Initial impressions from Spain were very positive, so this Glacier White V6 diesel S was eagerly anticipated at PHHQ. Though we don't often have diesel executive saloons in for test, the price did come as something of a shock; with options including the head-up display, 20-inch wheels and 'Advanced Parking Assist Pack', OV65 NKS is a £58,000 car, up from £49,945 as standard. But then a BMW 535d M Sport is £49,070, and an A6 BiTDI S Line £48,990, so it's hardly overpriced compared to key rivals.
To these eyes the XE-aping design actually suits the XF better, particularly here with those 20-inch wheels. And yes, it was definitely cleaned before going back to Jaguar. The interior is largely a success too, with a superb driving position, great wheel and clear instruments. Oddly the instruments are better to look at than the rather outdated head up display.
Sadly there's another noticeable probelm inside. Though much has been made of the new InControl Touch infotainment system, it still can't quite match the best for graphics, responsiveness and intuitiveness. It works well, but as a user experience it lags a little behind those systems in its rivals.
This all with the powertrain and chassis set to normal, the XF's ability to coast down the motorway, absorb the worst urban imperfections and reward on B-roads rendering the other setting rather superfluous. It's a genuinely entertaining car to drive fast too, steering as well as any other EPAS-equipped car and with a 50:50 weight balance that gives it great poise and control. Its ride and handling bode exceptionally well for an XF SVR; with a gearbox made slightly sharper and that stonking supercharged V8, it could be fantastic.
Back on the M40 and the diesel XF is supreme actually, all noise very well suppressed and the 516lb ft providing effortless speed. It's extremely comfortable and very relaxing, still in the 'normal' mode that proved so entertaining in the B-roads. It seems a shame that buyers apparently demand endless configurability when one mode so well suits every situation. The news is less positive from the back though, where a few complaints could be heard of excess tyre and road noise.
JAGUAR XF TDV6 S
Engine: 2,993cc, V6 diesel
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@2,000rpm
Top speed: 155mph
MPG: 51.4 (NEDC combined)
Price: £58,355 (Base of £49,945 with £675 for Glacier White metallic paint, £1,200 for 20-inch Venom Twin 5-spoke Gloss Black wheels, £450 for Memory pack with powerfold mirrors, £1,620 for Advanced Parking Assist Pack with Surround camera, £1,000 cabin pre-heat with timer and remote, £300 for Steering column electric adjustment, £1,220 for Laser Head-up display, £510 for cold climate pack, £300 for Alloy space saver spare wheel, £485 for soft door close and £650 for the Black Pack)
Images: Dafydd Wood