2014 Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre i4 163PS Turbo Diesel Review – Jag’s ‘Mid-Spec’ Car Makes Complete Sense

Classy inside and out, 2.2 litre 163PS engine is excellent, very competitive price

Nothing to complain about

Jaguar XF?

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review

Arriving in 2007 in concept form, the Jaguar XF instantly appealed to a new audience. The previous X-Type  and S-Type were just not ‘Jaguar’ enough for most, and from the exterior styling to the interior (many Ford parts being used), there was a definite lack of flair about them. With the arrival of the new range of Jaguars, including the XF, Jag has returned to the days of great styling and classy interiors – thank goodness for that! However, what’s it like drive one with the lowest-powered diesel engine? Dull, surely? We were sent the mid-spec Jaguar XF Premium Luxury 2.2 163 turbo-diesel to review and find out…

Exterior. Butt ugly or beauty?

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review - With the arrival of the new range of Jaguar’s including the XF, Jag has returned to the days of great styling and classy interiors – thank goodness for that!

A while ago we reviewed the XF 3.0 V6 Supercharged – a car with looks to match the performance. The XF Premium Luxury with the 2.2 litre 163PS engine is still a good-looking car, and aside from a few pieces of styling trim and different-sized wheels, there’s not a huge difference between the higher and lower end XF models.

I’ve seen a lot of XFs on the road now, and they always strike me as being a handsome car with a good stance. They’re not ostentatious or showy, but still exude an air of class, and there’s something very British about the it too, as they stand out from the droves of similarly priced German rep-mobiles that dominate the motorways so heavily. I’ve nothing against them, and they’re good cars in their own right, but if every time you look in your rear-view mirror to see yet another Audi A4 or A5, BMW 3-series, or Mercedes C or E class looming fast and impatient, they become repetitive and blend into the sea of commuting traffic a little too easily.

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review

An XF, on the other hand, gives you a sense of individuality. For this spec of XF, you get a colour choice of either black or white as standard. Up from there you can pay £650 for a range of other hues – all rather nice it must be said – or as our tester had, you can option one of the two heftily-priced £1,300 colour choices. In this case Jaguar had chosen the striking Italian Racing Red Metallic, which does much for the car in my opinion: it highlights the XF’s curves and lines excellently, drawing your eye to the powerful lifted sections of the bonnet, the jutted vent behind the front wheels and the roofline which arcs gracefully to the rear.

I love the Jag’s large chrome grille and the conspicuous – yet beautifully detailed – Jaguar emblem. LED running lights and lower chrome gills finish off what is an assertive-looking front overall. The rear of the XF is beautifully simple, giving off a sporty yet refined vibe.

I love the Jag's large chrome grille and the conspicuous - yet beautifully detailed - Jaguar emblem. - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review

While the 17″ Ursa double-spoke alloy wheels themselves are not bad, I wasn’t a fan of the fat tyres that go with them as I think they take away from the XF’s design somewhat. On the configurator at least, you can’t spec the XF Premium Luxury with anything other than these wheels, aside from a Technical Grey finish option. If you don’t like that look either, my advice would be to visit the dealer and spec one of the many other designs available with the lower-profile tyres. The XF will look much better with these, although it may affect CO2 emissions and road noise adversely.

Besides the fatter tyres though, I can’t fault the XF in the looks department. From any angle this is undoubtedly a well-designed car that’ll age well. Buy one, and you’ll differ from the other upmarket cars that are now so common they’re no longer special or interesting.

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

Even in the most basic sub-£30k SE Jaguar XF comes very well equipped and is highly luxurious. Before you even move up the ranks to the higher-spec XFs, you'll get real wood inlays in the dash, doors and centre console, plus big swathes of knurled aluminium and hints of chrome and satin-finished metal trim.

Even in the most basic sub-£30k SE Jaguar XF comes very well equipped and is highly luxurious. Before you even move up the ranks to the higher-spec XFs, you’ll get real wood inlays in the dash, doors and centre console, plus big swathes of knurled aluminium and hints of chrome and satin-finished metal trim. The leather used is from the finest suppliers in the UK and Italy too. From the moment I opened the heavy door of the XF before sliding into the beautifully soft driver’s seat, the car felt warm and welcoming and there’s something distinctly comforting about the cabin, and it takes exactly zero seconds to feel utterly at home in the Jaguar. 

Simply touching parts of the trim such as the cold but solid aluminium, the warmer wood, carbon or Piano Black veneer pieces, or the supple leather of the seats all give you solace that your hard-earned money has been very well spent on this car. - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review

While it’s contemporary and stylish, there’s plenty of character about the XF’s interior and every surface feels like it’s manufactured and fitted to a really high standard. Even simply touching parts of the trim such as the cold but solid aluminium, the warmer wood, carbon or Piano Black veneer pieces, or the supple leather of the seats all give you solace that your hard-earned money has been very well spent on this car. The XF’s cabin is emanates class from every surface, and all are finished to a very high standard too. For instance; even clicking opening the little storage sections in the centre console shows them to have a nice action, and another very nice touch which never fails to impress is that the air vents in the dash open and close automatically whenever you start or stop the engine.

Up front the seats are really very comfortable with plenty of leg, head and elbow room to be had. The powered 8-way (on this model) adjustable seating allow you to get into the most comfortable sitting position with ease, and for longer journeys they are fantastic. The rear seats are also good, being angled nigh-on perfectly for the best level of comfort and again leg room is surprisingly ample.

Up front the seats are really very comfortable with plenty of leg, head and elbow room to be had. The powered 8-way (on this model) adjustable seating allow you to get into the most comfortable sitting position with ease, and for longer journeys they are fantastic - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review front seats

 

The rear seats are also good, being angled nigh-on perfectly for the best level of comfort and again leg room is surprisingly ample. - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review rear seats

Our test XF had the optional £990 (price: May ’14) 825W Meridian surround sound system,  Turn on the multimedia system in the XF S/C Portfolio, select your favourite driving music and you’ll be rewarded with a sound that is rich, one that makes you feel immersed in the music. The system packs in seventeen speakers throughout the car. A feature of the system I liked was the ultra-simplistic way to set up the sound you want, which meant selecting Bass, Treble, Sub(woofer) and 4 surround-type options. No need for complexities, and the sound is still amazing.

The touchscreen multimedia system also incorporates the rearview camera plus the settings for the heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, satellite navigation (which is good, by the way), phone, bluetooth, DAB radio and voice controls, amongst other things. It’s an easy system to navigate through, and overall I enjoyed using it. In the centre console sits the beautiful milled aluminium JaguarDrive selector, which rises out of the console when the engine is started, and then lowers back into place flush when you turn off the ignition. Another smart feature and one that impresses all.

The touchscreen multimedia system incorporates the rearview camera plus the settings for the heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, satellite navigation (which is good, by the way), phone, bluetooth, DAB radio and voice controls, amongst other things. - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review

At 500 litres (or 540 with space-saver spare wheel), the XF saloon’s boot space is adequate enough for a few big bags or a couple of large suitcases, and I was surprised to find that the seats folded down 60/40, giving a decent 960 litres of room. The XF I tested came with the £260 ski-hatch option, which I can see being very handy if you’re into that. With the armrest down, a small compartment opens and a fold out bag made of durable material pulls out and will fit your ski’s inside, stopping dirt and water ruining the leather seats.

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review boot trunk storage multi

Aside from the fact that the buttons for adjusting the power seats look a little cheap and out of place to me, I could not find anything to dislike or anything that even slightly bothered me about the XF’s interior, it really is that good! It is exactly the type of car you want to get into and drive home after a long day at work, or do some cross-country driving on the Continent in quiet and comfort. Overall, the XF has a truly fine and superlative cabin, regardless of the trim level you choose.

Engine and gearbox

The XF has a fair few engines and power options to choose from, but we were interested to see what the lowest-powered, most-fuel-frugal version was like. The engine in question is Jaguar’s 2.2 litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel, and while it may only make 160 bhp at 3,500 rpm, there’s a great dollop of low-down torque to play with; 295 lb ft (400Nm) at just 2,000 rpm.

The engine is Jaguar's 2.2 litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel, and while it may only make 160 bhp at 3,500 rpm, there's a great dollop of low-down torque to play with; 295 lb ft (400Nm) at just 2,000 rpm. - Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review Engine HDR

0 – 60 mph is done in 9.8 seconds, and it’ll hit max speed at 130 miles-per-hour. Official fuel consumption figures (in UK mpg) are very good; urban: 48.7, extra urban: 64.2, combined: 57.7. Generally these EU test figures are rather too optimistic, but I managed to achieve a 50.6 mpg average showing after a couple of hours down the motorway, and 44.7 mpg over 135 miles of varying roads (city, country and highway).

The CO2 emissions are just 129 g/km which at the current yearly tax rate (fig: May ’14) is just £110 per year! Impressive for a luxury car with a fairly hefty kerb weight of 1,735 kilograms (3,825 lbs). Jaguar’s 8-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission is in the XF, and it’s as silky-smooth and fine as they come, and suits the XF perfectly.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review -6073

 

So, we’ve established the XF looks great and has a stunning interior, but what’s it like to drive? In short: yet again Jaguar have delivered on this front too. Fire up the 2.2 litre 136PS turbo-diesel and you’re greeted with a refined sound. There’s no lumpy clattering that a lot of the four-pot diesels produce even today, but instead it’s a much more refined noise; smoother and slicker than you’d expect.

Turn the selector to drive and the XF glides off. Instantly, I’m struck by just how polished this diesel Jaguar XF is to drive. The gear changes are almost unnoticeable, and with 295 lb ft of torque available at only 2,000 rpm the 2.2 litre 163PS XF accelerates strongly and seemingly with little effort. The steering is light while still very positive, and the XF weaves around tight bends, narrow streets and obstacles with a beautiful positivity, ease and gracefulness.

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review -6089

The Jag’s ride is admirable, thanks to the Adaptive Dynamics system that controls electronic dampers. Over poor road surfaces full of pot holes, bad repairs and speed humps the XF soaks them up impressively well, and once you’re out onto a nice stretch of winding tarmac the XF swoops and glides in such a positive and well-balanced manner that you’d likely not have at by looking at the car. This is all down to the aforementioned Adaptive Dynamics system which ‘monitors and analyses speed, steering and body movement 500 times a second [making the]… electronic dampers constantly adjust to give you optimum suspension under any conditions’.

If you want more control over the car, the XF has paddle shifters and a sport mode which holds the gears for longer before changing. Actually, I was impressed by how controllable this is. On some automatic cars with paddle shifters, the system is so ultra-nannying that it’s barely worth having the shifters, by changing up gears when it thinks the revs are too high, or won’t let you downshift until the computer deem the revs are low enough. Very annoying. Happily there’s none of that nonsense with the XF, thanks to Jag engineers still believing in drivers making the decisions and not some cold, unfeeling computer brain, and you can happily redline the XF’s engine to your heart’s content.

Jaguar do sell the 2.2 diesel in a more powerful guise too, with around 35 horsepower and 27 ft lb (50 Nm) torque more than the 163PS version we had, but I can honestly say that while I’m usually all for more power, the 163PS diesel never disappointed me or made me think that it could do with any extra oomph. It slips up to motorway speeds (and much higher) with about as much effort and drama as it takes to pour yourself a glass of wine and cruises long distances beautifully, thanks to the 8-speed ‘box which sees the rpm needle sitting low at speed (approximately 1,900 rpm @ 80 mph), and inside the cabin there’s very little wind or road noise to be heard either.

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review -6096

All said, I was completely won over by the XF’s 2.2 litre 163PS diesel engine. I really can’t fault it, and while more power is usually an agreeable thing, I simply can’t see why you’d need it unless you were towing a (shudder) caravan, which you wouldn’t do anyway if you were a sensible type of chap.

Price

The Jaguar XF starts out at £29,945 and goes all the way up to almost £80,000 for the completely mental XFR-S. Altogether there are 12 different types of spec to choose from and a variety of engines to go with them. With so many you’re spoilt for choice, and whatever your budget or level of luxury ‘need’, there’s a model to cover it. The XF Premium Luxury we had on test cost £35,800 (£42.6k with options), and it to me it felt like it was absolutely worth the asking price. In fact, it was so nice that makes you think this car should cost more than it actually does!

Personally, if I was going for the 2.2 litre 163PS engine to save on fuel and car tax, I’d be tempted by one of the lower-priced XF’s for around £30k – £33k as they still pack in loads of luxuries and they’ll be as nice as the higher priced version we had. Similarly-priced rivals include the BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S80, Audi A6 and the Lexus GS.

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS verdict & score

 

Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS Review -6009

From testing Jaguar XFs with various different engines, I already knew the car itself was very good. The 2.2 litre 163PS model surprised me though, as I expected some noisy, underpowered diesel only built to appease the crowd who wanted good fuel economy and weren’t bothered about much else. What I discovered was a smooth and refined turbo-diesel that combined fuel frugality with a decent amount of power and easily enough torque to get the XF moving swiftly, plus ride and handling that makes every journey an enjoyable one. I’ve already said it, but I genuinely think the XF feels like it’s worth more than the asking price, and in a time where consumers want more for less, Jaguar are on to a winner with this car.

Do you own a Jaguar XF? What are your views on it, and what are the best and worst points? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Exterior  8
Interior  8.5
Engine  8
Gearbox  9
Price  8.5
Handling & ride  8.5
Drive  8
Overall Score  8.5 / 10

Specs

Model (as tested)  2014 Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre 163PS
Spec includes  17″ alloy wheels, Bi-function HID Xenon headlamps & LED running lights, EBA, EBD, TCS, DSC, intelligent stop/start, keyless entry, 7″ touch-screen with bluetooth, sat nav & DAB. See website for more info
Options you should spec  Heated Front Seats (£240), Reverse Park Camera (£500)
The Competition  BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Lexus GS
Price  (May 2014): £35,795
Engine  2.2 litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel
Power, Torque  Power:160 bhp @ 3,500 rpm | Torque: 295 lb ft (400Nm) @ 2,000 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Rear-wheel drive | 8-speed ‘Jaguar Sequential Shift’ automatic
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed (limited): 130 mph | 0 – 60 mph: 9.8 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 4 Stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 48.7, Extra urban: 64.2, Combined: 57.7 | CO2: 129 g/km
Weight (kerb)  1,735 kg’s (3,825 lbs)
Websites  Jaguar UK, Jaguar USA, Jaguar global

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

5 responses to “2014 Jaguar XF Saloon Premium Luxury 2.2 litre i4 163PS Turbo Diesel Review – Jag’s ‘Mid-Spec’ Car Makes Complete Sense”

  1. john w coles

    I have a 2011 XF 2.2 diesel 187 BHP version with 32,000 on the clock. I find that the gearbox and
    engine are very poorly matched, the engine revs excessively in 2nd and 3rd gears and on B roads
    at 50 to 60 MPH it does not like going into anything more than 6th gear. If you use the paddles
    and puttit into 7th and or 8th the drive becomes very rough and it soon changes down again,
    the economy must be suffering and I think the engine lacks low down torque. I also have a BMW
    4 X 4. X1 2 litre twin turbo diesel and this is altogether a better matched engine and gearbox unit.

  2. Nigel cooper

    Bought a Jaguar 2 .2 D sportbrake 163 premium luxury 2nd hand from HAFox with 8500 miles about 3 months ago and am so pleased with it.I previously had a VW Passat CC and wanted something equally stand out and a little exclusive.The jaguar is certainly this and friends and family are very complimentary and astonished for the price I paid…they thought it would be much more expensive…
    This car is really a terrific cruiser and although quite large for parking is easily driven and parked in town as well.It has the camera and sensors which are really a must of course.
    The air suspension on the estate is amazing and makes for a better ride(IMHO) than the saloon.
    It has adequate acceleration and is very quiet at motorway speeds.Its also very spacious front and rear with great and easily adaptable load space.
    The best car I have owned by some margin, Oh yes , and can’t think of anything I’d rather drive.

  3. Paul Foulston

    Paul Foulston,

    We purchased a used 2.2 163 Sportbrake with 13,000 miles a year ago and after years of owning various Audi A6’s and Mercedes C Class cars and totally agree with Nigel ‘can’t think of anything I’d rather drive.’

    Having used a friends XF 2.7 many times the 2.2 163 appears to offer very similar performance befitting from the 8 speed ZF which is super sweet almost like CVT.

    Having read up on many road tests with negative comments regarding the engines smoothness and performance and it is a good job I paid little attention to most of them as they obviously drive diesels like gasoline engines and unlike this article have ignored the spunky 163 version.

    My wife who is car blind is still amazed by the number of people who come over to admire the Sportbrake.

    One year on and 9,000 miles and magic has still not worn off!

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