Reaching its 80th anniversary, Jaguar has much to celebrate in 2015, including the arrival of its new XF. Now in its second generation, the big cat has completely overhauled its new BMW 5-Series-rival, which is designed to take the lead in the mid-sized executive segment.
The new model follows in the footsteps of the recently launched XE and will be delivered ahead of the eagerly-anticipated F-Pace crossover. Like the crest it bares, the new XF is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor and, if first impressions are anything to go by, the German giants should watch their tails.
What is it?
This is the new XF, one of two new cars to be delivered by the luxury British carmaker this year and one of three to be launched within the space of 12 months – making 2015 Jaguar's busiest year to date. First launched in 2007, the original XF became the new face of Jaguar, giving drivers a little more agility and driving pleasure at the wheel of a bulky saloon. Now, backed by Tata, it's destined to take on the giants of the premium saloon segment with a more appealing price-tag, which starts from £32,300, and impressive handling and performance capabilities.
While development of the XE has been dominating the drawing boards, Jaguar engineers have been focusing all of their attention on bettering the XF, which looks to have paid off. Thanks to its aluminium-based shell – which is also the basis of the smaller XE – the new XF is 190kg lighter, more efficient and nippier on its feet than the car it replaces. Not only does it have a kerb weight of 1455kg, it's also 7mm shorter and 3mm lower than the original, although it does a 51mm longer wheelbase, providing more space for passengers travelling in the rear. Offering such a desirable package, it's highly likely that you could be looking at the new class leader.
What's under the bonnet?
UK buyers will have the choice of three engines in the XF, with the majority of sales expected to come from the four-cylinder 178bhp 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel unit, which will also be available in a smaller 161bhp variant. Next up is the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel – available only in S trim – which churns out 296bhp and 700Nm of torque. Adrenaline junkies who require a little more oomph can choose the familiar 375bhp 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol unit, which you'll find under the bonnet of the F-Type – this variant is the only petrol engine on offer and, like the TDV6, will only be available on the range-topping S model. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, the entry-level 161bhp diesel is expected to boast a 70.6mpg figure and emit just 104g/km of CO2 emissions. The larger engines can be specced with the ZF eight-speed automatic for an additional £1,750, which cleverly and smoothly manages the gears on the 3.0-litre V6 diesel.