TWENTY years ago, some English car nut would have spit in your face if you had told him a Jaguar should run on a diesel engine.
That’s like telling an Alfisti that his car drives like a lorry, or a Harley owner that his bike looks like your old Honda.
Fortunately, the landscape has changed and now Europeans prefer the oil burning cat to the usual petrol powered variant.
Introduced by Sisma Auto earlier this year, the facelifted Jaguar XF diesel carries only one spec, the twin-turbo 3.0L V6 Diesel S.
The facelift means you get that meaner new front end (so now it looks more like a brother to the mighty XJ) and the J-blade taillights that stretch to the boot lid area.
Sisma Auto also throws in the aerodynamic package, which gives you that tasty rear boot spoiler and 19-inch wheels, subtle hints about the power it provides from the engine under that bulbous aluminium hood.
Inside, changes include colours and trimmings, but to us, the biggest plus point now is that Sisma Auto has thrown in the satellite navigation system as standard.
That pop-up rotary dial in lieu of the usual gear lever remains, as do the aircon vents that swivel out when you turn on the engine. Pretty neat, and it will keep the kids excited for a few weeks.
Having a diesel engine in a luxury sedan is still a new thing to Malaysians, but for those who have driven one, many will not go back to petrol.
The reason is simple – power.
The petrol 3.0L V6 gives you 234hp and 293Nm. The diesel 3.0L V6 twin turbo smacks your face with 270hp and a whopping 600Nm of torque.
That torque is only 35Nm lower than what the V8 5.0L supercharged XFR delivers. Now that is a serious ego-boosting fact considering that the XFR is a whopping RM380,000 more than the RM509,888 XF Diesel S!
So we have established that the XF Diesel S has enough juice to move a mountain, but is it really friendly for our businessman owner?
We are happy to report that the XF is as friendly as your tabby cat.
Pussyfoot the accelerator (excuse the pun) and this XF glides around with ease and stature. Be prepared stand out from the droves of German sedans; you will get stares from the kerb and at hotel lobbies.
Once you shed your necktie and slip into your comfy loafers, switch into the dynamic mode where the gear remains smooth even when the needle is bouncing off the rev limiter.
Do this in second and quickly shift into third to feel that mighty push from the rear. Keep upshifting until sixth and watch the needle go beyond 250km/h (our version came without the speed limiter, hooray!).
Using the paddle shifters definitely gives a sporty sense to the whole package, although the car seriously lacks that famous Jaguar growl (the mighty XJ has that, even with the same diesel engine).
With the Dynamics Pack, the XF utilises fully modern adaptive dampers that read chassis movement, driver input and steering wheel angle up to 500 times a second and continually adjusts the dampers to ensure the car corners flatly while your bum remains glued to that posh leather seat.
The XF gobbles up the corners and spits you out of the apex at lightning speed. If not for that slightly numb steering feedback, we would gladly say this car handles better than the BMW 5-Series F10.
Once you have enough adrenalin shots, slow down and enjoy the rich leather (we heard Jaguar even had a team to test the smell of leather they use for their cars) and the quality of the interior.
Everything simply falls into place, and the play of colours and materials heightens the feeling of class.
This is actually the part we really love about Jaguars. Instead of using designers and engineers to calculate the ergonomics of the cabin, Jaguar uses craftsmen to fashion an interior that’s easy on the eye and rich to the touch.
Audio quality is fair but if you are seriously into audio, we strongly suggest you get the B&W system option. The XJ we drove recently had that system and from then onwards, every other car audio system sounded like a 15-year old National transistor radio that only plays AM channels. It is really THAT good.
The double DIN touchscreen head unit looks modern and houses a lot of functions. Unfortunately, the interface might need some getting used to. For example, it took us five minutes to locate how to play the music files from our pen-drive. Mind you, we are not that old (and definitely, younger at heart). Older owners might have to borrow their neighbours’ teenagers to help them go through that system, or even to tune into their favourite classical radio channel.
We understand that many Malaysians prefer the security of being the majority, and that’s why they would rather drive the same cars that the other half of the population is driving. The downside to that: everybody is adding wings, ailerons, bodykits and stickers to make their car different from the others. Some even paint it shocking pink.
So, here, we suggest there is a simpler way to be different – get a cat.
Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S
2,993cc, V8 twin turbo diesel, 270hp/4000rpm, 600Nm/2000rpm, 6-speed auto
This one gives the Germans a run for their money.