8 / 10
Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel with Intelligent Stop/Start and 8-speed ZF automatic transmission 140kW/450Nm:
Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel Luxury: $78,900 (Manufacturer’s List Price)
Jaguar XF 2.2 Diesel Premium Luxury: $86,100 (Manufacturer’s List Price)
Sir William Lyons, Jaguar founder, said from day one that his company was in the business of making ‘Beautiful Fast Cars’ and that’s pretty much what they’ve been doing for years, give or take the odd hiccup.
Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, has essentially transformed the iconic British carmaker into a design powerhouse that is fast becoming the envy of the big three German luxury automotive brands.
So it might come as somewhat of a surprise to some that Jaguar has just released a 2.2-litre diesel in the mid-size XF model line-up.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘a 2.2 litre diesel in a mid-size Jaguar saloon weighing in at 1745 kilograms sounds like a rather dull marriage.
Thankfully, that’s not the case. ‘Beautiful Fast Cars’ are alive and well at Jaguar, even in small displacement diesel guise.
Despite its rather modest displacement the latest edition to the Jaguar XF model range, is anything but tardy. With 140 kW and 450 Nm on tap from just 2000 rpm, acceleration is surprisingly rapid. In fact, it’s better than that. Open it up on a straight stretch of rural Queensland tarmac and this car delivers a positively ‘fast car experience’. Certainly it feels quicker than it’s published 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds, when all 450 of those Newton-metres are on song. That’s especially so during in-gear acceleration from third gear on up.
Fancy the latest 8-speed ZF transmission with your 2.2-litre diesel XF? It’s an exotic gearbox as transmissions go these days, but it’s standard kit across all three 2012 Jaguar XF diesel variants. The shifts are silky smooth, not to mention quick. That’s on the up-shift and downshift.
It certainly puts the power down very nicely and with little or no fuss. That said jump on the throttle for a fast getaway at a busy intersection, and there’s a momentary pause in response until the needle nudges 2000 rpm. That’s unlike the larger 3.0-litre diesel powertrain, which reacts instantaneously to heavy throttle input from a standing start.
It’s no deal breaker as the XF 2.2 diesel is far too rewarding a drive for that to be of any major consequence. Moreover, this Jag has a decided skew towards best practice fuel economy and emissions output. That’s despite offering a performance package that would satisfy all but the most ardent performance enthusiasts.
To put that into some perspective, the XF 2.2 Diesel will get as good as 5.4L/100km on a combined reading. On a diet of highway kilometres alone, expect fuel consumption to fall to 4.8L/100km or lower.
On the other hand, hammer the living daylights out of this car across undulating terrain for a 100 plus kilometres and you can’t possibly use any more than 6.9L/100km. That is quite a remarkable feat for a not-so-light luxury express. Despite the sports sedan style performance, CO2 emissions are just 149g/km.
This XF 2.2 Diesel is also the first ever Jaguar to fitted with stop start technology, which is clearly beneficial in the quest for better fuel efficiency. Of course, you can switch the system off, which in some cases would assist in more rapid starts, or by switching the transmission into ‘Sport’ mode, the ‘Intelligent Stop Start will automatically deactivate.
Jaguar has clearly worked hard eliminating any annoying cabin noise when hard on the throttle in the XF 2.2. You can still hear some muffled diesel clatter at idle and during standing start getaways, but you’d be hard pressed to tell you hard a small diesel under the bonnet at a steady 80km/h on the highway.
The moment you come across some of this undulating rural terrain, be sure and use the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, if you intend pushing things on a little, as you’re in for a treat and much more than you might have expected from a fuel conscious mid-to-large size four-door luxury sedan.
Like the rest of Jaguar’s latest XF fleet, the 2.2 diesel is a beautifully balanced motorcar and doesn’t mind being thrown around the more twisty sections of tarmac. There’s some slight front-end tip in when turning in aggressively, but that’s as far as it goes. There’s also a tonne of grip from the standard Pirelli P Zero rubber all round, but if you’re one of those customers that wants the best possible compromise between performance and handling, then go ahead and tick the 18-inch wheel option for more grip and traction.
While we have yet to drive on the standard 17-inch alloys that are fitted to the Luxury spec variant, it would be difficult to improve on the general ride quality offered with the larger wheel size package.
Jaguar’s Servotronic steering is something else worthy of some considerable praise on the new diesel variant. There’s absolutely no play from dead-centre along with plenty of weight and an especially sharp response from the slightest driver input. There’s also some excellent feedback through the very tactile sports leather steering wheel.
Like all Luxury carmakers, Jaguar offers its customers an array of additional features over and above the standard kit. But Jaguar, in particular, has generally been more generous in this respect than their German competitors, usually proving more for less.
The XF 2.2 is no exception and even in the entry level ‘Luxury’ spec the inventory of creature comforts is extensive. Some of those features include Bi-function Xenon headlamps with daytime running lights, Rain sensing wipers and auto headlamps, 7-inch colur touchscreen, which is remarkably intuitive, electrically adjustable steering column, Bluetooth streaming, front and rear one-touch windows up and down with anti trap and a host more and too many to itemise in this review.
There’s one exception though, if you’re into your music. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better sound system than the optional 1200W Bowers & Wilkins with 17 speakers.
Despite the opulence, Jaguar has a made a few improvements inside the cockpit of the 2012 XF line-up. For starters, there’s a new front and rear seat design, which incorporates increased side and seat bolster for better car control in those more enthusiastic driving moments. There’s also a new instrument panel that is now a full colour TFT screen.
Exterior-wise there wasn’t a lot wrong with the previous model XF, but with revisions such as the sheetmetal revisions to the grille, bonnet and front wings for an altogether sleeker profile. That’s mostly the result of the lower profile grille and front headlight assembly, which incorporate jaguar’s signature ‘J-Blade’ assembly.
The triangular side vents are also new and while they certainly offer a neater look, I prefer the vertical treatment on the previous model for a more aggressive stance, but that’s just me.
I’m also not overly keen on the XF 2.2’s single exhaust pipe; it detracts from the overall balance and stance of the car. These days, customers in this automotive segment have come to expect dual tailpipes. Again, it’s no deal breaker and it’s one of the few gripes I have about the car and won’t affect the XF’s on road performance in any way.
With loads of get up and go, excellent ride and handling and even better styling, inside and out, there’s precious little not to like about the Jaguar’s latest diesel powered XF, despite it’s small displacement engine and penchant for fuel efficiency.
It might be the entry level variant, but the 78,900 Jaguar XF 2.2 Luxury is still very much a ‘Beautiful Fast Car’.