Jaguar XF Ambleside
Why it won...
The 2008 Auto Express Car of the Year has lost none of its appeal. In fact, with a pair of new diesel engine options and a scorching high-performance flagship, the Jaguar XF has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months.
So it should come as no surprise to find the car towering above its rivals at the top of the executive class for a second year running. What will raise some eyebrows is that Mercedes’ latest E-Class has done little to unsettle the British-built Jag – and hasn’t even made it on to our commended list.
While the new German machine is a capable all-rounder, it hasn’t made the leap forward that was required to get noticed here. Instead, the XF’s closest competitor is the BMW 5-Series. The clinical precision of the blue propeller model’s handling never fails to impress – although when it comes to pure owner satisfaction, the Jaguar is simply unbeatable.
And that’s not just what we think at Auto Express, because the people who take the wheel every day – ultimately the people who matter most – voted it the winner of our Driver Power 2009 reliability and satisfaction survey. We have been running a 2.7-litre diesel version on our long-term fleet for the past six months, and we couldn’t agree more.
The revised XF line-up now includes a punchy 3.0-litre diesel with a choice of power outputs, which have joined the hugely impressive V6 and V8 petrol variants. And buyers who demand the ultimate in performance can go for the 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged XFR.
While it’s not the freshest executive model on the market, the 5-Series still has a lot to offer. A wider range of petrol and diesel engines gives BMW buyers more choice than those opting for the XF, and all these powerplants deliver gutsy performance. What’s more, the 5-Series has the advantage of coming in versatile estate guise, which adds practicality to the dynamic, rear-wheel-drive package. That was enough to see off the competition from the Audi A6 and new Mercedes E-Class – although the 5 still couldn’t better the sheer must-have desirability of the big cat.