Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


Driven: Jaguar XF 2.0d. Image by Jaguar.

Driven: Jaguar XF 2.0d
Jaguar's XF Mk2 is a fine car, but specify it carefully...


<< earlier Jaguar review     later Jaguar review >>

Reviews homepage -> Jaguar reviews

Jaguar XF 2.0d

4 4 4 4 4

Good points: appearance, interior, improved infotainment, all-round refined drive, real-world economy.

Not so good: can look weedy on small wheels, you might as well splash out on the 180hp diesel, R-Sport suspension unsettles otherwise superb ride, costly options.

Key Facts

Model tested: Jaguar XF 2.0d R-Sport 163 manual
Price: XF from 32,300; 2.0d R-Sport 163 manual from 34,200; car as tested 47,585
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 104g/km (Band B, 0 VED first 12 months, 20 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 70.6mpg
Top speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Power: 163hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1,500- to 2,500rpm

Our view:

Some car manufacturers, whether historically or currently, have received stick from critics for making their designs appear homogenous: see BMW circa 2000 (E46 3 Series, E39 5 Series and E38 7 Series) or Mercedes (C-Class, E-Class and S-Class) in the present day. Yet no one has really pulled designer Ian Callum up for drawing the same basic profile shape as the 1993 Aston Martin DB7 for all his subsequent cars. Maybe this lack of opprobrium is because this repetitious tactic has seen the Scot and his design team(s) churn out a litany of fine-looking machines in the past decade, with the Jaguar XF being one of the very best.

Even though it was eight years old by the time it was phased out in 2015, the Mk1 XF remained a handsome beast. It looked superb as either a saloon or the Sportbrake, although it really came into its own once it had been facelifted in 2011 and the front lights had dispensed with that round motif. Therefore, making the new XF appear to be a slightly larger, stretched version of its XE baby brother, which in turn apes a shrunken, slightly modernised iteration of the old XF, is totally sensible. It's a great-looking car and adding R-Sport styling to it (1,900 over an entry-level Prestige model) beefs up the looks with a meaty lower body kit and 18-inch alloy wheels... on every variant bar this 163hp diesel, which sticks with 17s in order to help it qualify for the lowest CO2 figure of any XF: as a six-speed manual, it emits just 104g/km, meaning it'll only cost 20 a year to tax it after the first 12 months which are free.

The interior is lovely and has a neat formality to it that speaks of thoughtful ergonomic design, although a few people who travelled in the XF lamented its lack of a 'wow' factor. The red-lit 'start/stop' button still pulses like a heartbeat before ignition, the two outer air vents in the dash still rotate into position when required, but as a manual there is of course no rising rotary gear selector and everything is functional rather than flashy. No problems with the fit and finish, though, as it's all beautifully put together. Although it wants to be, as Jaguar's PR department felt the 34,200 163hp R-Sport needed an incredible 13,385 of extras fitted to it to be at its best - and the resulting 47,585 machine isn't what we'd order if we had the chance.

So what has Jaguar's press office added in terms of options? Well, metallic paint will cost you 675. A large variety of technology bundles quickly spiral the car towards the 40 grand mark, such as Memory Pack with Powerfold Mirrors (1,250 for memory seats and folding mirrors), a Power Convenience Pack (850 for keyless entry and go, an automatic boot lid and more power points within), Active Safety Pack (820 for various driver assist safety systems), a Black Pack (650, coats some of the exterior detailing, including the front grille, in said colour) and a Cold Climate Pack (730, heating for the windscreen, steering wheel and rear seats as well as the fronts). And is it just us that thinks 1,940 is a lot of money to add Advanced Parking Assist with a Surround Camera on a luxury motor like this Jag? Or 420 on 40:20:40 split folding rear seats? A further 300 for electric steering column adjustment and the same amount for an alloy space saver spare wheel?

Cabin Pre-Heat with Timer and Remote (1,000) was nice, but a grand for that isn't necessary when you've got heated seats. You might want the Adaptive LED headlamps (1,225), Laser Head-up Display (1,220) and Electrically Deployable Towbar (1,520), but again none of these options are particularly cheap when held up to comparable technology in rival ranges. Soft-close doors (485) rounded out the wrong side of 13 large, and while it's fine to say that as a press demonstrator the car was loaded up beyond reason as a showcase vehicle, the fact is that an unwitting owner could just as easily spend this amount on options - and more - on a base XF. Nearly 50,000 for a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 163hp diesel saloon is, if you'll forgive the utterly incongruous Cilla reference, a lorra, lorra money.

Back to those 17-inch wheels for now, though, as they were swapped over for nine-spoke silver Turbine designs on our car, at no cost. Wonderful for ride comportment and great for fuel economy, they nevertheless look utterly lost in the long flanks of the XF. With the muscular R-Sport bodywork undone by an odd colour and diminutive rims at the corners, the end result is visually denuded in terms of presence. That's why we've shown you a big-wheeled, silver version in the pictures instead, because surely most buyers are prepared to take a minor hit in the wallet per annum on tax in favour of having an XF that looks like it should: imposing, feline and expensive.

And there's one more gripe to get out of the way, which relates to R-Sport specification. It includes Sports suspension and we reckon that, on the basic diesel like this, it's a counter-productive move. Occasionally, the Jaguar will thump through compressions and jiggle over poor surfaces in a manner at odds with its elegant appearance. However, the rest of the time the damping is first rate, and it teams up with near-imperceptible wind noise, minimal tyre roar and negligible rumblings from the Ingenium 2.0d engine to create a supreme long-distance cruiser. It'll soak up motorway journeys with disdain, munching mile after mile in total serenity. So if you are really bothered about CO2 and economy, meaning you're going to stick with 17-inch castors, then don't bother ticking the 'R-Sport' box when it comes to ordering time.

The rest of the Jaguar's dynamic make-up is fabulous and really promising for higher models up the range, because this lowly engine (the smallest petrol engine you can have makes 240hp, so the 163hp diesel is by far the least quick XF) has no trouble shifting the Jag's mass about. It feels every bit as lively as the on-paper performance stats and it's never coarse or raucous in its exertions. It also turned in genuinely excellent economy returns: 56mpg at a 45mph average across 425 miles of mixed-roads driving, with that number comprising a return trip to Heathrow at 62.6mpg with a 57mph average over 296 miles; it actually did 64.1mpg on the more leisurely, largely traffic-free return leg, which for a big executive car with plenty of punch is admirable. With just 3,000 miles on this XF's clock, we'd expect more mileage to free up the turbodiesel engine and for the economy figure to improve further over the first 12 months of ownership.

Like all Jaguars, it has fantastic steering, which is sharp and clean and reasonably informative, bolstered by a chassis that resists understeer well, even if it doesn't feel overtly rear-wheel drive. There's a bit more pitch and roll than we'd expect to find on similar German machines, perhaps a corollary of that velvety ride, but the XF's chassis is still highly composed in corners. Finally, we have the manual gearbox, which now has a shift action that feels more like a traditional BMW manual than BMW manuals do. There's that slightly rubbery, springy feel to the way it bounds across the gate and a notch-like motion as it finally locks into whichever gear you're going for; it's by no means unpleasant, and indeed is almost comfortingly familiar if you've driven a lot of 1990-2005 BMWs with three pedals (which we have), but compared to some super-slick, light transmissions on the market it will feel a touch heavy duty and unrefined.

So the XF is very spec-specific. It can obviously ride with a wonderful suppleness that is almost certainly class-leading, as long as you don't choose R-Sport suspension, and we think it's probably worth shelling out the 900 for the slightly more powerful 180hp/430Nm Ingenium unit. If you want the XF to look its absolute best, then by all means go for R-Sport trim, but team it with bigger wheels and a V6 engine to make it worthwhile, and try to avoid getting trapped in the lengthy and often costly options list. There's clearly a marvellous car configurable in the XF ordering process, one that might even be able to eclipse the BMW 5 Series and brand-new Mercedes E-Class as the best-in-segment, but this 2.0d R-Sport isn't it. Still a highly competent machine, though.


Audi A6: been around a while but 190hp engine in the A6 ultra is a peachy unit, although it's not quite as frugal as the XF 2.0d 163.

BMW 518d: fleet special has detuned 2.0-litre turbo four, giving out 150hp and 360Nm, which means it's slower and less green than this XF; also, the current Five is now six years old.

Mercedes-Benz E 220 d: the danger man. New OM654 diesel makes this much quieter and cleaner, and the E-Class is a superb machine; a little more expensive than the Jaguar, though.

Matt Robinson - 18 Apr 2016    - Jaguar road tests
- Jaguar news
- XF images

2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.

2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.2015 Jaguar XF R-Sport. Image by Jaguar.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©