Our Fleet Test Drive: Jaguar XF - 1st Report
03 November 2009
 The gear lever switch rises up from flush with the centre console as the engine is fired up
|P11D price:|| £43,970|
|Key rival:|| BMW 5-series|
This one has been a long time coming. Having been mightily impressed with the XF when we first drove it 18 months ago, the request to try one for an extended period on our long-term fleet was thwarted by the huge demand for the new model, meaning Jaguar couldn't spare us a car.
Then, earlier this year, the XF was fitted with a new 3.0-litre diesel engine to replace the previous 2.7, so the time was right to add the executive saloon to our fleet for the next three months.
Living with a car can reveal a host of foibles that either weren't apparent or weren't so annoying during a shorter test, so it'll be interesting to see if I'm still such a huge fan of a car that I currently consider to be the most desirable in a segment that contains such machinery as the BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-class.
As we've had to take a car from Jaguar's demonstration fleet, it's of a higher spec than we'd have chosen, coming in the top Portfolio trim, a new one that was added to the choice list along with the new engine. We've gone for the more powerful 275PS version of the new engine, badged Diesel S, rather than the 240PS version that would have been £2700 cheaper. The S is proving popular, too, taking around a third of XF volume.
Our car is also fitted with options worth a little under £3300 that we'll be looking at to decide which are worthy of hard-earned cash and don't dilute the XF experience. However, standard equipment is generous with DAB digital radio, 20-inch alloys, satnav and a whole host of other equipment all covered by the Portfolio spec.
Entering the XF provides a peerless sense of theatre that never fails to impress, particularly if the passenger is enthusiastic about cars. The air vents rotate from a closed position  when the car's off, round  to open when the ignition is switched on, while the gear lever switch rises up from flush with the centre console as the engine is fired up . They are beautiful little touches that add a sense of occasion to starting the car. Lets hope the next three months prove there's also plenty of depth beneath the Jaguar's early demonstration of class.
|Jaguar XF 3.0D Sport Portfolio|
|Model price range||£32,900-£49,900|
|CO2 (tax) ||179g/km (26%)|
|BIK 20/40% per month||£191/£381|
|Boot space (min/max)||500/963 litres|
|Why we’re running it||Too see if the excellent XF |
can live up to its promise
on a daily basis
|Positive||Looks, interior, engine, drive|
|Negative ||Early economy versus |