IT WAS starting to look as though rival manufacturers were more likely to fire their chief executives to the moon from a giant catapult than break the German stranglehold on the executive car market but then Jaguar launched the XF.
With Jag’s foreign ownership selectively glossed over, here was evidence that the British marque could design and build a big executive car to match and even beat the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes at their own game.
All Jaguar needed to do was hammer home its advantage and the latest 3.0-litre diesel engine could be a mighty blow in the right direction.
The figures make interesting reading. In Diesel S form the XF’s 3.0-litre engine produces 271bhp and also churns out a whopping 600Nm of torque.
That’s major league muscle, enough to challenge BMW’s mighty 3.0-litre diesels from an equal footing and the XF’s lightweight design means a 0-60mph sprint of under six seconds is also achievable.
This Jaguar has the pace to leave the competition in its wake.
If all that sounds like overkill, a more prosaic option is also available in the form of a 236bhp version of the same engine. Here 0-60mph can still be covered in 6.7s and the 50mph-70mph increment, a good indicator of mid-range pull, is only 0.5s slower at 3.7s.
So how’s it done? Deep within the XF engine bay where the maze of oily bits work their mechanical magic, there’s some very clever technology.
The 3.0-litre unit, or AJ-V6D Gen III to give it its proper name, uses twin sequential turbochargers and third generation common-rail injection technology.
There’s a primary turbo that works most of the time and a second unit that comes on stream instantly at 2,800rpm to boost performance at the top end.
Jaguar claims that this virtually eliminates turbo lag and gives a smooth flow of power through the rev range.
Executive car buyers choose diesel engines because of their muscular yet languid performance but the crucial factor is cost.
A petrol engine with equivalent performance can leave your bank account looking like it’s suffered a meteorite strike where the diesel’s economy, emissions and residual values mean your finances should take far less of a hit.
There’s no doubt that the XF represented a massive opportunity for Jaguar to break into the executive car big league and with the latest 3.0-litre diesel engines, the marque is giving the car every chance of realising that potential.
Genuinely competitive in terms of performance, economy, emissions and price (at £35,900-£46,900 on the road), the XF diesels should give the market leaders something to think about.
Ruthlessly pressing home an advantage is not something that the British are renowned for, but the XF 3.0-litre diesels certainly bode well for the future as Jaguar now has an executive car you can buy with your head as well as your heart.