We’ve already driven the supercharged version of Jaguar’s new XF, the SV8, and pronounced it to be rather good (evo 114, and again in this issue), but the unsettling truth is that very few UK buyers will care – Jag predicts 70 per cent of them will actually plump for this diesel version.
This is not the poison chalice of heavy oil you might expect. Whilst it lacks the SV8’s sheer wallop, for the most part the XF D clips along nicely, and quietly too. Only when it starts to labour up steep hills will you yearn for the 3-litre diesel that’s rumoured to be coming soon, and in the meantime you can improve things by overriding the auto ’box with the excellent paddles behind the wheel.
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Then there’s the talented chassis, and in particular the steering, which has that lovely ‘clean’ response a first-generation Focus driver might recognise. It’s not a light car this, but its ability to remain tight and controlled when you chuck it about shows how well its man boobs have been disguised. For a big saloon (it’s taller and wider than a 5-series), the way the Jag can be hustled, gripping hard through corners then spearing neatly out of them, is genuinely entertaining.
An impressive bit of kit then, managing to be more fun than an equivalent Merc or Audi, with a warmer personality than a BMW. And if you have to opt for the diesel, it’s good enough to stop you wistfully wondering how the other 30 per cent live.
|Engine||V6, 2720cc, twin-turbo diesel|
|Max power||204bhp @ 4000rpm|
|Max torque||320lb ft @ 1900rpm|
|Top speed||143mph (claimed)|