by Brad Leahc - 07/12/12
European premium sedan buyers have been embracing the performance and fuel economy of four-cylinder turbocharged engines for some time. Australians have been jumping on-board too with the Mercedes-Benz E200 and BMW 520i racking-up impressive sales results.
But now the Germans have a challenge with Jaguar boosting its excellent XF range with the addition of a new turbocharged 2.0-litre model.
Boasting all the hallmark Jaguar XF attributes, the new XF 2.0-litre arrives with some significant advantages over its German rivals – more power and torque and a starting price of $68,900. In many ways, this is the most important Jaguar XF model yet.
Arrival of the 2.0-litre turbocharged Jaguar XF is part of the 2013 model year changes – they include the range-wide adoption of the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and new Meridian audio systems plus intelligent auto start-stop for V6 and V8 petrol models.
Value has been significantly boosted across the range with two Jaguar XF models (2.0 Petrol Luxury and 2.2 Diesel Luxury) now under $70,000 and even the sensational supercharged V8 XFR is under $200,000 at $189,900.
So the full lineup looks like this:
2.0 Petrol Luxury $68,900
2.0 Petrol Premium Luxury $75,500
2.2 Diesel Luxury $69,900
2.2 Diesel Premium Luxury $76,500
3.0 Diesel Luxury $83,900
3.0 Diesel Premium Luxury $102,900
3.0 Diesel S $115,500
3.0 Diesel S Portfolio $132,500
3.0 V6 Supercharged Petrol Luxury $96,650
3.0 V6 Supercharged Petrol Portfolio $112,650
The i4 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is familiar as it also powers the Land Rover Evoque. It’s a clever piece of engineering that’s just right for today – all aluminium, weighing just 138kgs and employing dual chain-driven variable valve timing.
Maximum power is 177kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 340Nm is delivered between 2000rpm and 4000rpm.
Driving through the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the Jaguar XF 2.0 covers zero to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds – the same as the Mercedes-Benz E200 and faster than the Audi A6 2.0TFSI (8.5 seconds).
Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is rated at 8.9l/100kms and exhaust emissions score 207g/km.
Inside, the Jaguar XF remains a standout. We still love the start-up procedure which sees the air-vents automatically open and the rotary gear selector dial rise into position.
And we still love the elegant timber highlights which are a cue to luxury Jaguars of the past.
But this is the new Jaguar so the XF comes equipped with a beautiful three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel which adjusts electronically for rake and reach and nicely-shaped seats (electronic adjustment on Premium Luxury models).
But the headline for the 2013 model year update is the availability of British Meridian audio systems. You can choose from a 380W, 12-channel 11-speaker system or an 825W, 15-channel 17-speaker system.
Well, there’s no beating around the bush – the Jaguar XF is simply one of the best automotive designs of the current era. Slick, sophisticated and a winner of more than 100 international awards, the XF announced Jaguar’s return to the top shelf in no uncertain terms.
From the front the hallmark Jaguar grille is surrounded by exotic headlights with superb crystal white DRLs in the shape of a Jaguar ‘J’ and the side view with the coupe-like sloping roof and sporty front fender air-ducts is very purposeful and dynamic.
And we’ve always liked the Jaguar XF rear-end with its elegant, modern tail-lights, curved wheel-arches and just the right amount of chrome highlights.
We drove an XF 2.0 Premium Luxury fitted with optional ‘Lyra’ 18-inch alloy wheels (replacing that regular ‘Vela’ design) and they looked very sharp.
Showing great confidence in the performance of their new turbocharged 2.0-litre model, the Jaguar team sent us off from Sydney to the NSW Central Coast via the Hawkesbury River – roads with steep climbs which test the best powerplants. During the day we got to drive both the entry-level $68,900 model and the better-equipped Premium Luxury version ($75,500).
Of course the turbocharged 2.0-litre Jaguar XF arrives simultaneously with the adoption of the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and the combination of the engine’s wide torque spread (340Nm between 2000rpm and 4000rpm) and the handy ratios of the eight-speeder is the key which delivered handy performance even on the steep climbs.
From a standing start there’s a hint of lag until the turbocharger comes on strong (just as there is with the Germans) but across the range the Jaguar XF delivers good acceleration – zero to 100km/h is identical to the Mercedes-Benz E200 – of course accompanied by Jaguar’s hallmark refinement and quite operation. In the twisty stuff, manual shifts of the eight-speeder were rapid and the exhaust note when working hard was suitably sporty.
The excellent chassis dynamics of the Jaguar XF are well known and our day in the new turbocharged 2.0-litre served as a reminder. That would mean good steering response, sharp turn-in and nice balance even at a fast pace.
And, as always, the ride and handling of the XF are both top-shelf – firm and sporty without being jarring and lovely refinement even on the bumpy stuff and even when we really cracked the whip on the turbo 2.0-litre…very impressive.
As always with the Jaguar XF, tall folk could feel a little cramped in the rear seat.
Jaguar is correct in saying the XF lineup was incomplete until the turbocharged 2.0-litre arrived. Now the XF has the full armada to conquest sales from rivals – Audi A6 2.0, BMW 520i and Mercedes-Benz E200, all of which are hot-sellers.
Fact is premium sedans with small capacity turbocharged petrol engines have been the way to go in Europe for some time and now Australian buyers too are recognizing these cars offer V6-like performance with lighter weight, better fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions. In a similar way, Ford has delivered this modern technology in the locally-made EcoBoost Falcon which, as regular Car Showroom readers will know, we rate very high highly.
Fact is too, Jaguar is back to the top. Cars like the XF, the superb XJ and the upcoming F-Type sport car are proof the British icon is again doing what it does best – luxury performance cars with world-class technology and that oh-so-British style.
We long been fans of the Jaguar XF – we love the classy interior, we love the styling and the nice packaging and we love the refinement. The new Jaguar XF 2.0 has all that with handy performance and fuel economy under 9.0l/100kms…a slick package by any standards.
Oh, and that $68,900 starting price really asks some questions of the Germans.
Premium European mid-size sedans are the automotive industry’s ‘Dream Team’ – all are excellent but there’s no denying Jaguar has trumped its rivals with the XF 2.0-litre’s $68,900 starting price. As always, you need to carefully check specifications which are important to your specific needs when comparing models and options.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class is simply one of the world’s best cars. That’s it. But the E200 carries a price premium over the Jaguar XF 2.0 of more than $10,000 and the German’s 135kW/270Nm turbocharged 1.8-litre engine is significantly out-gunned by Jag’s 177kW/340Nm 2.0-litre.
BMW 520i is $9,000 more than the XF 2.0 and likewise its 135kW/270Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre is overshadowed by the Jaguar 2.0-litre turbo.
Audi A6? Well, again you’ll need around $9,000 more than the XF 2.0 and Audi’s 132kW/320Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre doesn’t match the Jaguar XF.
Thumbs-up: Turbo 2.0-litre is powerful and refined; 8-speed auto matches the best; nice looks inside and out
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