The 2.2 diesel will account for as much as 60 percent of the XF's sales, in either of its two guises. The lower powered, 161bhp version is tempting for its mid-range shove and decent pace - 0-60mph takes a respectable 10.4sec; however its overall economy and emissions are slightly disappointing. Consequently, more buyers will look to the 197bhp 2.2, which can achieve the 0-60mph sprint in 7.6sec — a time that, in itself, looks merely at the sharp end of competitive, until you consider that the 2.7 V6 diesel XF we tested in 2008 managed only 8.4sec. Progress is swift.

However, the 2.2's powertrain falls marginally short of the smooth delivery and response that you get with the larger-engined models in the XF range. It is entirely well judged for the purposes of this car, which will always appeal more to the high-mileage commuter, but it can be hesitant to respond to a prod of the throttle at higher speeds. Regardless, the four-pot turbodiesel does a thorough job of ensuring that the XF feels adequately endowed with grunt, and it delivers that power in a progressive and accessible fashion.

Steve Cropley Autocar

Steve Cropley

Editor-in-chief
The four-pot turbodiesel delivers adequate grunt

Elsewhere in the XF range, the 3.0-litre diesel can be had in either 237 or 271bhp forms. In isolation, both varaints make for great executive diesels offering good performance and a fine spread of power. With 443lb ft of torque, the most powerful diesel reaches 60mph in 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. In terms of efficiency, it is also competitve against rivals such as the Mercedes E350CDI with 44.8mpg and 169g/km. However, the XF appears outgunned by the twin-turbo Audi A6 BiTDI. Whilst emitting the same C02 as the Jaguar, the Audi delivers 309bhp and 479lb ft, 38bhp and 37lb ft more than the British car.

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The 3.0 V6 petrol delivers a 5.7sec 0-60mph sprint and often feels livelier than the diesels, but for all that it is mostly agreeable to drive, it is not the most refined engine of its type and the associated running costs ensure that only a tiny niche of buyers will opt for it.

The XFR has nothing to fear from any other car in the class; it's a terrifically powerful and responsive drivetrain that offers blistering performance.

Regardless of the motor, the auto ’box blurs its shifts effectively in standard or sports modes and it is precise enough that the wheel-mounted paddles are rarely needed.

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