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Jaguar's new starter XF driven

2011-09-29 11:40
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Jaguar
Model XF 2.2D
Engine 16-valve, four-cylinder 2.2-litre turbodiesel
Power 140kW at 3500rpm
Torque 450Nm at 2000rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 8.5 sec
Top Speed 225km/h
Fuel Tank 70 litres
Fuel Consumption 5.4 litres per 100km (claimed)
Price from R452 480
Rivals Audi BMW 520d (R495 954), Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI BlueEfficiency (R531 910)

Hailey Philander

There’s something about Jaguar’s XF design that does something for me.

I recall, somewhat hazily now, when this ground-breaking sports sedan was launched in South Africa in 2008. It heralded a new era for the formerly stuffy British marque. It was so important that Jaguar SA even convinced designer Wayne Burgess to spend some time chatting with sometimes-friendly journalists at the launch event. Yet the car itself was the star attraction.

Three years on, the thrill returns; the XF looks as gorgeous as ever when I cast my eyes on it again.

More than just the addition of its first four-cylinder engine, the occasion also warrants a few design and convenience updates to the sporty sedan. There are sharper light clusters and bumpers front (with more elaborate metal detailing) and rear and the seats have bigger side bolsters. There's a new touch-screen interface that's supposed to be more user-friendly - I’m not a big fan of touch-screens but the update certainly appears tidier.

It also holds a 30Gb hard drive for the satnav and audio storage.


The huge drawcard this time around is the introduction into the local Jaguar XF range of the four-cylinder, 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine mated with the superb eight-speed ZF auto transmission. It seems an almost perfect pairing, with the auto’s smooth and silent shifts - gearchanges are effected in 200 milliseconds - almost mimicking a twin-clutch arrangement in its effortlessness. This engine also spearheads the roll-out of stop/start technology on the 140kW/450Nm engine, contributing to keeping the (claimed) fuel consumption to a respectable 5.4 litres/100km. CO2 emissions are pegged at 149g/km. This is, according to Tania Cleary, erstwhile sales and marketing whip-cracker at Jaguar Cars SA, “the most fuel efficient Jaguar ever”.

Of course, journalists present were not necessarily out to set any fuel economy records, but determining this XF’s performance would have featured high on the "to do" list.

This more affordable Jaguar definitely doesn't detract from the luxury experience one would expect from the brand and all the trimmings are in place. It also serves up the wonderfully cosseting and assured driving experience as before with the effects of bumpier road sections and unnervingly large potholes rarely being felt in the cabin. And it’s composed too, displaying no undignified leaning through corners.

INTELLIGENT STOP/START: The symbol in the instrument cluster indicating when the stop-start system is activated; the engine is automatically shut down in 300 milliseconds.


But the most significant quality, perhaps, is this XF’s quietness. Jaguar’s gone to great lengths to keep the signature diesel engine rumble and shimmy to a minimum, overloading this sedan with NVH-reducing matter such as a new design for the sump, additional padding for the engine bulkhead, and active engine mounts. This translates to a diesel model that is incredibly refined.

Had it not been for the stop/start indicator in the instrument panel, chances are my driving partners and I would have missed the effortless switch between engine on and engine off; it’s that quiet in the cabin.

The third generation diesel is no ra-ra hell-raiser – it merely goes about its business with at little fuss as possible. There’s no sensation of the car straining at the leash, waiting to be released. It has a very calming element to it. There’s a moment of nothingness when you first plant the accelerator but, once up to speed, the four-cylinder powers a sedan that is a comfortable and effortless cruiser. And, crucially, overtaking oomph is there, although a quick tug at the left-hand gearshift paddle (for down) made the experience less stressful.

All in all, the new diesel engine is a welcome addition to the XF range and – importantly – allows Jaguar to slot a car beneath the psychologically important R500 000. Also, where was it stated that Jaguars and inline fours were taboo? It could just be that Jaguar finally has the model to take the fight straight to its biggest contenders in the executive sedan segment.


XF 2.2D Luxury  -  R452 480
XF 2.2D Luxury Premium  -  RR522 480


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