Not too long ago Jaguar decided to add smaller engine options to its flagship model – the XJ. It’s a trend that most manufacturers must now comply with under the stranglehold of emission norms. So Jaguar decided to plant a 2.0 litre turbo-petrol in its executive standard-bearing Jaguar XF.
The line ‘Gosh, that Jag’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast’ is heard about as frequently as a clarion call and you can see why. This is the cheapest petrol Jaguar in India (which isn’t to say its cheap) at the moment and it’s easily the prettiest executive sedan in the market. It’s a fairly functional design, but it’s swathed in traditional Jaguar design cues, which history has proven to be very visually effective.
If you’re worried that a 2.0 litre engine will basically take on towing duties, worry not because Jaguar has squeezed in a solid 237 bhp of power and 34.7 kgm of torque into the turbocharged motor. The resulting power delivery catapults you into triple-digit speeds rather unnervingly, so unsuspecting is the engine. However, the gearbox shifts up fast while in ‘D’ mode providing a sudden surge of power which can startle the uninitiated.
So there’s incredible levels of power on tap, but as is the case with many luxury cars – it’s all very well insulated for it to be exceptionally thrilling. This is a rear-wheel drive car which always makes for a more sharp and fun driving experience. But despite its considerable bulk those 255mm Pirellis adhere to the tarmac remarkably well – with traction control on, of course. There’s also a button for driving in the snow that further improves the traction, but it’s never deemed necessary.
The XF comes with an 8-speed automatic gearbox sourced from German transmission wizkid ZF. In regular ‘drive’ mode you find it shifting up fast, while ‘sport’ mode allows the gearbox to stretch its legs a bit. Bury your foot deep and it promptly shifts down, takes a breath and in an, aptly enough, cat-like manner – leap ahead The growl might be a bit muted, but this is one fast car. If your exacting nature find both the settings to be inadequate, feel free to switch to the steering mounted paddle shifters. No matter what the mode, it’s cruising speed lies around the 150 kph mark and it takes only a nudge to send it soaring upwards.
The Jaguar XF sits on high-profile 17” wheels which when coupled with its relatively soft suspension setup makes for a very absorbent ride. While it feels less flat around the corners than some of its competition from Germany, it is unfailingly comfortable. On the inside it’s as well-specced as the top of the end model and includes everything from dual-zone air conditioning to a touch screen interface with SatNav. It is starting to show its age even though it is incredibly dramatic when brought to life.
At a juncture where Jaguar’s quite literally dangling the new XF in front of your nose – the current one seems like a bargain as far as executive sedan pricing goes. At the moment Jaguar has placed a Rs 52 lakh price tag on it (ex-showroom, Mumbai) but they are offering significant discounts on the car’s on-road price (about Rs 2.7 lakh off). That brings it tantalizingly close to the price of say, a Mercedes C-Class which technically sits a segment below the XF. On the whole, it may seem a bit dated on the inside, but the XF, cubically curtailed or not, is undoubtedly a very exciting and comfortable car to drive.