Beautiful Jaguar XF R-Sport 30d combines style, luxury and pace with diesel frugality
When we tested the Jaguar XF R-Sport 35t earlier in 2016, we fell head over heels with the big cat’s performance, luxury, handling and unique sense of modern British style. We also liked how Jaguar had engineered supercharger whine into the car’s exhaust note, and give the 3.0 litre V6 a distinctive and intoxicating bark, rather than making it as hushed as possible.
This time around, we’re testing the Jaguar XF R-Sport 30d. Same car, very different engine. There have been a couple of minor updates to the XF too, the infotainment screen is larger, and there is now the option a fully digital instrument cluster with satellite navigation mapping right in front of the driver’s eyes.
So what shall it be? Petrol or diesel? We were on a mission to find out.
What we like:
- Monstrous torque and seriously impressive performance
- Fuel economy
- Digital instrument cluster
- It’s still gorgeous as ever
Not so much:
- Infotainment system can be finicky
- Diesel brilliant but lacks soul
- Recalcitrant voice control
- Nothing else if we’re honest
Slip in the Jaguar XF R-Sport 30d cabin and it is still an embodiment of contemporary luxury. As with many cars the focus is on the infotainment system and its touchscreen, which has grown noticeably for the 2017 model year.
Jaguar has further evolved the XF’s cabin with an optional and all-new digital instrument cluster. As per many of its rivals the system has a number of different settings according to driver preferences. The most impressive is the “Map” option. Select this from the menu and the whole instrument cluster area mirrors the navigation screen in the centre stack, while providing vital information such as road speed, the posted speed limit and fuel level, reducing the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road.
We found the Map feature hugely useful, and the system literally plots out the route in front of the driver’s eyes, helping them plan their trip more effectively.
There is an optional and larger 10.2 inch infotainment screen and there are some slight changes to applications for the updated XF, the infotainment system features are fairly logically laid out, but short cuts for main functions could be more readily available.
That said, the system is an improvement on that found in the Range Rover Sport. The XF R Sport 30d is equipped with voice control, but it isn’t exactly attentive and its list of functions are primarily limited to phone and audio system commands.
Under the Jaguar XF R-Sport 30d bonnet lies Jaguar Land Rover’s 3.0 litre twin-turbo diesel V6, which develops 221kW @ 4000rpm and a monstrous 700Nm @ 2000rpm.
In short, the XF R-Sport is quick. Very quick. Jaguar claims an official 0-100 time of 6.2 seconds, these figures certainly seem realistic.
The diesel stereotype is well and truly banished with a deliciously linear power delivery, and there seems to be a never ending wave of torque, the twin-turbo V6 feels like it always has more to give and it never feels like it’ll run out of puff. Quite an achievement for a diesel.
And, wait for it: the XF R-Sport 30d well and truly banishes any diesel stereotypes which you may have held and is a luxury sports sedan.
Refinement is also excellent, with only the slightest hint of diesel clatter at idle. At mid revs though, it can be difficult to determine whether the engine runs on petrol or diesel.
The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of ensuring that the engine is spinning at the right speed at the right time. There’s no delay or lag, just effortless grunt.
What is a little disappointing though – and this is purely subjective – is that where the 30d’s petrol sister the 35d whines, growls and snarls, the 30d is hushed but a little anonymous. It seems that Jaguar was so focused on ironing diesel-associated harshness that they forgot to give the engine its own distinctive –read sporty– exhaust note, still it’s hardly a deal breaker.
Jaguar claims an average fuel consumption figure of 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres, which is helped by a start/stop system, but we averaged somewhere around the 8.0 litres per 100 kilometres mark.
Handling, like the engine’s responsiveness, is deliciously crisp. The car enters corners quickly and sharply, with bundles of feel and responsiveness through the steering wheel, plant your right foot and that monster of a diesel will pull you out of the bend with gusto. A smile inducing diesel? Definitely.
It corners flat too, with next to no body roll and the ride manages to be taut yet comfortable at the same time.
The optional adaptive cruise control fitted to our test car was highly effective and eased the boredom of long freeway runs.
The Jaguar XF R-Sport 30d is backed by Jaguar’s three year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Name: Jaguar XF R Sport 30d
Engine: 2993cc 3.0L V6 Twin Turbocharged Diesel, 221kW @ 4000rpm and 700Nm @ 2000rpm.
Price: $121 805 plus on road costs
Options: InControl Touch Pro SSD Nav Pack (InControl Touch Pro 10.2” Touch-screen, 12.3” HD Virtual Instrument Display, SSD Navigation Tuner & MeridianTM Digital Sound System (825W)) – $5,170, Active Safety Pack (Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist, Lane Keep Assist & Driver Condition Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor & Reverse Traffic Detection) – $4270 Suedecloth Headlining – $3710 , Electric tilt/slide Sunroof – $3300 , 20” Labyrinth 5 Twin Spoke Gloss Dark Grey Wheels – $2730, Cold Climate Pack (Heated Washer Jets, Heated Front & Rear Seats, Heated Front Windscreen & Heated Steering Wheel) – $2490 , Rhodium Silver Metallic Paint – $2060, Illuminated Treadplates w/ Jaguar Script – $2060, Soft Door Close – $1340, Sports Taurus Leather faced seats – $1130 , Powered Electrical boot lid (open and close) – $1130, Satin Fine Line Veneer – $1030 Black Pack (Gloss Black Radiator Grille & Surround, Side Power Vents, Boot Lid Finisher) – $530
Price as tested: $153,815
Country of Origin: England