Portfolio Jaguar XF – Classy Cat

I always find the prospect of a week with a Jaguar an exciting one and with a lot of miles to cover, an XF would do nicely.

The first generation XF burst onto the motoring scene back in 2007 and was quite a radical departure for Jaguar. Far more modern in appearance both inside and out, it was a clear signal of Jaguar’s intent to appeal to a younger audience. The somewhat challenging looks of the S-Type were well and truly banished.

I have had the opportunity to drive a variety of different models over the years and I think that by and large Jaguar succeeded in their intentions, managing to appeal to new buyers whilst not alienating existing owners. Early models appear to have aged well and reports suggest that reliability is up there with the best.

The current XF was launched in 2015 and on test was a high-spec Portfolio model, powered by Jaguar’s latest 300PS 3.0-litre diesel engine and weighing in at £47,600 before a raft of options were added.

Those looking for added practicality will be pleased to know that Sportbrake models are now on sale and I hope to provide a first drive report very soon.

Thanks to aluminium underpinnings, the XF is a lightweight compared to its main rivals and this pays dividends in terms of both handling and ride comfort.

I expect big Jags to ride well and the XF is suitably cosseting. There’s a touch of firmness at low speeds (blame the optional 20″ alloy wheels perhaps), but the rest of the time it is hard to fault.

Some quick late night drives on some of my favourite country lanes allowed the XF to show off its sure-footed, yet engaging handling, undoubtedly enhanced by the ability to firm up the dampers at the push of a button.

The large capacity turbocharged diesel engine is both refined and powerful. The benchmark sprint to 60mph from rest can be accomplished in less than six seconds.

Of more interest perhaps is the huge amount of torque available for blistering overtaking manoeuvres. Aiding progress is Jaguar’s super smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. The latter boasts a ‘sport’ setting for those in a hurry and paddles are fitted if you want more control.

Over the course of my week with the car I covered around 600 miles, two thirds of which were on the motorway. Jaguar quote 51.4mpg figure for the combined economy cycle and I was able to average a little over 43mpg overall – a fair result.

Jaguar designers have clearly put a lot of effort into the interior of the XF. High quality materials abound. Up front, the seats are suitably cosseting and adjustable and they remained comfortable even after long hours spent behind the wheel.

Rear passengers have plenty of space to stretch out and will doubtless enjoy the ride too.

Boot space is an impressive 540 litres and a split-fold rear seat can be specified for further flexibility.

The eight-inch infotainment system dominates the dash and it is much improved. The easy to use satellite navigation proved a boon, its live traffic updates doing their best to divert me away from motorway traffic jams.

Equipment levels are high on all models, with even entry-level Prestige variants boasting heated electric leather seats, dual-zone climate control and Jaguar’s Smart Key entry system. However, my test car was rather weighed down with a huge selection of desirable options.

I would certainly have the Adaptive Cruise Control (£1,460) and the useful Head-up Display Pack £1,270, but I could probably live without the rest and save around £15,000 into the bargain! Let’s just say there is plenty of scope to personalise your XF.

I’m often sad to see press cars depart and that was certainly the case with Jaguar’s mid-range contender.

The XF is a luxurious and stylish car that takes on the established German opposition and takes class honours in my opinion.

Much of that is due to the very fine ride and handling combination which allows it to play the role of comfortable cruiser one minute and scintillating sports saloon the next.

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