06 April 2010

Black Magic: XF to get four-pot diesel

Jaguar is working on a four-pot diesel for its XF saloon. Gallon of the Black Stuff please...

In motor racing, the rules are clear that you can't drive without the right kit. So you wouldn't turn up expecting to drive in denim shorts and a baseball cap. In ‘executive saloons', the rules say you need a four-cylinder diesel. So you wouldn't turn up without one. Well strangely, the Jaguar XF does.

For example, for some years 80 percent - yes four out of five - of the BMW 5-series sold in the UK have been the 520d. That applies to the saloon as well as the estate. The numbers are similar right across Europe. And with the new version doing 185bhp and a staggeringly low CO2 in the manual version of 137g/km, that's set to continue.

So Jaguar, making the XF in V6 and V8 only, looks like it's missing the point. And shutting itself off from a huge potential market.

It's working on it. This autumn, the 2.2-litre twin-turbo engine from the Freelander will go into the XF. It has needed a major re-engineering job, going from transverse (Freelander) to lengthwise (XF) and being re-tuned for Jag-like performance and refinement. Mated to an autobox with a sophisticated stop-start system, it'll get under 150g/km.

We might all want an XFR or the V6 diesel S, but it's the four-banger that will be the one people buy. Suddenly, the XF will be in the sales race.

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