Review: Jaguar XF 2.0
Brilliant drivetrain, dynamic to drive, bucketful of features and now affordable to buy – this is Jaguar XF 2.0
Jaguar has been on a downsizing spree lately. First up, it was the mighty XJ with a 2.0-litre petrol motor, followed by the XF with a smaller 2.2-litre diesel and now it’s the XF 2.0-litre petrol. It’s the latest Jag to get a smaller heart and after spending two days with it, we think it’s quite an impressive package.
To begin with, there’s no doubt this is the best looking premium luxury sedan in India right now. It’s a bloody head turner wherever it goes, and let’s face it, this is something the German trio cannot match. And while the XF 2.0 is the cheapest petrol Jag to buy, it doesn’t really miss out on features that suggest it is the cut-price model.
It mostly gets everything Jaguar has to offer a top-end XF with, and apart from the smaller 17 inch wheels, there’s no hint of a smaller motor under its hood. In fact, it also gets dual tailpipes as seen on the top-end variants, further masking its smaller cubic capacity. It’s a similar story on the inside where the cabin continues to feel special with signature Jag touches all around – it’s a great mix of wood, brushed metal and leather, and a great place to be.
But the highlight of this variant is the smaller 2.0-litre petrol motor. The downsized engine may force you to think it’s down on performance and tilting more towards saving the ozone layer. But that would be horribly wrong. This four-cyl, 1999cc, turbo-petrol is a gem of a motor and frankly speaking, it’s all that you would need from a petrol XF in Indian conditions.
This 2.0-litre motor makes 237bhp and 340Nm of torque, with all the power sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed gearbox sourced from ZF. And believe us, it’s a brilliant combination. The 4-cyl motor is pretty smooth and refined, while the new gearbox compliments the motor really well. Power is available from the word go and there’s not a moment where you are left wanting for more. Zero-100kph is done in 8.5 seconds and that’s decent for a 2.0-litre motor pulling a 2240kg sedan. In gear acceleration is quick too and driving in city is effortless. However, the power delivery is spiky and it may take you by surprise in traffic conditions. That said, there won’t be any such issues on the highway as this motor loves regular visits to its redline and is a treat to drive as it runs through the perfectly spaced gear ratios.
It’s quite a busy animal, the gearbox, always making sure its in the right gear at all times. Driving it in ‘D’ mode will take care of urban driving as there’s enough power on tap. A slight push of the throttle pedal results in a quick downshift of multiple ratios and there’s a sudden spike in power. But if you think that is not enough, the Sport mode will be more than willing to do its part. The XF 2.0 also comes with paddle shifters for occasions where you want to take full control of the situation. We like!
What we also liked is the manner in which the XF handles Indian roads. It’s doesn’t feel as stiff as its German rivals and always feels a bit softly sprung. Which is not a bad thing as it takes good care of our broken and patchy road surfaces, saving our backbone from the torture that the Mumbai city roads have become. Even at highway speeds, the Jag feels well planted and offers a good ride no matter what the speedometer reads.
It’s not just the ride, but handling too is quite impressive. There is good feedback from the steering wheel and feels well weighted at all times. Throw this cat into a fast corner and it won’t disappoint, it will stick to a line and you can comfortably power your way out of corners without a hint of nervousness. And if you are brave enough to completely switch off the traction control, the XF shall willingly pull its tail out when pushed hard and take our word on that, it’s quite addictive. There is a hint of body roll around corners and that's down to the overall soft setup, but even then, things are kept well under control.
As mentioned before, the XF 2.0 tilts more towards performance and that takes its toll on efficiency figures. After driving in stop-go traffic with a light foot, the XF returned 8.3kpl, while it got a bit better on the highway with a 10.5kpl figure, thanks to the 8-speed gearbox. However, this turbo-petrol motor is quite sensitive to the way its driven and don’t be surprised to see a 35 per cent drop in efficiency when driven hard.
Priced at Rs 48.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the XF 2.0 isn’t the cheapest Jag around. It’s around Rs 4 lakh dearer than the XF 2.2 diesel and if you want a Jag with better efficiency, that’s the one for you. But it isn’t as fun to drive as its petrol sibling and to us, it matter a lot. The XF 2.0 comes across as a true-blue Jag with attractive looks, great performance, loads of features and now a petrol motor with better pricing too. It may not be the cheapest one when compared to its rivals, but the Jaguar XF 2.0 plays its performance and exclusivity card pretty well.
4cyl, 1999cc, turbo-petrol, 237bhp, 340Nm, 8A, RWD, 0-100kph: 8.56sec, 30-50kph: 1.97sec, 50-70kph: 2.45sec, 80-0kph: 25.2m/2.29sec, city kpl: 8.2, highway kpl: 10.5, 2240kg, Rs 48.3 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Despite the smaller heart, performance is impressive and gets most of the Jaguar goodies at a decent price tag. Expect fuel bills to be on the higher side, though.