HE Jaguar XF S is sending me mixed messages. From the outside, it’s like its namesake, all black, lithe and muscular and ready to pounce. To say it looks like a four-door Monaro is no insult.
And under the bonnet is a new snarling twin-turbo V8 diesel engine that wants me to put the boot in hard, urging me to be naughty.
However, when I get inside, the plush leather upholstery and gorgeous trim want me to relax and take my time.
With the smart key in my pocket, everything is ready and willing to fire into action.
All I have to do is hit the ‘‘start’’ button next to the transmission dial.
And this is where I get the mixed messages.
The start-up sequence involves an impressive floorshow of air vents that slowly rotate into position with the transmission knob rising majestically out of the centre console into your awaiting hand.
Not until it gets all the way to the top can you rotate the transmission selector to D for drive, or S for sports driving, which is where you really want to turn it.
All this takes just a few seconds but it’s precious seconds when the blood is up and you are champing at the bit to get moving.
The Jaguar is asking you to first appreciate its engineering and performance before you set off and really appreciate its engineering and performance.
While the first few times are an interesting floorshow and a great source of entertainment for friends and family, after a while it becomes a little annoying.
I have a friend with whom who I ride motorcycles. We call him Inspector Gadget because he always has new gadgets and loves to play with them.
So while we’re all ready to roll, he’s turning on his bike and checking the on-board computer diagnostics, then setting his navigation system, before putting on his helmet and gloves. He loves the procedures and the machinery probably more than the actual riding, while I am the reverse. I’m always itching to get going. Thankfully, once you fire up the big Jag and plant your size 11 foot, there is no lag in the performance here.
Normally turbo diesels have an annoying lag at slow speeds but Jaguar’s new AJ-V6D Gen III S 3.0-litre diesel delivers 500Nm of torque in only 500 milliseconds from idle.
Jaguar’s most powerful diesel yet has 202kW of power and a maximum of 600Nm of torque propelling it to 100km/h in just 6.4 seconds.
That’s 33 per cent more powerful than the 2.7-litre V6 diesel with 61 per cent more torque from 1500rpm.
At the same time, Jaguar has managed to avoid pumping losses in the engine by isolating one of the parallel sequential turbos until needed.
In normal town driving, you use one turbo but when you kick it in the guts, the second fires up in 300 milliseconds and blurs the scenery without any discernible lag in the delivery of power. Use of just one turbo most of the time results in 12 per cent better fuel economy than the V6 and a 10 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions to about the level of a Toyota Corolla. But, despite all the comforts coddling the driver, there is always that temptation to release the snarling beast within and throw those great emissions and economy figures right out the window.
After all, you don’t pay an extra $30,000 for a car to save a few pennies on fuel.
If you do decide to cruise around on one turbo, you will not only be rewarded with a clear conscience by reducing emissions and fuel usage but you’ll also enjoy a quiet and refined driving experience.
Jaguar has tamed the customary diesel engine clatter with a CGI cylinder block and new piezo injectors to reduce combustion noise.
Sound dampening is also used in the camshaft covers, front covers and sump, the latter featuring a polymer layer sandwiched between two layers of steel.
It is so quiet and smooth you could easily forget you are driving a car with a diesel engine. That gives you more time to sit back and enjoy the wonderful high fidelity of the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.