Jaguar send us the Jaguar XF Diesel S Portfolio for a week to review and road test. Is it a diesel XFR in all but name, or just another diesel XF?
Jaguar’s XF is a bloody marvel. In just a couple of years it has managed to eradicate from our minds the aesthetically challenged S-Type and show buyers that an executive saloon can be both able and joyful, pleasing to the eye and the senses and manage to be both anodyne and stimulating as the mood takes.
And even though the XF has only been with us a couple of years, Jaguar has moved it on a long way from where it launched. Most notable of those changes has been the move to the 5.0 litre supercharged lump in the XFR and the arrival of the 3.0 litre diesel to replace the quite wheezy 2.7 litre.
Those engine changes took the XF from being simply a very good car to another level altogether. Suddenly, the offerings from Mercedes and BMW became much less appealing. The creamy smooth and immensely powerful supercharged lump in the XFR made the M5 seem second best for most of the time, and the 3.0 litre diesel made you question why you would specify any other engine. Especially if you were using your own money to buy an XF.
But even though your head said the 3.0 litre diesel – particularly in 271bhp ‘S’ guise – was the engine to choose, your heart lusted after the power on tap and the understated agrression the XFR’s styling offered. By contrast the regular XF models seemed just a little too conservative. What was needed was a sports pack for the XF. Something like BMW’s Sports Package.
Thankfully, Jaguar is now a company that listens and reacts. They are on a mission to produce the finest sports saloons in the world, so the arrival of the Aerodynamics Pack and Adaptive Dynamics Pack – both of which are fitted to our Jaguar XF Diesel S – to turn the Diesel S in to a very appealing sports saloon is most welcome.
The Aerodynamics and Dynamics packs add £3,250 to the £45,600 list price of the XF Diesel S, but turn it – certainly aesthetically - in to a diesel XFR. The more aggressive front bumper, extended sills and 20″ wheels give a properly purposeful stance and make it look just like its more powerful – and more costly – supercharged sibling.
And it’s not just on the outside that the 2011MY XF Diesel S gets a proper dose of XFR fairy dust – the interior gets a tweak or two as well. In fact, the XF Diesel S pretty much gets the XFR interior. Not that there was anything wrong with the regular XF interior, but the XFR interior does make the XF feel more of a sports saloon.
The kitsch theatre of the revolving air vents and rising gear knob remains and the XF gets – at least in our range-topping Portfolio XF S – a leather dash and Suedecloth headlining with chrome and piano black trim as well as the more supportive and sporty seats from the XFR.
The interior is now an even nicer place to be. The seats are easy to adjust to a perfect driving position, there’s plenty of headroom and the seats are not just nicely bolstered and hugely adjustable but will toast or chill your nether regions as the mood takes you.
Still, it’s all very well being a nice place to be and looking every bit as appealing as the XFR, but without the looks delivering the performance promise, it will all be for nothing.
Thankfully, that’s not the case.
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