Jaguar continues its quest to show its rivals a thing or two about how to make the ultimate luxury exec model and has again this year snaffled ample sales to prove it. Its latest offering set to claw the admittedly handy 530d right where it hurts is the rather excellent spanking new 275bhp 3.0L V6 Diesel S XF. Great levels of luxury, grunt, drivability, comfort and sportiness, all combined with a Kanye ‘I’m gonna let you finish’ West kick arse attitude and aggressively styled look.
Yes it’s a diesel, but you’d never know it! This is thanks to its silky smoothness, total lack of diesel engine clatter, total lack of diesel lag plus some sexy XF ‘Portfolio’ styling features. That is until it comes to fuelling this brilliantly put together road warrior, when you should be pleasantly surprised by the pounds you save at the pump. With a healthy 30mpg round town, 52mpg on the motorway and 42mpg combined, this is far from a gas guzzler, granted its no ‘eco-wagon’ but equally trees wont be wilting as you pass them and Daffodils wont be weeping at the sight of you going round a roundabout in Reading. Performance wise, the super torquey, crackingly-capable V6 S engine provides a smile-inducing punch-back-in-the-seat power boost on tap, served with a gruff throaty growl well worth winding down the windows for. 0-60mph is conducted with style and in under 6 seconds, so boy racers beware, this is one management mover that will leave you behind!
My press car included the newly introduced aerodynamic and adaptive dynamics packs options, together with the new upgraded XFR-derived interior (as standard) which made my press car handle like a dream and look like pure evil on wheels, the adaptive dynamics pack also makes a massive difference to the handling. Hold the racing flag button down to turn on the ADP and suddenly your XF no longer behaves with all the excitement of an IT consultant from Harrow and instead morphs into an agile athlete from Soho. Tight bends are dealt with in the blink of an eye, the overall handling is more together and the XF feels like a true performance saloon. The high tech Adaptive Dynamics system ( a very worthwhile £1,250 cost optional upgrade) works by analysing chassis movement together with wheel and driver inputs 500 times each second and continuously adjusts the suspension based on its findings for optimum handling without loss of comfort based on driving style, pace and conditions.
With its punch and poise the XF Diesel S is a genuinely rewarding, true drivers car with the rather unique ability to switch in character, depending on your driving style, from happy lapdog to a full on street fighting Pit Bull on speed in a heartbeat (or the touch of a button at the least).
Exterior styling wise, it’s a car with presence, an aggressive one at that. The aero pack gives the XF Diesel S an even more sports orientated aggressive look thanks to bold new black mesh inserts for the grille and lower air intakes with blades which can be supplied with bright white LED daytime running lights and sculpted side sills (standard on the model I tested) borrowed from the XFR. The Portfolio model I tested also ran on a stunning set of 20” Smoked Volans which set off its Ultimate Black exterior like a Gucci suit on the gorgeousness that is Ian Somerhalder.
Slide inside (the jag not Ian) and as with all new era Jaguars be ready to be impressed as it seamlessly marries tasteful luxury with futuristic wizardry. The upgraded cabins feature the XFRs leather sports seats with 18-way adjustment driver-side to enable you to achieve a perfect driving position, and 14-way for passenger comfort. Both front seats feature power adjusted raised side bolsters too for extra support, especially useful during those ‘adventurous’ moments to keep you stuck firm to the seat. My Portfolio model featured the ‘Jet’ Suede-cloth headlining as well as the high gloss Piano Black veneer which all in all meant the inside looked as gorgeous and upmarket as the outside.
Cost wise, all three ‘S’ specs are well equipped for the money. The XF Diesel S Portfolio I drove for the week, had a price tag of just over 50k, including the optional extras of £1250 for the AD pack, £2000 for the aero pack with LEDs, £995 for adaptive cruise control, £450 for blind spot monitor, £700 for a digital/analogue TV and £235 for a leather heated steering wheel. The range starts at £38,000 for the Luxury; the Premium Luxury comes in at 4k more. I loved my XF and would happily drive one as my everyday car, I wouldn’t have it without the ADP and the Aero pack, but I could live without the heated steering wheel lol.