1 Oct 2013

Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 Supercharged Portfolio review

The Jaguar XF 3 litre V6 has a supercharged petrol engine.  It sits in a no-man's land between the fleet-favourite diesel XFs and the 5 litre, 500+ bhp XFR and XFR-S.  I wanted to find out if the V6 can make a compelling case for itself.

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio
The Jaguar XF came along at a crucial time for the company.  First shown in 2007, at a time when Ford  had decided it had had enough of owning a handful of the world's luxury brands, it was launched in March 2008.  At that time Jaguar was still owned by Ford - but had already agreed its sale to Tata.

Finally emancipated from Ford the XF was Jaguar's design alone.  It contained no horrendous retro styling or Ford parts-bin components.  It was a Jaguar for the modern age.


The XF still looks great today.  In a market segment where many premium cars are designed for the moment, and age just as quickly, the Jaguar XF is one of Ian Callum's timeless masterpieces.

The Jaguar XF is a big saloon.  It's nearly 5 metres long, and pokes out of supermarket car parking spaces, which has the benefit of being easy to find once you've survived the weekly shop.

It's a thoroughly handsome thing too.  I love the Jaguar grille, which appears in a very similar form on the recent X-C17 SUV concept.  The general fluidity of the lines are easy on the eye.  It doesn't have sharp angles and slashes to enhance this or that area.  It just relies on a classic shape which doesn't overtly pay homage to the past even though, being a Jag, it inevitably does in some areas.

The 20" wheels fit well in their arches.  18" wheels look slightly small in the large arches of XFs.
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

The test car is painted Carnelian Red and suits the car well.  Take a look at the XF configurator and you might be disappointed at the lack of vibrant colours on offer - they are mostly sombre paint schemes, with this one being the best in my eyes.

I'm not a fan of chrome but it's used sparingly on the XF, around the grille, in the lower air intakes, around the windows (inevitably) and a slash across the rump.  These areas are black on the XFR-S and, with lighter paint schemes, would suit the XF too, giving it a sportier, less 'gentlemanly' look.

The lights are great.  Xenons at the front (£450 option) framed by an upside down tick of DRLs and the rear clusters which wrap around the flanks and meet via the chrome strip between them.  The headlights are super-bright.  Almost Volvo bright, and that's saying something. 
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio


The interior is in my top three favourites, along with the Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes SL 63 AMG.  The materials used are top-notch.  The dash top is trimmed in black leather, the headlining and pillars are Alcantara, the seats are leather and the dash is finished in piano black and aluminium.

There isn't so much as a square inch of nastiness.  No fake wood, no horrible nylon-esque material on the roof lining.  Jaguar pay attention to detail with its materials, and it shows.  Where there is plastic its grain is subtle and the texture not too hard and brittle.
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio interior

I got comfortable in the driver's seat in about 10 seconds.  I can spend all week in some cars and not find the right position for me.  The pedals and wheel are set in just the right place so the car works around you, rather than the other way round.  Headroom might be a limiting factor for drivers well over 6 feet tall.  I'm 5'10" and felt quite close to the roof, even with the seat set quite low.

The XF is an automatic and has keyless ignition so has a Start Stop button.  This is set just in front of the gear knob, which sits flush with the centre console and rises out when you press 'Start'.  Before you press 'Start' the air vents sit flush with the dash, showing only an aluminium backing, but when you fire up the car they turn around to show their blades to the occupants. It's pointless but I love it.  I filmed it, take a look here.

You get 3 storage spaces in the central console.  One is under the armrest and has a 12v socket and a USB connector.  One has two cupholders.  The door pockets are pretty big.  The glovebox opens at the push of a small button just above it.

The controls are all solid and some are made from milled aluminium.  The flappy paddles are attached to the wheel itself, as in the XK, and are plastic.  The F-Type gets aluminium paddles.  Jaguar needs to import those into the XF.

The touch-screen is easy to use.  It controls the sound system, satnav, smartphone integration and a few other controls such as the heated and vented seats.  The satnav works properly and incorporates realtime traffic so alters the route according to traffic levels.  Digital radio is fitted as standard.  Smartphone integration is great and works perfectly.  You can read more about these systems here.
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio rear seats

The rear seats are vast, and comfortable.  The rear occupants get legroom even with the front seats pulled right back.  They get a pair of drinks holders in the armrest and a set of vents and a 12v socket but not much else in the way of toys.  The rear seat would fit 3 adults quite easily.

All in all the Jaguar XF's interior is a marvellous place to be.  I spent a 13 hour day in it and couldn't have wished for a better place to while away a boring drive along the UK's motorway network.

On the road

This car has the petrol powered 3 litre V6 engine which is fitted with a supercharger.  Whilst other manufacturers use 1, 2 or 3 turbos to try and eliminate lag Jaguar prefer superchargers, which come on stream from 0 revs.  The engine has 340 bhp and 331 lb ft of torque.  It does 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds.  I tested this and got 5.6, albeit timed with an iPhone5.

It is wonderfully smooth, and with a linear torque curve.  The assistance of the supercharger cannot be felt (well, it wouldn't would it), it just zooms around the rev counter with nary a sign that it is towing 1770kg of car along with it.

When you rev a V8 at idle the car gentle rolls moves on its axis in the direction of travel of the crank.  The V6 engine in the XF is well damped.  You hardly feel it in the car.  Typical Jag.

The gearbox is an 8-speed ZF unit, found in countless other cars. The Jaguar is either fully automatic or semi-auto with flappy paddles.  In fully auto mode it is absolutely fine, but sometimes takes a while to gather itself up and change from 8th to 2nd when you floor it.
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

This means you might enter a roundabout, cruise around it at 30mph (and it'll still be in one of the top gears), press the throttle and the gearbox says "Oh, right. What-ho better change down a few.  Hang on!" then gives you 2nd, and you shoot off with 340bhp at your disposal.

The alternative is to take control and use the paddles.  This is more satisfying when driving along decent roads, or the aforesaid roundabout.  The up-changes occur almost instantly and down-changes take a fraction longer.

It's only after you have your fun with the paddles and resume auto mode that an issue comes to light.  The gearbox thinks you still want to have some manual fun and doesn't change up when the revs reach the red-line.  Then you feel like a fool and have to keep changing with the paddles.  The only way to overcome this is to reset it by changing into Sport mode and back to Drive.

Sport mode seems to keep the gearbox more alive, changing later in the rev range.  There's also a dynamic button, and traction control off button.

To drive the XF is to waft.  It takes A-roads and motorways in its stride.  The ride is serenity itself.  The steering is true, and oily smooth (I say that in every Jaguar review, including that of the E-Type) and has no dead spot at the centre.  It's light and accurate - or rather as accurate as any 1770kg car can be.

The suspension is only really found wanting on fast, medium radius turns when body roll is felt to some extent.  The XF has active suspension so it copes well with almost all conditions.

The traction control is set at such a level that some naughtiness is allowed.  340bhp overcomes traction quite easily and it isn't until you've attained an attractive, but small, slide that it kicks in and takes over.  Turn traction control off and you may find yourself backwards in a hedge - unless you have the width of a track to practice drifting.

Press the dynamic button and the level of naughtiness increases slightly.
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

The power is quite sensational.  When you floor it and let fly the acceleration is stunning.  For a car not advertised as a sports car it'll outperform most hot hatches.  This makes driving down your favourite roads a superbly satisfying experience.  But never a white knuckle ride.  It doesn't get out of sorts.  It can deliver speed easily, and handles speed well.

Driving on congested motorways and through towns is a doddle.  The engine turns itself off when you come to a halt, and starts up again as soon as you need it.  I turn this function off in most cars but the combination of the engine being quite quiet and the speed at which it fires up and is ready for take-off meant I let it do its stop/start thing when it wanted.

Adaptive cruise control is quite simply my favourite automotive technological advancement of the past few years. I go into it in further depth in this article but it is easy to set and to use, and makes driving on motorways and long dual carriageways safer and more efficient.  If all cars were fitted with it there would be less idiots crashing into each other.

Essentially the Jaguar XF is a smooth drive, but it can also be an involving drive if that takes your fancy.  The chassis can handle abuse but it can also take the stress out of long, repetitive journeys.  The V6 engine is so smooth and has so much power I never found it wanting - or found myself wanting the 5 litre supercharged V8.


The XF will usually only be occupied by the driver.  Most will be bought as commuters or fleet cars.  It's a useable day to day car rather than a toy or weekend roustabout.  As such running costs are important to buyers.

I asked Jaguar for the V6 because I'm not personally a fan of diesels and the XFR is pretty extreme.  We've established it has plenty of poke and a decent portion of vim, but how about the stats that hit your wallet rather than heart.

Combined fuel consumption is quoted as 30mpg (UK).  Normally this would be unachievable in the real world but over a 200 mile run I matched it with no problem.

Emissions are 224 g/km of CO2, which compares with the V6 diesel's 159 - but that has 65 bhp less.  A Mercedes E350 (with a 3 litre engine) emits 188 g/km of CO2 and does 40mpg.  This is the downside of superchargers - although actually getting 40mpg in the real world in the Mercedes is almost impossible.  The E350's tax band is J and the XF V6's is one higher at K.

It's a big car, but no bigger than the competition.  Parking can be tight but being as it's a 4 door you can squeeze out when there isn't much space between you and the car next door.

The interior is vast, and so is the boot.  I tested it here.  It's easily big enough to swallow several bags of golf bats.

At night the interior lights up in all sorts of unexpected places.  It's rather a treat but never distracting.  take a look at the photos below to see the XF's interior in the dark.

The test car cost £50,450.  Adaptive cruise control is a £1,275 option and the xenons are another £450.


I spent a week with the Jaguar XF V6 Supercharged and found very little to complain about.  It's a wonderful car to look at, to drive and just to spend time in.

Long journeys are consumed with ease and fun drives are, well, fun.  The XF seems to have very few drawbacks.  Sure it's no lightweight back-road hoon-mobile but that engine is a real peach and makes up for this deficiency.  Aligned with the engine the steering and chassis are good enough to make it best in class - and that's before you account for the tasteful styling and interior.

The XFR has 510bhp and costs £65,000.  If I bought an XF V6 I wouldn't pine for an XFR.  The engine is so good, and it has power enough.  

The only let-down is in the choice of colours available.  Jaguar really ought to push the boat out and allow XF customers to choose from the F-Type palette.

I heartily recommend the Jaguar XF with it's V6 petrol engine as both a sensible proposition and an involving driver's car, and the Portfolio trim level provides a damned luxurious experience.  Just make sure you order adaptive cruise control.


Price - £50,450
Engine - 3 litre, V6, supercharged, petrol
Transmission - 8-speed automatic
0-60mph - 5.7 seconds
Top speed - 155 mph
Power - 340 bhp
Torque - 331 lb ft
Economy - 30.0 mpg
CO2 - 224 g/km
Kerb weight - 1770 kg

Article by Matt Hubbard

For my review of the Jaguar XFR-S click here
Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio headlights

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio rear lights

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio dials

Jaguar XF V6 Portfolio centre console