A GREAT Jaguar will purr, cosset and growl in equal measures.

So for those enthusiasts who are looking for the most involving driving experience from an XF, look no further than the Sport version equipped with Jaguar’s free-revving 3.0-litre supercharged V6 380PS engine.

Shared with the F-Type sports car, these all-aluminium engines combine supercharging with direct-injection and variable intake and exhaust valve timing to deliver exceptional throttle response, linear power delivery and a unique soundtrack.

A symposer feeds some of the V6’s induction sound back into the cabin to make exploiting the performance potential even more exhilarating.

Coupled with rear-wheel drive and matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the XF S sprints from 0 to 62mph in 5.3 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited maximum speed of 155mph.

But when you are not prodding the right pedal with any great intention, this car will simply purr and cosset you in luxurious surroundings with state-of-the-art touchscreen technology at your fingertips.

Settle into the comfy cockpit, press the starter button and watch the gear selector dial rise and the air vents rotate in their housing. It’s pure theatre and unmatched by rivals such as the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series.

My test car came with several fitted options that showcased virtually all that is on offer to the XF buyer – at a hefty price in some cases. Those features included LED headlights with DTR lights at £1,275, 20-inch split-spoke wheels (£1,255), the navigation pro pack with 825-watt sound system (£2,140), digital TV (£890), advanced parking assist with surround camera (£1,690) and a head-up display pack (£1,270).

But there’s no question of being short-changed on features if your XF comes straight out of the box. The XF’s cabin remains the benchmark in this sector.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox handles shifts in speed with great efficiency in either the regular setting or in the sport mode, leaving the steering wheel-mounted paddles rather redundant for all but the most demanding of drivers.

The accompanying soundtrack is composed largely of purring and thrumming, but the growl is lurking in the background and springs into your ear drums once the throttle pedal is pressed hard.

The large brake callipers are a reassuring sight when you consider the car’s ability to sprint faster than a hot hatch and as quickly as many sports cars. Other clues to the car’s capability come in the form of the two large tailpipes and the discreet badging.

With a capability to soak up the vagaries of virtually all road surfaces, it simply purrs along until you ask it to perform. Then comes the growl, thrust and exhilaration that make this such a wonderful driving experience.

While Jaguar will be keen to emphasise the sporting credentials, the superb rear suspension on the XF makes for a cossetting experience.

If the XF has a downside, then it is the rather restrictive rear passenger space. However, there’s a generous 540 litres of luggage space with the seats up.

In the final analysis, the XF makes for a most beautiful executive saloon that leads its class in many areas.

This V6 model may only be a niche product in the XF line-up or almost 30 variants, but it provides for a stunning showcase.