Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel Review
Vehicle Style: Luxury Sporting Sedan
Price: $78,900 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 5.4 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 7.1 l/100km
The MY12 Jaguar range arrives with a raft of subtle design and performance changes, and two big additions to the brand: the bombastic XKR-S performance coupe, and the frugal XF 2.2-litre diesel sedan.
Oddly enough, it's that 2.2 diesel that has most raised eyebrows. With stop-start technology, and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it's Jaguar's first small-capacity diesel – in fact the smallest engine ever from the Brit manufacturer.
Small it might be, but there's no shortage of torque on tap. It hauls 1700kg of luxury Jag around with total ease. Setting a new entry-level price, it's this model that will be the big seller.
Quality: Pardon the pun, but Jag has made a huge leap in quality with the XF range. The ‘base’ XF oiler is no exception.
Trim of double-stitched leather with alcantara seat-inserts (for added grip) doubles with soft-touch surfaces and smart dials. The retina-roasting chrome of the previous car’s centre console, which reflected sunlight uncomfortably into the driver’s eyes, is now in a soft brushed silver.
Only the wood trim-panels on the test car, which sound and feel synthetic, dulled what is a quality cabin.
Comfort: Standard four-way seat-adjustment on both front seats makes getting settled a breeze. The alcantara and leather trim grips the body and cossets the hips and shoulders for lateral support in both rows.
Our test car’s 'six/six-way' adjustable seats were a $440 option; lumbar adjustment is also in the next spec of seat.
Equipment: The XF now gets the lovely swoopy headlights of the XJ, with the best daytime running-light design going around – and shaped in a 'J' (of all things).
In base “Luxury” trim it comes with leather, multi-function steering wheel with paddles, and a seven-inch colour touch-screen for the multimedia interface.
This includes a 30GB hard drive, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, and an excellent speaker system.
But as with any base-level car, the options list is rather long and pricey. Our “Luxury” test vehicle, sitting below a “Premium Luxury” spec, featured front parking sensors and a rear camera ($1,390), a mirror pack ($1,570), 'six/six-way' seats ($440), split rear seat ($1,000), carpet mats ($350), keyless entry ($950), 18" Vela alloys ($2,490), Rosewood veneer ($320), metallic paint ($2,650), sat-nav ($2,495) and a sunroof ($3,920), making it a $102,565 car.
Storage: The Jaguar bests Audi and BMW rivals with a narrow but deep glovebox, cupholders, cubbies and deep door-pockets.
The boot is very large but unfortunately, with the batteries relocated to the boot, the floor of the Jag hides only a skinny spacesaver spare.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Punchy and powerful, the 2.2 diesel hardly feels like a four-cylinder.
In fact, it’s easy to forget it’s a diesel. The power and torque curve is very precise, with power kicking in as torque wanes, making a very smooth powerband. Its slick operation is underpinned by not six, but eight speeds, in the ZF sports auto.
It takes a little getting used to. Using the paddles around Mt Tambourine on the Queensland/NSW border, the 'usual' two or three taps to change down suddenly becomes four or five.
But the gearbox is super intelligent, allowing gear stacking with multiple hits of the down paddle, and even dropping down a gear during heavy braking to utilise engine compression.
It’s a genuine performance package, this four-pot oiler, with stunning throttle response, rear-drive accuracy and light-footed ability despite its 1700kg-plus heft.
Refinement: It is easy to forget you are in a diesel such is the XF's on-road refinement. Only when the stop-start activates – when you're first listening for it – do you notice at all that it’s a diesel.
The stop-start tech is a first for jag and only available on the 2.2 litre model. The battery, located in the boot, regenerates during the drive to always be on hand (for instant start-up, with a single revolution of the engine). The combined fuel sip is a miniscule 5.4 l/100km.
Suspension: The suspension is just short of sublime, with long travel and excellent rebound and bump control (despite the car’s weight and size).
It’s hard to set off the traction/stability control, even over upsetting dips and cambered corners.
Braking: The brakes too are excellent, without fade, though the pedal feel and travel is a bit remote.
ANCAP rating: 4-Stars
Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts, front active headrests, Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control,
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three year with roadside assist
Service costs: Servicing every 26,000km!
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Audi A6 2.0D ($78,900) – With 10kW and 70Nm less in the powertrain, and at 1575kg, the Audi claims a 0.4 l/100km advantage over the Jag in fuel use. But its RRP is the same, so by the time you’re on the road, you’re on par in price, but in a front-drive car with a CVT… ?(see Audi A6 reviews)
Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI Avantgarde ($88,700) – The Merc’s engine clocks 125kW and 400Nm from 2.1 litres, and sips slightly more fuel (5.9 l/100km) despite being on par with the Jag’s kerb weight. ?(see Mercedes-Benz E-Class reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
If it seems this review is glowing, it's because the XF diesel absolutely shines.
For $84,990 on road, and with a host of options to tailor the car to suit, it sinks top-of-the-line HSVs and FPVs.
Of course, it's more the big three German competitors that are in the Jag’s crosshairs; in particular, their sub-$90k diesel sporting sedans. Jaguar's new XF diesel is their match.
In Europe, the 2.2 makes up almost half of XF sales. If you're shopping in this part of the luxury segment, we'd recommend a close look at this very good new car from Jaguar, the XF diesel 2.2.