Fleet News

Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel

Jaguar

Review

Amid all the doom and gloom, the stories of factories under threat, cash running out and businesses being sold, there have been some small glimmers of hope in the motor industry, with one of the most sparkly being Jaguar’s performance.

Over the past year, it has seen sales in the UK rise noticeably, a feat that very few manufacturers have been able to match.

In fact, in 2008 Jaguar was up 11% in fleet to nearly 11,000 units in total.

OK, so it’s hardly the stuff of business legend to be reminisced about by portly, retired executives over a glass of port at their club but, as a company used to corporate struggle more than most, it is significant.

And it is almost entirely due to the XF.

Last year, the XF hit the streets with quite a bang, thanks to a semi-stylish design (depending on your view of the grille) and very stylish interior.

Replacing the venerable S-Type, the XF has finally proved that Jaguar can do Modern British well, and isn’t stuck recycling the same old traditional country pile aesthetic it seemed locked into.

The XF is no match in volume terms for such heavyweights as the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class or Audi A6, having only one diesel engine, one bodyshape and three trim levels against the multitude of offerings ranged against it, but in its own sharply-defined sector it has been doing good business.

Up until now, its diesel option has been the trusty 207bhp 2.7-litre unit, which has done sterling service across Jaguar’s range, proving to be smooth and responsive, and decently efficient.

But although Jaguar has managed to disguise extremely well the skeleton of the S-Type under the shell of the XF, and protect it from the ravages of time, there’s less opportunity to do so with the engine, which has been supplanted as one of the better-performing motors in the sector.

As a result, the 2.7-litre V6 is being replaced by an uprated version, the 3.0-litre V6, which promises more power and performance, fewer emissions and better fuel consumption.

Quite an achievement.

The AJ-V6D Gen III engine is available in either 240bhp or 275bhp ‘S’ form and has hi-tech parallel sequential turbochargers to help deliver the high levels of power and torque, as well as being mated to a new six-speed automatic gearbox.

In itself, a 0-62mph time isn’t exactly high on the fleet agenda, but as a representation of just how far on Jaguar has pushed the performance of its diesel engine, it is telling.

The more powerful engine in the S model gives the XF some pretty impressive performance figures, with 0-60mph dispatched in only 5.9 seconds, a full 1.8 seconds quicker than the 2.7-litre model.

Jaguar claims the higher-power XF diesel – the only model available to drive at launch – has the BMW 535d in its sights and the figures certainly add weight to that claim.

Thanks to the twin turbos offering up to 38% more torque, in-gear acceleration is equally impressive, with a 50-70mph time of just 3.2 seconds.

Maximum speed is electronically limited to 155mph, with the standard 240bhp model only slightly slower on all counts.

Of more importance than shaving time off the traffic light dash is minimising emissions and, in the XF, the new engine produces 12% less CO2 than the 2.7-litre – down to 179g/km in both models, while the combined fuel consumption figure is 42.0mpg, compared to the 37mpg figure of the old model.

This is achieved through a new common rail fuel-injection system which delivers up to five diesel injections on each cycle, as well as less internal friction in the engine thanks to a number of engineering changes to elements such as the crankshaft of what is effectively a bored-out 2.7.

Obviously with the April changes to writing down allowances and the like, it is still on the wrong side of 160g/km of CO2, and with the other premium manufacturers working on the theory that the market wants lower emissions rather than higher performance at the moment, Jaguar’s approach could look old-fashioned.

According to executives, there are no plans to produce smaller-engined variants, while de-powering the 2.7-litre engine to produce a lower emission model is just not viable – it would be too expensive to get it to Euro V emission standards, there isn’t the capacity, and it’s not the way Jaguar is going.

They claim that the firm has a clear direction now to be a lower volume premium sporting brand, and not chase a market it can’t really compete in.

The X-Type has taught the firm a tough lesson.

Elsewhere, very little has changed in the XF, although there are extended service intervals (up to 16,000 miles for the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel), a new Portfolio specification, and a new Dynamic driving mode.

Verdict

Smoother, faster, lower-emitting, more efficient, great to drive, wonderful to be in and good value too. What’s not to like?
 

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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