JAGUAR Land Rover’s rapid expansion xl3 in the past coup le of years has to be one of the UK’s great motor industry success stories, with a variety of core new models now enjoying global popularity. But German rivals still have the edge with their vast array of engine and trim choices. To cover more bases, the XE, XF and F-Pace now benefit from a twin-turbo version of the Ingenium four-cylinder diesel. Badged 25d, the up dated unit boasts a considerable 237bhp, as well as 500 Nm of torque. And we’re trying it in the XF for the first time to see if it’s worth the extra cash.
The XF 25d bridges the gap between the base four-cylinder cars and the 296bhp V6 diesel for price, performance and efficiency. The Portfolio model here costs £4,300 less than theV6, but just over £2,000 more than the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel. You get an extra 59bhp and 70Nm, which trims 1.6 seconds off the 0-62mph time and, because it’s lighter than the V6, brings the car within three-tenths of that model for the benchmark sprint.
It gets off the line smartly, with a broad spread of torque helping the Jaguar build speed with minimal fuss. It doesn’t need to be worked as hard as the lesser XF diesels, either, with plenty of punch for overtaking. The linear power delivery means it doesn’t quite produce the in-gear shove of the V6, however. The eight-speed ZF gearbox helps make the most of the new engine, keeping revs exactly where you want them, and swapping cogs smoothly.
But, like cheaper variants, the noise will make some buyers pine for the V6. At idle the four-cylinder XF clatters more than you might hope, and it can get raucous when you stretch it out at the top of the rev range. That’s a minor issue, though, because those using the XF for what it is intended – that is, long-distance cruising up and down the country’s busy motorway network — will find refinement is pretty good.
What may be a deal-breaker, though, is the sizeable drop in claimed efficiency compared with the single-turbo can spec-for-spec, 65.7mpg plays 53.3mpg, and CO2 emissions rise from 114g/km to 139g/km. That penalty may be too much to swallow even for private buyers, while business users will find the jump in Benefit-in-Kind contributions from 24 percent to 29 per cent disappointing. This is a pity, because while the extra power complements the XF’s engaging, yet supple, chassis, the 178bhp diesel isn’t particularly sluggish – and for most buyers will be the better performance and efficiency compromise. Standard kit is good across the range, with identical specs which ever engine you choose. Prestige cars get xenon lights and leather seats, while Portfolio models like ours boast bigger wheels and flashier trim.