Jaguar's new XF 2.2 diesel

Can Jaguar's new XF 2.2 diesel take the fight to mass-market rivals, or is it a leap too far? Kent Life investigates

Leap of faith

Can Jaguar’s new XF 2.2 diesel take the fight to mass-market rivals, or is it a leap too far? Kent Life investigates

When the XF was first launched, it stepped confidently into a market full of talented competition. Jaguar’s recent history had been somewhat less that sparkling, and it was hard to see how this new saloon could possibly better offering from Mercedes, Audi and, crucially, BMW’s all-conquering 5 Series.

Against all odds though, it won favour with an astonishing chassis setup – there’s really no other word for it - edgy looks and a best-in-class interior, earning it a catalogue of awards and accolades including Car of the Decade.

Initially launched with a couple of large diesels and two monster V8s, the XF was great fun, but there was something missing – a smaller diesel for the all-important mass market.

Well, now it’s here. Outwardly there’s little difference, save some design tweaks for the 2012 model.  It’s under the bonnet where things start to look a little different.

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You’ve seen the 2.2 diesel in this XF before, powering various Fords and Land Rovers, but it’s not been a straight lift-and-refit. The new engine boasts a clever stop-start system – a first for Jaguar – a new turbocharger, fresh engine management and also a new gearbox with eight speeds.

Somehow, from this modestly sized 2.2 diesel, Jaguar’s engineers have managed to coax 187bhp which translates into a 0-60 time of eight seconds and a top speed of 140mph. Match that to 52mpg on a combined cycle, and you have a very interesting prospect on your hands.

It may lack the grin-inducing get-up-and-go of its more powerful stablemates (the next engine up has 237bhp), but with 187bhp the 2.2 is still easily powerful enough to get you out of trouble and have some fun on the back roads, too. 

This is largely thanks to the XF’s extraordinary chassis. There isn’t a road surface on which the Jaguar doesn’t feel at home, whether cruising on the motorway or getting a little tail-happy on a dusty B-road.

Put it this way: you’re going to run out of talent before the XF does, and it all adds up to an impressive package for an entry level car.

But it’s important that you don’t look at the 2.2 as a ‘budget’ Jaguar. This is not a watered-down, sugar-free Jaguar-lite. There are no compromises. It takes everything that modern-day Jaguars stand for and presents it to a whole new audience.

There’s nothing missing; it’s an all-round crowd-pleaser from a company that’s producing quality at every turn, and if you needed any evidence of that, jump inside.

The XF’s theatrical interior was a revolution when it was launched, and it’s still an absolute treat to behold. Neat touches, quality finishing and beautiful lighting put it streets ahead of drab offerings from German rivals; an excellent example in refusing to compromise for an entry level model.

So, should you buy one? This XF has been aimed at fleet managers and long-distance commuters who will love the low CO2 emissions, and those wishing to take their first steps into Jaguar ownership. But this makes for a talented Jaguar with real-word economic appeal; an engaging prospect. So yes, buy one. You’ll never look back.

Price: from �30,950

Performance: 0-60mph: 8sec

Economy: 52.3mpg (combined)

CO2: 149g/km

Engine: 2.2litre diesel

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Contact details: Lancaster Jaguar: 01732 456300