The XF retains the Executive Car of the Year award that it took in 2012 by deposing the BMW 5-series, and the attractive Jaguar has made big steps in the past 12 months to ensure it held onto the prize.

The addition of a Sportbrake model late in 2012 was the biggest news, opening up the XF to an estate-buying market. The Jaguar’s premium German rivals all do well with wagons, so the logical move into this area with the Sportbrake should bear fruit during 2013.

The firm also introduced a new price entry point for the XF range last year, taking it below £30,000 thanks to the introduction of a de-tuned 163hp version of its 2.2-litre diesel engine slotting in below the 200hp version of the same engine. Offering 135g/km and 55.4mpg in both saloon and estate form, the derivatives give company car users a more competitive benefit-in-kind taxation than the 159g/km 3.0-litre diesel engine or 3.0-litre supercharged petrol model.

Facelifted in 2011 to give it a sharper and more stylish front end, the XF’s updates leave it ready to fight off the best Germany can throw at it in the premium executive segment.

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