Follow your head and your heart
The Jaguar XF was a revelation in 2008 but in the intervening years, its rivals have come back with ever stronger offerings.
In certain respects, the Jaguar still feels like the top pick in its class. Its ride and handling are brilliant, its steering superb, and its sense of occasion is second to none.
Other rivals offer more space and, if reducing carbon dioxide emissions is an overwhelming priority, the XF still comes up a little short. When it was launched, the Jaguar XF set new class standards in ride and handling.
Since then, its rivals have closed the gap slightly but the tactility of the Jaguar still has the capacity to surprise and delight. What was lacking was a tempting selection of diesel engines, a shortfall since remedied with the introduction of a cleaner 3.0-litre diesel in 240 and 275PS flavours and the subsequent addition of a four-cylinder 2.2-litre, good for 163 or 200PS.
So the focus has shifted strongly towards diesel power.
The more powerful 3.0-litre version we're looking at here stops the watch en route to 60mph in 6.1s and powers on to a limited 155mph maximum.
That's a serious amount of thrust and the XF's eight-speed auto transmission means you're always plugged into the meat of it.
The XF offers two bodystyles – saloon and Sportbrake esate – and three trim levels on 3.0 V6 diesel form: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Portfolio.
The mid-level Premium Luxury version has proven popular and is fitted as standard with soft grain leather seats, a 600w stereo, Bluetooth, cruise control with speed limiter, hard disk satellite navigation, a heated front window, heated, electrically adjustable front seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Ruthlessly pressing home an advantage is not something that the British are renowned for but, when everything is taken into account, the XF 3.0-litre diesels hint at a mean streak that could be developing at Jaguar after the switch from American to Indian ownership.
It certainly bodes well for the future as Jaguar now has an executive car you can buy with your head as well as your heart.