XF is for you, and more of a Jaguar than the X- or S-Type.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £44,200 / £46,753
    Engine / Power: 2998cc / 175bhp
    How fast?: 0-60mph 5.9secs, Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: H1460mm W2053mm L4961mm / 1820kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 42.0mpg / CO2 179g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 18E / Band I, £175
    Alternatives: Mercedes E-class; BMW 5 Series; Audi A6

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