Whenever I travel, I do my best to rent or borrow a car that's not commonly available in the U.S. It's obviously fun for me to drive something different, and a chance to write about some foreign hardware.
Such was the case on a recent visit to the U.K., when I was able to nick a turbodiesel JAGUAR XF
out of Jaguar's press fleet. It's much the same as the JAGUAR XF
we know and love stateside, with the exception of the turbodiesel V-6, and of course the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.
Jaguar's AJ-family 3.0-liter turbodiesel is a modern powerplant in every sense of the term. It boils out 275 horsepower at 4000 rpm, and a notable 443 pounds-feet of torque at just 2000 revs. It makes a reasonable comparison to BMW's mighty 335d inline six diesel. Jaguar
backs its V-6 diesel with a six-speed ZF automatic transmission with standard Drive mode and Sport Drive mode that is manually shiftable with steering wheel-mounted paddles. The engine is mounted longitudinally to power the rear wheels, uses four valves per cylinder, and meets Euro 5 emissions standards, as tough as anything here. My tester was a topline Portfolio model (including 20-inch Smoked Volans-style wheels), equipped with the "Aero" package, which means a more aggressive front bumper and side sills; and the optional Blind Spot warning system, very handy when driving on a side of the road opposite of what one is used to. All in all, a darn nice machine.
There are no particular indications that this Indigo Blue over Warm Charcoal JAGUAR XF
is different from the V-8-powered examples we might find here in North America. The engine fires quickly and easily and settles into a smooth idle, rattling softly as modern automotive diesels do. Calling its acceleration curve "quick" would be an injustice -- it's genuinely fast. It launches hard and pulls especially strong in the mid-range; that's what torque will do for you.