The new downsized XF is likely to attract attention for offering the Jaguar experience of top-notch ride and stylish interiors at an affordable price

Luxury carmaker Jaguar has now lowered the entry point to its range of petrol cars available in India with a new, downsized 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine finding its way into the XF sedan. Priced at Rs 48.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), this is the most affordable petrol Jaguar here. But has the downsizing exercise taken away from the Jaguar experience, or is it still a true-blue Jag?

First off, the new turbo-petrol may displace just 1999cc but it churns out an impressive 237bhp and 34.7kgm. It comes mated to a ZF-sourced, eight-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels.

In terms of kit, it doesn’t lose out on much when compared to the top-spec car and all the essentials that would characterise a luxury sedan are present. There’s dual-zone air-conditioning, GPS navigation, 11-speaker audio system, mood lighting, touch-screen interface (could’ve been a bit more intuitive), reversing camera, leather upholstery and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s powered seat adjustment for both front seats and a combination of leather, wood trim and brushed metal on the interiors lends it an air of sophistication. On the outside, there aren’t that many tell-tale signs that announce ‘base variant’ either. You also get dual exhausts at the back.  

When sitting in the rear, you won’t really be able to tell the difference from the top-spec car. But it doesn't offer the best comfort levels either and the smallish seat squab is not as supportive as say the rear bench of a Mercedes-Benz E-class.

When it comes to luxury, aesthetics or equipment, the base XF delivers a genuine Jaguar experience, but what of the new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol’s performance? While it obviously lacks the character of larger six cylinder or V8 motors, it is quite adequate for practical use. In ‘D’ mode, the XF does just fine, upshifting early and ambling around at low revs. However, the power delivery is a little uneven and if you step down on the accelerator, the gearbox shifts down, at times up to four ratios, swiftly propelling you forward and this may take some getting used to in slow-moving traffic. In ‘S’, the response improves significantly and darting into gaps in traffic becomes considerably easier. It’s also quite a reasonably quick car. Flat-out, 100kph comes up in 8.65 seconds and there’s enough power to comfortably go past the 180kph mark. And for those of you who like to exercise some control over the up and down shifts, there are steering mounted paddle shifters that are prompt and responsive.

The most impressive bit is how refined this motor is. It spins smoothly, without noise and vibrations spoiling the experience. And when you do push it hard, it emits a muted sporty soundtrack that’s rather entertaining. 

The XF 2.0-litre gets higher profile tyres and this aids ride comfort and allows for better absorption of bumps. But it still is vulnerable to sharp edges that filter through into the cabin. The steering wheel is responsive and gives a feeling of assurance around corners.

The car did turn out to be a bit of a guzzler though with an average of 6-7kpl in mixed driving conditions.

So, just like the entry-level 2.2 diesel, this car also delivers the full XF experience except for the lower capacity engine. Those being driven around may not enjoy the best rear seats in the segment but, the ‘low-cost’ XF retains the same charming interiors that feel quite special.