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How much? £30,000
On sale in the UK: Summer
Engine: 2179cc 16v 4-cyl turbodiesel, 188bhp @ 3500rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 8.5sec 0-62mph, 140mph, 52.3mpg, 149g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1650kg (est)/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4961/1877/1460
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

By Chris Chilton

First Drives

30 March 2011 09:00

After boldly reasserting itself at the top end of the luxury saloon market with the radical XJ, Jaguar is now stretching in the other direction with this, the XF 2.2 D, the first four-cylinder XF. We slid behind the wheel of a prototype covered in disguise to hide the facelifted bodywork that’ll accompany the new engine when it lands in showrooms later this year.

If the market is so important, why has it taken Jag so long to drop a four cylinder diesel into the XF?

Apart from the fact that it was trying to reassert itself as a luxury brand while brushing the X-type under the carpet, Jag just didn’t have access to an engine that offered enough refinement and performance to be passed off in a large premium saloon bearing the Jaguar badge – or trying to compete with BMW’s superb 520d.

Is this an all-new engine? It’s going to have to produce some strong numbers if it’s going to topple that pesky BMW.

The engine’s a Ford unit, a derivative of the unit found in top of the range Mondeos plus the Land Rover Freelander and new Range Rover Evoque. Derivative because all of those cars have transverse-mounted motors. Being rear-drive though, the XF’s sits 90deg round so there was some major engineering work involved in making it fit.

As for numbers, it produces 188bhp and 332lb ft of torque, making it significantly gruntier than the 184bhp/280lb ft 520d. Strange then, that the BMW beats the XF soundly in every major performance comparison: 0-62mph (8.1sec v 8.5sec), top speed (141mph v 140mph), mpg (54.3 v 52.3) and CO2 emissions (137 v 149).

Okay, so the BMW wins the numbers game. But those performance figures don’t sound a million miles away from those of the original (and now defunct) XF 2.7 diesel...

Well spotted. The 2.7 D put out 207bhp and 320lb ft of torque, weighed 1771kg and had only six gears to work with. To be fair, the 2.7 was a couple of tenths quicker to 62mph, but check out the mpg figures: the 2.7 couldn’t crack 38mpg but the 2.2 can top 50.

And because the four-pot motor places less mass over the nose and benefits from some detail improvements to the suspension tuning that come with the facelift, it’s tangibly more fun to drive.

BMW’s 520d is a mightily impressive car but it doesn’t offer the same sense of connectedness with the road as the XF. The Jag’s steering is light, responsive and full of feel and the chassis balance superb, with an even greater willingness to change direction than its V6 brothers. Show it a decent road and you’ll soon be rowing it along with such enthusiasm that you’ll completely forget that this is Jag’s poverty model and powered by a mere 2.2 four.

In fact, slightly German-feeling ride comfort apart, the only demerit is that the chassis is so competent, it makes light work of the 2.2’s performance. Give Superchips six months and they’ll no doubt be able to prescribe something to alleviate that problem, even if Jaguar won’t.

What about refinement though? Will the soundtrack be a constant reminder that I was too tight to stretch to the 3.0 D?

At start-up and when really gunning the thing to the limiter when overtaking, it's obvious that the engine is two cylinders short of the ideal. But it’s such a good installation and the engine itself so refined that it’s never a deal breaker. And for the other 90% of your driving, yes, you could mistake it for a six, it’s that quiet, that smooth.

If this is the entry-level car, it must be the first XF to have a manual gearbox...

It would be if it did, but it doesn’t. It gets the latest ZF eight-speed auto instead, as already seen in a BMW near you. It’s smooth, fast and best left in D or S because there are now simply too many gears for meaningful manual operation. Tap the (still cheap plastic) shift paddle a couple of times to prime for an overtake and you’re still in a gear too high for the job.

Anyway, the rest of the kit list is generous too. You still get leather and satellite navigation as standard, yet Jaguar plans to price the baby XF at a fraction under £30k, making it a good £5k cheaper than the current entry-level 3.0 diesel. As with that engine, 2.2 buyers will be offered a range of trim levels too.

Verdict

There’s no doubt that Jag needs a four-cylinder diesel XF, but is this the right car for the job? Engine wise it has to give best to its BMW rival, but it’s close enough to make fleet buyers give it serious thought, particularly if they care about driving. The XF is starting to feel a little dated and it’s not the roomiest car in its class, but you won’t have more fun in anything comparable.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the Jaguar XF 2.2 D

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jjrunner

jjrunner says

RE: Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

They were right about "Jaguarness", they just missed the point of what it is. Jaguar delivered grace, space and pace at astonishing prices. Under Lyons Jaguar didn't "move with the times", they shaped them! Some models would get a bit long in the tooth, but usually represented astonishing value as they rode into the sunset. And they were superceeded by something jumping to the front of the pack again. That was true "Jaguarness".

22 June 2011 07:22

 

AReader

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AReader says

RE: Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

From my perch on the US side of the pond, I'd tend to agree with Mr Soprano's comments about Ford/Jaguar being slow to the diesel pump. But this is just one reason as to why Jaguar is still a minnow compared the Mercedes Moby Dick. Over the last 30 years Jag has been 1) slow to add smaller models (smaller than XJ/XK), 2) slow to replace aging models, 3) slow to broaden the model range to include SUVs and crossovers 4) slow to improve quality 5) slow to evolve their styling. For such a slow company, it;'s amazing their they manage to build cars which go quite fast. The management has wasted time worrying about Jaguarness and aluminum costruction when what punters really wanted was something new, something that seemed relevant (crossovers, and smaller models),  something that would reliably get them home, and something that if bought used would not result in personal bankruptcy. The Jag team has made strides in the last few years with XK, XF and XJ, but when we look at the longer timeframe of say 30 years, we see Jag at roughly the same volumes as they were at in the mid80s while Mercedes now sells a million vehicles a year. Much as I would like to like Jag, it just does not seem a success. I hope the much touted plans for the next decade will turn out to be more real than previous promises......

03 April 2011 22:54

 

carMagfan

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carMagfan says

RE: Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

 Lets see how the MPG does in real life with people's driving habits, it may give around maybe 40-45mpg . As the XJ weighs similar to the XF, lets see if this makes in there.

03 April 2011 20:31

 

lokinen

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lokinen says

RE: Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

Anthony, its not about the 2.2 being awful at launch, its about it being just about ok for the class below, which is where the X-type lived and not good enough for the executive 5 series class where the XF does its fighting.Its also not a case of the 2.2 lump being dropped into the X-type, the 2.2 already lived in the chassis of the mondeo, which underneath, is what an X-type is really. In the beginning it even got lumbered with the Mondeo 2.0L 130 bhp lump instead of the 134bhp galaxy lump and when the Mondeo got the 2.2 in 2008, so did the X-type. Jaguar made the mistake with the XF of putting the 2.7 diesel lump in which was outclassed by the opposition straight away. They did though, very quickly put the proper 3.0 lump in and took the fight straight to BMW..I'm pleased they havent made the same mistake with this four cylinder diesel lump, though this new engine will make even more sense when the XF goes aluminium.

01 April 2011 18:30

 

nersen

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nersen says

RE: Jaguar XF 2.2 D facelift (2011) CAR review

Ford saved Jag.....invested billions -  gave us the XF and the new XJ.   Mistakes were made, eg not having a small diesel, but it was not only Ford whichi made mistakes e.g.  the face of the XF (hence the rapid facelift), but Jag seems to be coming right....better late than never.......... I see the new XJ every day now and next to S Classes and A8s and 7s, it stands out as something special  (closer to Quattroporte type appeal).  Hoping for a good looking new X-type and for huge success for Jag

01 April 2011 10:56

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