Advantages Style. Substance. Engine. Interior. Handling. Refinement. Value. Equipment.
Disadvantages Visibility. Model name. Flat seats.
On “the tin” this particular model says “Premium Luxury”; I am therefore reviewing the Jaguar XF 3.0D V6 Premium Luxury.Interpreting Jaguar model code here for you, the XF is what other manufacturers, in the so called “premium sector” (Audi, BMW, Mercedes etc.), would regard as their medium sized saloon model, for the time being, following the demise of the X-Type, the XF is now actually Jaguar’s lead-in model. In a sense this can only be regarded as a move up-market for Jaguar.
Incidentally, as with all Jaguars now produced, the XF is only available with an automatic gearbox, in this case having eight speeds.Can Jaguar’s “mid-range” model possibly live up to that ever so slightly boastful model designation? Hopefully my review will answer that question.
The XF is 4961mm long and, including the door mirrors, 2053mm wide. Those dimensions make it fractionally bigger than its closest rivals, by comparison the Audi A6 is 4920 x 1870, the BMW 5-Series 4899 x 2094 and the E-Class Mercedes 4868 x 2071.I guess cars have simply grown in size during the last five decades as, in actual fact, it would NOT fit my own standard sized 1960’s single garage, whereas the BMW or Mercedes would – but only just!
Whilst recognising that such an event in no way emulates the long term ownership of any of the many cars experienced there on an annual basis, it does give an excellent comparison between the car driven and its rivals. As a purpose built automotive proving ground, Millbrook provides a sufficient diversity of road surfaces, corners, extremely steep hills and a 100mph banked circuit, to enable the experienced driver to pack the average years motoring into an eight mile circuit.Each year that we go, I attempt to draw up a diverse list of cars that I would like to try; the Jaguar XF 3.0V6 Diesel was, in 2011, right at the top of my list of cars to drive, in the event I also had the opportunity to drive the brand new 2.2 litre diesel four-cylinder version this car too – a fascinating comparison as it turned out.
Over a three year, 36,000 mile period, in bald, cost per mile terms, this Jaguar XF will cost 86.4 pence per mile to run, the equivalent Audi 90.2p.p.m, the BMW 90.4p.p.m and the Mercedes 99.0p.p.m.The vast majority of XF’s, when sold new, will be paid for by a corporate entity, the car only passing into private ownership after two or three years. By any standards this has to be regarded as a pretty up-market company car, however, corporate buyers know their onions and costs are everything in this market, both for the company and indeed for the lucky recipient of such a car. On both sides of the company / driver equation, the CO2 emission figure becomes ever more critical in terms of cost, and not just in the obvious benefit in kind tax payment either.
The XF 3.0D emits 179gm/kg CO2. This firmly places it into the “perk” category as far as company cars are concerned; running any car with a CO2 figure above 160gm/kg is disproportionately expensive from the employers point of view. In terms of personal tax, in the 2011/2012 tax year, the driver, as a 40% tax payer, is going to pay £369 per month for the use of this specific model.Due to its main competitor’s lower CO2 emissions ratings, the 3.0 XF does sit at the top of the class in terms of taxation costs.
......that is before taking it out onto the road and experiencing what, frankly, for me was a revelation in terms of the overall driving experience.
With a lovely leather interior coming as standard on all XF models, you do not need to spend a single penny in order to make this car habitable, although you will probably want to shell out £650 for metallic paint, “ours” was finished in gorgeous metallic black – the paint finish was flawless. At this price level however, the chances are that some further luxury options will be specified.Over and above its standard specification, the car that we drove was fitted with: an electric sun roof (£1000), front parking aid with rear camera (£500), a heated windscreen (£275), heated and cooled seats (£480 – try it! Highly recommended!) and a £1350 Bower & Wilkins premium stereo system, which sounded good, but not THAT good!
Thanks to the magic of the Jaguar car configurator (play with it and dream!) I can tell you that the full on the road price of the car reviewed here – including options – was £45,205.
Thanks to Jaguar’s ever improving reputation and with the tangible quality of their current range of cars, this remains an improving picture.After three years and having covered an average 12,000 miles annually, the Jaguar is forecast to be worth 47% of its price new. A comparable Audi would be worth 42%, a BMW 40% and a Mercedes 46%, these figures go a long way to explaining the Jaguar’s lower cost per mile figure – it is simply seen as a more desirable car on the second hand market.
According to the published government fuel consumption cycle, average consumption statistics, known by all to be pretty farcical, this 150mph car is capable of averaging 44.8mpg overall. Call that 36-38mpg then in the real world.However times have moved on and one has to compare the XF to its similarly sized, and powered, rivals. Using the government average as a guide, we find that a 245bhp Audi A6 3.0TDi (four wheel drive at that) manages 47.9mpg, a 241bhp BMW 530d covers 46.3 miles on each gallon of diesel, whilst the super-efficient new 265bhp Mercedes 350CDi BlueEfficiency does 45.6mpg. All therefore are slightly more powerful than the XF reviewed here, yet at the same time are marginally more fuel efficient.
The 3.0 XF requires servicing at twelve month or 16,000 mile intervals, whichever comes first.Thanks to “What Car” magazine I am able to tell you that the Jaguar will cost £1717, the Audi - £1044 , BMW - £1003 and Mercedes - £1820 to service over three years and 36,000 miles. These are countrywide “average” figures, so expect to pay a little more in central London and a bit less out in the provinces.
Jaguar have done a fantastic job in completely transforming their cars which in the 1980’s and 90’s had a dreadful reputation for unreliability and breaking down. Modern Jaguars are, if anything, more reliable than their German premium brand rivals, coming second only to Lexus in recent customer satisfaction surveys, this bodes well as you will not be making close friends with your local Jaguar Centre service manager!Let the “fun” begin! You want to know what this car is like to live with and to drive and be driven in……
In recent years Jaguar designers seem to have had a knack of predicting the market in terms of styling and have managed to produce shapes that have grown on me with familiarity, the XF is a classic case in point. With the launch of the new 2.2d model, Jaguar have given the whole range a minor face lift, most noticeable is the new bonnet and very attractive headlight treatment, in silhouette however the XF has not changed at all and has aged very well indeed.What I really like about the XF is that it does look very different indeed to its far more clinical German rivals, it has a classic British elegance about it, which is a major selling point in my opinion.
The way that the materials have been matched, particularly the stitching on the leather, again reinforce the feeling that you have spent all that money on something really rather special here.
Naturally the Jaguar XF is fitted with all of the active and passive modern safety equipment now taken for granted.In this car I, and Mrs R, my passenger, felt extraordinarily safe. The Jaguar cocoons you in a way that no other car driven does. Thanks to the rigidity of the body – thank that for the lack of squeaks and rattles too – you have every reason to think that should it come to the worst, you would emerge in reasonable condition from any crash.
Driving the XF, one can only wonder at just how reckless one would have to be to cause it to crash in the first place. In terms of dynamic safety, i.e. the way it behaves on the road in extreme driving conditions – as presented here at Millbrook – in my opinion it sets new standards in this area.Unlike its cousins in the Land Rover stable, the Jaguar is less dependent on electronic traction control devices – yes, they are present, but even in extreme mountain pass type driving do not make themselves so obviously present as they do for instance in a TDV8 Range Rover. Overall the XF is an extremely safe handling car, the abilities of which will well exceed all but a racing driver or suicide pilot.
The primary relationship between your hands and feet and the main controls in the Jaguar XF is absolutely spot on. Thanks to an electrically adjustable drivers’ seat and steering column (a toggle switch providing both reach and rake adjustment) you will find, very easily, the perfect driving position in this car, that will not so easily be the case in either the Audi or Mercedes.Instinctively operating the secondary controls however is another matter. By nature now, cars in this market sector have become so technically advanced, and in turn complicated, that the myriad of dashboard features, mostly controlled by a high definition colour touch screen in the centre of the dashboard, are far from easy to use by the driver on the move. Having Mrs R in the car with me at such times is of huge benefit, but surely one should not require the services of a co-pilot in order to properly operate such features as seat heating / cooling, or indeed the hugely complex “infotainment” system.
This is one car in which a day reading the handbook before setting out for the first drive is highly advised!One thing that I would advise anyone who is seriously considering the purchase of an XF, would be to try out the front seats carefully before buying. Being the Luxury model, this one has flatter seats, which combined with leather facings provide less than adequate locational support in spirited driving. The seats in the S (or Sport) model proved much better on this score and for that reason I would not, myself, order an XF in Premium Luxury trim. Under any circumstances, make sure you try both before placing an order though!
Partly compensating for these shortcomings are very good door mirrors and the superb, but optional, reverse park camera and radar system, which also can have optioned in a front parking camera too. As a driver I would however prefer to be able to see, conventionally, all around me without recourse to electronic gadgets and feel that I have to mark this otherwise superb car down in this area.
In its own class, as we have already seen, the XF is a large car. Thanks to the cocooning effect of the interior it does not feel so, although space for the front occupants is more than generous, whatever their size – even in this case with a sun roof fitted.For those in the back the story is a little less happy, thanks to the relatively small glass area, the cocooning effect borders on the claustrophobic. In terms of head and leg room, anyone much taller than me, i.e. 5ft 8ins is going to feel the pinch.
Boot space, a major consideration as far as we are concerned, is good but, again, compromised in shape due to the Jaguar’s shapely rump. All of its competitors have more practical luggage compartments.
On entering the car, surprise and delight features abound; the transmission selector, a circular dial - looking nothing like a gear lever – pops out of the centre console, just where your left hand naturally falls. Also keeping things neat and tidy is the tiny electric hand brake switch, I am becoming used to these things now, but still prefer a conventional handle. In front of you on the dashboard, ventilation grills motor into sight in what had looked like a continuous strip of aluminium.Unless you are tall and confined to the back seat, it is awfully difficult not to like a car with as superb an interior as this.
Yes, the materials used here are absolutely first rate, there was nothing that I found fault with on this score in either of the XF’s that we drove. This car has, short of the larger Jaguar XJ, the highest showroom appeal of any car that I have ever sat in; the fact that it is manufactured in this country makes it doubly appealing too.
The climate control system works outstandingly well, but, a first for me, was the air conditioned seats, which actually blow refrigerated air through the perforated leather of both the base and seat back. A fantastic luxury feature this, one, which I would happily pay that £460 to have in the car.Why no 10 point score then? I guess one has to accept that such a technologically laden system is, by nature, going to be complex to control, but, without the aid of my passenger and having never previously experienced an XF, as a lone driver, beyond simply operating the driving controls, I would have been totally stumped as to cooling myself down, or indeed providing entertainment.
Incidentally the GPS system works off of the same screen, meaning that if you need to make adjustments elsewhere you have to forsake, temporarily, the GPS map.
A faultless, silky, performance.Whilst I drive, partly from necessity, a two litre, 150bhp diesel, in terms of refinement, my delectation has always been for big capacity engines, the more cylinders the better usually. The V6, three litre diesel Jaguar engine provides all the smoothness and refinement one could reasonably wish for in a car of any size and is perfectly mated to the seamless eight speed gearbox.
If you still have any prejudice regarding diesel power in a luxury or sporting car, this engine will quell it for good – it did so for me.Refinement however goes further than the engine and transmission. This car is extraordinarily well sealed from the outside world, hardly any road or wind noise can be heard at 100mph, even the climate control system is amazingly inconspicuous in its efforts to cool the car left sitting out in the sun.
Flat the seats may be, but they are perfectly in tune with the suspension, on the worst possible road surfaces all harshness is damped out, you are aware that the surface is poor, but at the same time superbly cushioned from the discomfort of it.Stand next to the Jaguar when the engine is started and you will hear no more than a muted growl, from inside that too is your impression at full throttle, at ordinary driving speeds you simply go about your business in refined silence.
At no stage during our very challenging drive did I feel the need for more power or torque, the rev counter never straying anywhere near the red line. This wonderful relaxed performance always gives you the reassuring impression that there is more left in reserve – should you need it..........incidentally I should mention here that should you REALLY feel the need for more performance, the S model provides another 35bhp......along with those better front seats!
One area of handling that I was particularly impressed with was the steering feel, so many modern steering systems are totally devoid of feel, in the XF, at least you can tell that you are connected to the steering wheels.
Yes, I would not hesitate to buy a Jaguar XF, but not, as it happens, this specific model. Better value and equipment is to be found elsewhere in the range – particularly in the superb new 2.2 litre diesel model.However given this actual car we would relish the idea of driving to Poland in a day in it. It does everything so superbly well that I can only imagine emerging from the driver’s seat 1150 miles later, feeling refreshed and invigorated. At an average of around 36mpg it would not even be that hard on the pocket in terms of fuel either!
Putting that score into perspective are the following cars based on identical scoring criteria:
JAGUAR XF 3.0D PREMIUM LUXURY – 82.9%SUBARU OUTBACK 2.0D RE - 85.3%
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