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Is the Jaguar XF’s reign at the top of the executive class about to be ended? The British saloon was our Car of the Year in 2008, and has already seen off the latest Mercedes E-Class – but now it faces its stiffest challenge yet.

The new BMW 5-Series hits showrooms next month, and its aim will be to put the German firm back in its familiar spot, at the top of the executive car pecking order. With a new look and a host of electronic gadgetry, you wouldn’t bet against it. The brand’s EfficientDynamics hardware also ensures low fuel consumption, but the Jaguar will be no walkover.

Up against the BMW 530d here is the firm’s flagship diesel. We’ve never tested the 3.0 S before, so can the most punchy oil-burner in the line-up defend the big cat’s crown?

Look at the numbers and the more powerful XF should have an advantage. But the 5-Series has a trick up its sleeve, because its automatic gearbox features two more ratios than the Jaguar…

That’s right, BMW has fitted the eight-speed transmission from the bigger 7-Series to its new executive contender! Incredibly, it provides even lower emissions than the standard six-speed manual.

Will this help to propel the BMW to victory? Nothing short of brilliance will be required to beat our current favourite...

source: autoexpress

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