Jaguar XF 20d- Executive Tripper
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Bond movies, Judi Dench sitting in the back seat of a Jaguar. Why no German car you ask? Because aristocracy is the thing now and one only gets that feeling with a Jaaag! Whenever I get into a Jaguar, I connect my phone and play the most magnificent soundtracks of Ludovico Einaudi and Antonio Vivialdi with an orchestra of Pianos, Violins and Cellos playing the glorious notes making me feel like her Majesty’s secret agent even when I am wearing a wrinkled shirt and my 3-year old jeans on a wet and humid Sunday. I absolutely adore the feeling of royalty a Jaguar car gets every time I have one. It is 2019 and Jaguar has hooked me up with their latest XF in its diesel avatar in their basic iteration called the ‘Pure’ variant. Let’s find out if it really is worth ditching the German trinity.
The new Jaguar XF looks more like a facelift than a completely new car, which it is, as the basic design cues are very similar to the older generation. Elements like the headlamp cluster, the grill, the side view mirrors and even the alloy wheel design on this entry level variant are reminiscent of the older car. But look closely and you will be surprised of how much the XF has improved. The is an increase of 50mm in the wheel base, a few milometers increase in the height and the width which makes the car longer although there is negligible drop in the overall length of the car. The grill is wider, the character lines are now even sharper and to add to the lengthy car appeal there is now a quarter glass on the C pillar, which in my opinion looks brilliant and sets the new XF apart from the older one significantly.
The rear swoops like a fishtail and endorses a set beautiful looking taillamps inspired from the F-type sports car. Since this is the base variant, it comes with standard Bi-xenon headlamps instead of glittery LED ones, there are a set of 17-inch alloy wheels seen installed on many cars from Jaguar lately sodded with some amazing Continental tires which over my test with the lesser Jaguar XE turned out to be extremely reliable and quiet. There is no sunroof on this variant and you may have to shell out a little extra from your kitty to buy the ‘Prestige’ variant instead if you really need one. There are no peeking exhaust pipes, no chrome shimmer, nothing loud and it really isn’t agonizing at all. The simplicity of the XF is beautiful and that is something you will never get in a German car. Period.
Get inside and once again the pianos, violins and cellos would play in the background as you perch on the fragrant leather and grab the wheel of sheer magnificence (Mind my royalty here). The interiors of the XF look anything but drab. To the eyes it is an amalgamation of the most beautiful greyscale elements here in the interiors of the XF, there are gloss black panels, textured brushed aluminium pieces on the door and the dashboard and the latter is surfaced with leather with a contrast stitching. There is leather and soft touch plastic everywhere you touch which creates a sense of opulence. What adds to the feeling is the sheer drama that happens as you press the start button which throbs like the heartbeat of a feline.
As the engine ignites the gear selector rises to give the trademark Jaguar handshake, the aircon vents raise their lids like the curtains on stage and the cat appears on the screens to welcome you to the maniacal machine. The seats are well cushioned, the side bolstering is impressive and the width of the seat can accommodate Indian sized obese kids with no problems at all. With the increase in wheelbase, the rear legroom has improved over the previous generation as well. With the driver seat adjusted to an approximately 6 feet tall driver’s comfort, my knees do not rub against the back of the seat which is a Win-Win! Indeed, the back seats are not as plush and roomy as the ones in the new Mercedes E class but do you really buy a Jaguar to sit at the back? Coming back to the front, the steering feels rich and chunky with a plethora of buttons for every kind of day to day driving chores. There are a pair of paddle shifters too so you can drive in the Ghat roads like Mitch Evans on a Sunday morning. The centre of the dashboard is armoured with an 8-inch in-control touchscreen system which controls almost all function on the car.
The system is easy to use and with the current upgrade the touch feedback has improved by miles. The speakers do lack the punch and I really truly wished if the Meridian sound upgrade was a tick box away in this base variant. Unlike the top end Portfolio trim that we tested earlier this season, the Pure gets conventional dials in the instrument cluster which look very neat indeed, also they turn red from white when the ECU is pushed over to Dynamic Mode.
The new XF is incorporated with a 1999cc turbo charged diesel engine producing a healthy 180hp and an intimidating 430 Nm of torque. This is mated to an ultra-smooth 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox which channelizes the power to the rear wheels. The torque build-up is very smooth and the acceleration from standstill doesn’t shove you in instant but it does it with absolute ease, like a feather falling on a cushy pillow. It takes 8 seconds flat to hit a 100 Kmph from zero in dynamic mode. The suspension setup on the new XF is par excellence, on slow speeds, the ride quality is plush and the potholes, irrespective of their size, do not filter inside the cabin whatsoever. As we pace up to triple digit speeds, the ride quality becomes reassuringly stiff.
There is almost no pitch and roll no matter how bad the roads may be. Driving through the terribly paved roads of Mumbai and Pune I realized how robust the suspension was. There is no noise from the dampers and they don’t feel they will break into numerous pieces hitting those large potholes too. On the highway the engine noise is completely cut off and at low RPMs you will mistake it of being a petrol power unit. NVH levels are non-existent and the overall drive feel is incredibly smooth and relaxing.
Points to Note:
The XF is available in 3 variants namely, Pure, Prestige and Portfolio.There is no keyless smart access on the Pure variant.The rear seats are of very good quality and have a rather impressive under thigh support unlike its German rivals which lack it. Fuel efficiency is an astonishing 12.8 kmpl in the city and 19.2 kmpl on the highway with our overall running.55 profile tyres dampen the ride quality phenomenally and the Continental rubber is extremely quiet indeed.The boot is a massive 540 litres and easily is the largest in the segment.
Fit and Finish is top notch even in the base Pure trim which is slowly downgrading in its German rivals. Jaguar is now offering comprehensive maintenance packages for up to 3 years which include parts and labour to reduce the overall running costs and effort by a large margin.
JAGUAR XF 20d
Engine : 1999cc, turbocharged diesel
Gearbox : 8-speed Automatic
Power : 180 bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque : 430 Nm @ 1750rpm
L X W X H : 5067mm X 2091mm X 1457mm
Wheelbase : 2960mm
Kerb Weight : 1640kg
Tyre Size : 225/55 R17
Lesser cars exist that delight an automotive purist. The new XF really truly is a magnificent machine and shines even more in the coastal monsoons that we have at our disposal. It rides amazingly well, handles like a preying cat and has looks to die for. Surely the entry level Pure variant skips on a lot from the equipment options available up the variant line but with strong driving characteristics and build quality that will last generations it really is a masterpiece to own. And at 44.94 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) it matches the price tag of the top of the line C-class or a 3 series which is astonishing for the car you get for the money. Do I love it? Yes Indeed!