Six- and eight-cylinder engines were once commonplace in cars of this size, but now four-cylinders are the norm and anything more a real luxury. Unfortunately, it's a luxury the XF doesn't currently possess, with just a single 3-litre V6 diesel upholding multi-cylinder honours.
Everything else is found in four-cylinder format, under Jaguar Land Rover's "Ingenium" engine series and both petrol and diesel iterations. This starts at the bottom of the range with a 161bhp 2-litre diesel and climbs up to a 296bhp 2-litre petrol, with various outputs in between.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The 2-litre diesel is available in 161bhp, 178bhp and 237bhp outputs, with 280lb ft, 317lb ft and 369lb ft of torque respectively, the first two delivering their torque output at 1750rpm and the most powerful car coming on song from 1500rpm.
Petrol models start off at 247bhp at 5500rpm and 269lb ft at 1200rpm, and finish with the potent 296bhp, 295lb ft car, whose outputs appear at 5500rpm and 1500rpm respectively. The top V6 diesel makes the same power output as the range-topping petrol, albeit at a lower 4000rpm, but has the most torque of any XF with a walloping 516lb ft delivered from 2000rpm.
An 8-speed automatic is available across the majority of the range, while the lowest pair of diesels also come with a manual option. While evo is the first to champion the manual gearbox, in the XF we’d give it a wide berth. The shift isn’t particularly precise or intuitive around the gate, and feels far to rubbery in action rather than smooth and mechanical.
The auto is smooth and suits the car's character, and while it sometimes gels unhappily with the diesel engines it's much better suited to the petrols. In the diesels the 'box sometimes hunts for gears and changes down a few too many ratios rather than making the most of the torque on offer, but the petrols behave themselves with the gearbox and changes with the paddles are swift too.