2012 JAGUAR XF REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Luxury sedan
Price: $86,100 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 5.4 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 7.7 l/100km
It might be the entry-level powertrain in the Jaguar XF range, but the 2.2D turbo-diesel under that tasty long bonnet has all the right numbers.
Outputs of 140kW and 450Nm put it ahead of all its German competitors. Better still, the new XF embodies nearly all of the good things that the Jaguar badge traditionally signified: sporting style, gracious lines, and a sublime ride.
But there’s more to the premium luxury market than power stats and style: mechanical refinement, switchgear, and the smallest details of fit and finish are paramount, and the XF 2.2D isn’t quite so satisfying in those departments.
Quality: There’s acres of leather and fine wood trimmings in the XF’s interior - particularly in the higher-grade Premium Luxury variant tested here - and it exudes British warmth and charm - something its German rivals can’t equal.
However, much of the switchgear feels flimsy or vague (especially the steering wheel thumbwheels and indicator/wiper stalks) and the dials on the tachometer and speedo in our test car would oscillate ever-so-slightly during steady cruising.
The latter, in particular, bothered us a bit - it may be particular to this car but is a surprising quality glitch.
Comfort: Cabin comfort is exceptional both front and rear. Both front seats are six-way adjustable and give fantastic support (the suede inserts also help hold you in place), and the back seats are equally well-cushioned and sumptuously comfortable.
Legroom in both rows is acceptable, but not overly generous. The sizable transmission tunnel means the centre rear seat is best left unoccupied.
Equipment: Standard equipment on the Jaguar 2.2D Premium Luxury includes dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone integration, cruise control, trip computer, power-adjustable front seats, satellite navigation, foglamps, LED daytime running lamps and bi-xenon headlamps.
The audio system features a six-disc stacker, along with an internal hard-drive for music storage and a USB auxilliary input.
Storage: The boot measures in at 500 litres, expanding markedly when the 60/40 split rear seatbacks are folded down.
There are also door bins in every door, four cupholders split between the front and rear, a respectably sized glovebox and a deep centre console bin.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The XF’s 2.2 litre AJ-i4D turbodiesel four has plenty of torque; wind it up and you’re left in no doubt.
There’s 450Nm of the stuff, which, coupled with the engine’s 140kW power output, gives it more than enough shove to move its 1.8-tonne body with ease.
Unfortunately, if revs are low, there’s some throttle lag before all of that wonderful torque comes on stream.
Plant the right foot and there’s a pause before the turbocharger spins up and starts to deliver a meaningful amount of boost. That delay can be an issue when pulling out from a side street into traffic, or overtaking on a country B-road.
Once the engine has built up some steam though, it hauls like a locomotive - especially when there’s more than 2500rpm on the dial. It runs out of puff well before the redline though, so it’s a good thing there’s eight gears for the automatic transmission to shuffle through.
That eight-speeder has a responsive manual shift-mode using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. It’s also pretty good when left to its own devices, and shuffles through its gears both smoothly and silently.
Refinement: It’s a shame the engine isn’t as smooth as the gearbox. The diesel transmits a fair amount of vibration into the cabin not only at idle, but also at cruising speeds when spinning at low rpm.
The engine isn’t noisy, mind you, it just feels a bit rough. It’s perhaps more noticeable because the XF is a premium luxury sedan, with a premium price (and we have higher expectations). Road noise and wind noise however are very well silenced.
Suspension: The ride and handling of Jaguars has always been a trump card, and the XF does not disappoint. It doesn’t waft along like Jaguars of old, but the suspension tuning is nicely suited to dealing with the broad range of surfaces that Australian motorists encounter.
Damping and stability at speed is very good - the XF is a genuine intercapital express.
On really lumpy country backroads it can feel a little firm, but everywhere else it delivers a smooth, comfortable ride, and is effortless in swallowing long distances.
Braking: The XF has a smooth, progressive pedal and strong all-disc braking hardware, but there’s a small dead zone at the top of the brake pedal’s travel.
ANCAP rating: 4 Star
Safety features: Standard safety features include dual front, front side, full-length curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front headrests.
The XF’s electronic safety suite comprises switchable traction control, stability control, ABS, EBD and brake assist.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Service costs: Service costs vary. Before purchase, contact your local Jaguar dealer for specific servicing costs.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Mercedes-Benz E220 CDI Elegance ($83,300) - The E-Class is a finely finished car, with excellent cabin materials and a solid build. Its 2.2 litre turbodiesel has less power and 50Nm less torque than the Jag, however it is slightly cheaper. (see E-Class reviews)
BMW 520d ($80,700) - The new F50 5 Series is an excellent car, which only really suffers from a relative lack of rear legroom and an expensive options list.
Its 130kW/380Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel four-pot doesn’t have the grunt of the Jaguar’s 2.2, but at over $5k cheaper it’s still a compelling option. (see 5 Series reviews)
Audi A6 2.0TDI ($78,900) - The A6 has identical output figures to the 520d, however is a front-drive only proposition compared to the rear-drive BMW, Benz and Jag.
It’s the most affordable of this bunch though, and, with a German badge on its snout it’s got broader appeal than the Jaguar. (see A6 reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It might have the most impressive powertrain specs, sumptuous seating and an excellent ride, but for overall quality and refinement the Jaguar XF 2.2D falls short of its diesel-powered German rivals.
The XF’s laggy engine has got great peak power and torque figures, but it takes its time delivering them.
A 4-Star safety rating is also short of the mark, particularly at a time when virtually every competitor sits on a full 5-Star ANCAP rating.
Would we recommend it? On a pound for pound basis it doesn’t quite measure up, but it’s certainly stylish, and worth consideration if you’re looking for something a little different to the trio from Germany.
Otherwise we’d put the XF 2.2D Premium Luxury behind the equivalent Benz, Audi and BMW diesels. Or perhaps spend a few grand extra to get yourself into the more refined (but thirstier) V6 petrol XF.
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