TRUE BRITISH ELEGANCE – JAGUAR XF

Does the XE’s bigger brother have what it takes to build on its smaller sibling’s abilities to fight the strongest in the market?

 

I wouldn’t want to be the Jaguar XF. Just look at the competition it has to compete with – the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-series, Audi A6, even the Volvo S90 and Maserati Ghibli. All of these cars are machines at the very top of their game, some of the finest saloons and estates ever produced. Being the Jaguar XF means undertaking a continual, fierce battle to be one of the best cars in the world.

 

Having just driven Jaguar’s smaller saloon – the XE – recently, expectations for the XF were high. It makes a solid first-impression, the look is almost identical to the XE but that’s no bad thing because it retains the strong lines, big grill and understated luxury image that just seems to suit the current Jaguar range so well. On our test car, a regal dark blue colour scheme with black leather upholstery gave it a particularly special feel, but noticeably different to German rivals. It felt like a British car and being distinctive is quite important when you’re up against such established names.

 

 

In our test car we had a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine in the place of the more popular diesel equivalent, a 247bhp unit that feels plenty quick enough, a feeling backed by the official 0-62mph time of just 6.6-seconds, aided by the smooth cog-swapping of the 8-speed automatic gearbox. That isn’t the most impressive thing about this new ‘Ingenium’ engine though, its real party-piece is its silence. Unless being driven particularly hard, this XF rides along with barely a murmur emerging from it. No doubt the Jaguar’s excellent cabin quality and sound insulation plays a big part in this and it makes long distance travel very relaxing. After 6-hours of driving in one day with the XF, we got out at the other end of the journey feeling just as fresh as we’d begun it.

 

In terms of enthusiastic driving, the class leader – the BMW 5-series – is enormously difficult to top but the XF gets pretty close. Precise steering and an excellent suspension allows you to move around the XF like a much lighter vehicle – reminiscent of the XE’s agility. I suspect that the 6-cylinder petrol engine would really allow this car to shine, dynamically speaking, but for now the BMW 5-series still has the edge when it comes to feel. However, the XF certainly isn’t far behind and does have a quieter cabin.

 

Various trim levels are available, but our test car was the ‘Portfolio’ which Jaguar calls the “pinnacle of XF luxury…” and it certainly feels very classy, with excellent materials and build quality across the cabin and an excellent selection of equipment. Infotainment systems are so crucial to the overall feeling of a car now, especially in the luxury sector and Jaguar’s software is easy to use and smartly presented, though Synergy customers coming from a BMW 5-series or a Lexus GS may miss the absence of the swivel-wheel which can make operating a system like this whilst driving much easier.

 

 

Personal taste is crucial when it comes to choosing between the cars in this area of the market. Some will love the Mercedes-Benz E-Class for its elegance and glamour, others will opt for the BMW 5-series for its dynamic excellence. For those who like handsome, understated design and a quiet ride though, this Jaguar XF is an excellent proposition. Maybe I would like to be the Jaguar XF after all, though Synergy customers are already choosing their models based on their own lifestyles and tastes.

 

SYNERGY BUSINESS LEASE RATING – 3/5 – NOT GREAT IN TERMS OF CO2 EMISSIONS, BUT FAR FROM THE WORST. 247BHP PETROL ENGINE MANAGED 40MPG DURING OUR TIME WITH IT, WHICH EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS.

SYNERGY PERSONAL LEASE RATING – 4/5 – THANKS TO STRONG RESIDUAL VALUES, THE XF MAKES FOR GREAT VALUE ON A SYNERGY PERSONAL LEASE AGREEMENT.

SYNERGY OVERALL RATING – 4/5 – COMFORTABLE AND QUIET BUT STILL FUN TO DRIVE AND VERY GOOD LOOKING, THIS IS AN EXCELLENT EXECUTIVE SALOON WITH A DISTINCTLY BRITISH CHARACTER.