THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Diesel simplicity, reliability and fuel economy in a unique and elegant package.
- What’s Worst: Umm, the window switches are a little far forward. (Okay I’m reaching). And, yeah, it’s a diesel and will occasionally sound like one.
- What’s Interesting: The Ingenium 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbodiesel is the first in-house built Jaguar Land Rover diesel engine.
It hasn’t been long since Jaguar unveiled a redesigned 2016 XF, a premium executive car that sits in the middle of Jaguar’s three sedan selection and straddling the gap between the mid-size XE and the full-size XJ.
The second-generation XF was redesigned from the ground up with aluminum-intensive architecture that chopped 120 kg of excess mass from the chassis.
The coupe-like profile was smoothed out with better-balanced proportions, with a shorter overall length but also with a longer wheelbase, stretching the wheels to the corners for improved handling and added interior space.
And this Jaguar XF is a handsome cat, a 2017 version tested here in a business-like shade of Corris Grey, perched aggressively on optional 20-inch wheels.
This resting beast deserves a cautious approach, taking the time for a walk-around to admire its lines and cosmetic cues.
These include the long, power-bulged hood, a lower roofline and longer rear deck, a more vertical grille, flush “modern quad” headlights with Jaguar J-Blade DRLs, big bumper vents streaming air over the front wheels and added rear quarter windows in back.
It’s hard to imagine a further styling improvement.
Although, sneaking a peak inside and spotting sporty ebony bucket seats with bright red inserts, it would be tempting to add the accent of the S model’s red brake calipers, complementing the ruby Jaguar grille and wheel badges and contrasting the grey to reflect the more blatant inner joie de vivre.
Approach the car and the mirrors fold out. The interior ambient lighting comes on. Crack the door and slide into the embrace of perforated and perfumed leather seating.
Scan the sweep of the instrument panel and your eye is inevitably drawn lower to an illuminated console start button that pulses at 72 beats per minute, the resting heart rate of a jaguar.
Okay, that’s taking dedication to detail to the Nth degree. But it does show Jaguar’s total commitment to sweating even the small stuff.
Stab that start button and the greeting dance continues – the backlighting fades, the tach and speedo needles sweep the gauges, the round shift knob rises from the console and outboard vent covers power open.
Also Read: 2017 BMW 5 Series is even more awesome
And, hey, this is a little different – there’s a brief glow plug pause, a growling snarl of awaking engine and, is that a bit of diesel clatter?
Yup. After all the changes for 2016 mentioned above, there is something new for 2017 under the hood of our XF 2.0d – a new 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine.
Previously, this second-gen Jag came only with two versions of a 3.0-litre supercharged V6, making 340 hp in most models, a 380 hp version available in the top-of-the-line S model.
Mixing the two words “diesel” and “Jaguar” may seem jarring at first, but not exactly oxymoronic as more premium brands add new powertrain choices to their lineups.
The new all-aluminum lightweight (138 kg) 2.0-litre inline-four turbocharged diesel features variable valve timing and makes 180 hp and 318 lb/ft of torque peaking early from 1,750-2,500 rpm. Power is translated through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.
The engine pulls handily and cruises about town almost effortlessly, barely ticking over at a low 1,000 rpm, just nudging 1,500 revs at highway speed.
Yes, owners will notice a difference, particularly at start-up and in the drive-thru, with at least some of the usual dragging-pots-and-pans-in-a-bag clatter. But it all smoothes out into a nice rumble as the engine warms up and gets up to speed.
There are a few things to remember with diesel – pumps are fewer and farther between, you might find yourself competing with trucks at the outboard pump islands, and self-service can sometimes be a greasy, unholy mess.
But fuel economy does benefit with a rating of 7.8/5.8L/100km (city/hwy). My real world bag of mixed driving came in respectably in the middle at around 7.2L/100km (comb).
And it’s worth noting that diesel fuel prices tend to range within ten cents above or below regular gas costs. But thrift is probably not a motivator with a diesel XF model selection ranging from about $60K – $70K.
The Jaguar XF fills a unique niche in the premium sedan segment. And as a bit player in a smallish Canadian market, the local lineup does have to limit its offerings with only AWD and automatic models, skipping the six-speed manuals, the rear-wheel drive configurations of other markets, the China-exclusive XFL long-wheelbase versions and the Sportbrake (wagon) model coming to the U.S. soon.
But, the 2.0d diesel option offers another powertrain choice for Canadians, a choice that will be broadened even further next year when Jaguar Canada adds a regular gasoline 247 hp 2.0-litre version to the 2018 XF lineup.
I can’t really sum up the XF because I haven’t done justice to this stylish and sophisticated sedan, not even touching on R-Sport content, semi-automatic parking, torque vectoring, adaptive dynamics, the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, 17-speaker audio upgrades or the rest of the dynamic driver assist systems, luxuries and amenities.
They are all detailed in a healthy 94-page downloadable brochure from Jaguar Canada, but, better yet, take an XF for a test drive.
And ask for the diesel.
2017 Jaguar XF 2.0d R-Sport
BODY STYLE: Five-seat, four-door mid-size plus premium sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Eight-Speed ZF 8HP45 automatic w/Manual Mode through AWD
ENGINE: 2.0L Ingenium in-line four cylinder turbodiesel with VVT (180 hp, 318 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Diesel) 7.8/5.8L/100 km (city/hwy). As tested 7.2L/100km (comb).
CARGO: 505 litres
PRICE: MSRP $68,500; As tested $76,000 incl. 20-inch wheels ($2,100), Head-up display ($1,300), Comfort & Convenience ($2,050), Adaptive Dynamics ($1,000), heated windshield ($400), delivery ($1,500) not incl.