Jaguar XF is

virtually faultless

Jaguar XF R-Sport
Jaguar XF, face
Jaguar XF, side
Jaguar XF, interior
Jaguar XF, wheel

IMAGINE if you will a sporting saloon at the pinnacle of the automotive designers art, with everything perfectly honed for the finest of drives on every kind of road and surface.

It should have plenty of space for four to travel in comfort, decent economy, low emissions and above all, excellent comfort - the one thing so many sports saloons cannot achieve.

BMW? Mercedes? Audi? Lexus?

Not even close, this latest car can take all of them on and match or beat them at their own game and it's as British as Peter Kay.

This is the latest superb Jaguar XF, which really is at the top of the tree in every possible way. And it's not the petrol I've been driving, but the new Ingenium 2.0-litre diesel - an oil burner that really sounds good for the first time.

Although there is a manual gearbox available, I drove the eight-speed automatic that is bound to be the most popular choice and it's fantastic.

The engine has a power output of about 180bhp, which doesn't sound like a lot. But the way it delivers that power is marvellous.

It feels fantastic and even sounds good when pushed - much the same as a petrol engine. The response is immediate and the performance fantastic.

Gear changes are almost instantaneous in full automatic and slightly quicker in both sport and manual settings - where the changes are made using paddles behind the beautifully tactile leather covered steering wheel.

The sport setting is excellent, giving cruising speeds at the same revs as Drive but a quicker kick-down and more immediacy in response to the accelerator.

Of course, this is a Jaguar, so it excels in the corners, with brilliant grip and perfect balance. It feels absolutely wonderful giving tremendous adhesion and there's no sign of it losing grip on dry roads despite being pushed very hard.

Very few owners are likely to throw it around as I did, but in extremis, like an unexpected corner taken too fast, it's so good that it will save your bacon.

There's very little roll and yet the ride is also superb even over some awful surfaces on my test route. This car is truly outstanding and virtually faultless.

I drove the R-Sport, which comes with parking sensors and reversing camera, very good auto start/stop that works when the parking brake is on, powered and air conditioned leather seats, a deep boot, a powered boot lid and folding rear seats.

It also comes with cruise, climate, a big, easy to use touch screen, sat nav, keyless entry and starting, a wonderful stereo, stability and traction control, voice activation and a host of safety devices.

As if all this was not enough, on a gentle run across country with some faster stretches and overtaking, it averaged 55 miles per gallon.

FAST FACTS

Price:£36,850

Mechanical:177bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:136mph

0-62mph:7.9 seconds

Combined MPG:65

Insurance Group:28

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating:22%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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