The Jaguar XF is one of those vehicles on our wish list, which hasn’t featured our front page yet. The most powerful member of family, the XFR, would have been a logical choice, but the 2012 Jaguar range did not include an all-new XFR! Instead, we chose two different vehicles for our two-day drive which share the brand’s extremities in design and performance: the bombastic XKR-S performance coupe, and the frugal XF 2.2 liter diesel sedan.

This story is all about the brand new Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel, a rival to the domination of BMW in this segment. With stop-start technology mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it’s Jaguar’s first small-capacity diesel – in fact the smallest engine ever from the British manufacturer. Put it up against the most powerful Jaguar ever build – the XKR-S – and you have the ultimate driving comparison between two of most important models within the brand’s history.

Let’s not focus on the duel between the two, but only on the XF 2.2D for now. This version of the XF, is powered by the same 188bhp 2.2 liter, four-cylinder diesel fitted in the Range Rover Evoque we drove last year. Only here it is installed in a north-south configuration. The power train inside the Evoque felt brisk, but not quite fast. There was a slight turbo lag at lower rpm, but if you kept it at a higher rpm it felt quick enough to show its capabilities.

Road Test Jaguar XF 2.2d 01

Quite a different feeling inside the XF, where despite its rather modest displacement it is anything but tardy. With 187hp and 450Nm on tap from just 2,000rpm, the luxury car’s acceleration feels surprisingly rapid for a four-cylinder engine. It feels a lot quicker than the published 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds with the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic as a smooth companion offering serene efficiency. We were told the speed tops out at around 225km/h. Quite astonishing for an entry-level car like the XF!

The XF 2.2D drives as a Jaguar should. It feels nimble and joyful, like it came from a car factory in Munich. The handling is a wonderful combination between comfort and agility despite its 1700kg-plus heft. The steering is sharp and brilliantly-controlled. The overall driving characteristic has a neutral front-to-rear weight distribution offering the driver and its passengers a luxurious ride while being capable of providing enjoyment when requested.

The most noticeable point to make within all these positive remarks is its outstanding fuel economy. Consumption is around 5.4 liters every 100km. On highway kilometers alone, the expected diesel consumption drops to 4.8 liters per 100km or lower. The CO2 emissions are around a tax-friendly 149 grams.

Road Test Jaguar XF 2.2d 02

The smallest-engined XF comes with the 2012 facelift that all XFs now enjoy. The minor restyle features slimmer headlights with LED daytime running lights, a bigger front grille and power bulge in the bonnet. At the rear, there are new LED’s as well, and there’s an extra light element below the narrower chrome blade on the boot. This is all combined with the confirmed grandeur of the Jaguar brand and the cleanliness of the XF body styling.

On the inside, the theme continues with more luxury and refinement. The cabin offers leather, an automatic dual climate control, air filtration, an electric park brake, pop up dash vents, a pop up rotary gear selector knob and rain sensing wipers.

The only major remark we have to make with respect to the technology inside the XF is noticeable through the seven-inch color touch-screen and the multimedia interface, which includes a 30GB hard drive, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 1200W hi-fi system from Bowers and Wilkins with 17 speakers. The navigation system is surely the worst we have ever used! Quite a downfall for a luxury car positioned as a management-level company car.

Road Test Jaguar XF 2.2d 03

After only two days inside the Jaguar XF 2.2D, it proved to be a wonderful companion for our trips around town. The XF 2.2 diesel is a beautifully balanced motorcar with the capability of offering you a lot of enjoyment for home-to-work trips in full relaxing comfort. For those people looking for comfort, agility, luxury and superb styling, the XF is a choice to consider.

So if you’re shopping in this part of the luxury segment, we would highly recommend a closer look at this very good entry-level car from Jaguar. It proves that across the line up, the Brits have something to offer with a surprisingly high amount of quality and punch.

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