I WAS singing the praises of Jaguar’s fastest series production sports car earlier this year after sampling the stunning 186mph XKR-S.
My latest drive was in a diesel-powered XF model and this was just as impressive, albeit for different reasons.
It might not be able to sprint to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds or have the race-track growl coming from its tailpipes but it delivers big time in many other ways.
This is the first time a four-cylinder engine has been available in the XF and it is certain to be a popular choice.
The model – the most efficient Jaguar yet - boasts a combined economy figure of 52.3mpg and that means it could, theoretically, cover more than 700 miles on a full tank.
I doubt it if owners will get anywhere to achieving this because they will want to sample and enjoy the 2.2-litre 187bhp turbo-charged engine to the full.
It’s not got the sports car acceleration of the XKR-S but going from standstill to 62mph in 8.5 seconds is pretty fast and there is also an electronically-controlled top speed of 140mph.
The power comes through a new eight-speed ZF torque converter gearbox (there is a six-speed manual alternative) and it worked superbly.
The engine was quiet yet responsive when needed and manual changes can also be made through the paddleshifts.
I was happy to let the auto box do the gear changes for me and couldn’t fault the smooth yet quick movements during fast driving on some winding roads.
Little noise comes into the cabin while cruising at motorway speeds and comfort was exceptional in the car’s luxury interior.
Exterior tweaks to the 2012 XF include slim new headlight units with LED lighting strips either side of the grille and a lower bonnet line with a pronounced, wider power bulge.
It’s an elegant-looking model and along with the changes made under the skin is certain to boost Jaguar’s already increasing sales.
Prices start at £30,950 for this 2.2-litre XF although the top-of-the-range Porfolio model I tested costs £43,050.