Finally, finally, I got to drive a Jaguar. Yes a Jaguar in India. Don’t get me wrong folks. I have been always salivating about Jaguars however couldn’t even reach them with a barge pole. So when Jaguar embarked on a PR friendly exercise in India, why should we at Indiandrives be left behind? A few phone calls from Jaguar later, we had the new Jaguar XF 3.0D delivered to our office in Thane. Yes, the typical plum color of the Jaguar. It certainly grabbed more eyeballs than when the time Pamela Anderson stepped on Indian soil a few months back. British splendor at its best. Well, the bad news, Yes, you got it right. Its only going to be a test drive and not a hell lot of review. So what? I am game for even a test drive of the spanking new Jaguar XF 3.0D in India.
Just like any other Jaguar would sum up the looks department of this car. It has got ellipsoidal head lamps with the big honeycomb grille surrounded by chrome outlines. The air dams are also the same honeycomb affair but then in place of the fog lamps, there are horizontal chrome slats. There are 4 creases on the bonnet of this car. The wing mirrors are small but effective in displaying the traffic behind. They also have the turn indicators embedded in them. The 245/45ZR17 tyres look the part and they are a premium as well. Premium due to the reason that they have Pirelli Pzero rubber on them. The rear kink displays a coupe like stance and this seamlessly blends into the rear bumper. The tail lamps are split by the boot. A unique feature and one which I actually gave attention to when the PR person brought it to my notice, the twin tail pipes are different in shape. The bigger one is actually a dummy one and is there for style purposes.
Now, this is where I was dying to be. After the initial mulling over at the exteriors, I very readily used the keyless entry system and got the things going inside. The steering wheel looks and feels artificial, so do the audio controls on it. It has got a Volvo influence as far as the instrument cluster goes. Build quality felt superb since not any button felt out of place. That saying, some of the buttons didn’t feel that tactile. The best part is that there is lots to discover inside a Jaguar. I was hunting for the gear lever and that’s when the PR person told me that I have to press the starter so that the gear lever comes out of its enclosure. Party trick, anyone? The aircon vents also open up at the same time. Speaking of space, the front seats hug you like an old lover. The console mounted touch screen is also intuitive to use and is engaging to look at. The same tunnel which runs at the front also intrudes heavily into the rear and makes this car strictly a 4 seater with also less head room due to the coupe stance. Boot space is good at exactly 500 liters.
Handling and ride quality
The suspension for the Jaguar XF 3.0D in India is a raised one than its European counterparts. Its gets the independent double wishbones with anti-roll bar at the front whereas the rear features independent double wishbones with an anti roll bar and coil springs. Even for the short drive, the low speed ride quality was excellent. Actually, it took to the potholed roads like a fish to water. Everything was dispatched off with aplomb. Even at close to ton speeds, the car was super stable. The steering though could do with better feedback. It is at the bottom of the heap amongst the luxury cars in its segment. Handling also suffers for the very this very fact but it is still ahead of the Mercedes E-class. There is a bit of body roll but then that is it. There is absolutely no wind or engine noise even at speeds close to 130 kmph(remember, I had only limited time with me). Visibility was also good with the low dashboard.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Jaguar XF is offered in India with three engine options. Two petrol and one diesel. Since a diesel motor widens appeal and this been a recent launch, I had the diesel with me. The engine was a 3 liter V6 with turbocharger. This engine pumps out 274 Bhp of peak power and a huge 600 Nm of torque. It is mated ot a 6 speed auto transmission with paddle shifters. To sum up the experience, it is a hoot to drive. There is available torque at all and every speed. The 0-100 kmph run was completed only in 7.34 seconds. Top speed, I was told is electronically limited to 250 kmph. Now, this been a road test, I cannot comment much about the fuel efficiency however expect the performance diesel motor to return about 9 kmpl in the city and 13 kmpl on the highway. Braking is achieved via all wheel disc brakes with EBD, ABS and ESP thrown in for good measure. 6 air bags, collapsible steering column and side intrusion beams complete the safety package.
A gem of a car with that exclusivity factor thrown in for good measure. The only downside is that it isn’t a genuine 5 seater car along with the dearth in rear head room space. This car in the diesel avatar is offered with only one variant and the Jaguar XF 3.0D price in India is Rs 48.5 lakhs (ex-show room, Delhi). A very good alternative to all those Germans waiting to catch your attention and money.