2019 Jaguar XF 20t petrol review, test drive

15th Apr 2019 7:00 am

The XF gets JLR’s new petrol engine. How different is it?

Strong as the XF’s 180hp 2.0-litre diesel is, it’s not our engine of choice for the big Jag. In our book,
the livelier 200hp and 240hp 2.0-litre petrols are, (or rather were) a better fit for the sporty XF. These petrol engines date back to the time Jaguar was part of Ford, have now made way for Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house developed 2.0-litre petrol units. The new four-cylinder engines belong to JLR’s modular Ingenium family (like the aforementioned diesel they share much with), and are once again available in two states of tune – 200hp and 250hp. With us is the 200hp or 20t version of the updated XF.

The first impression is of improved refinement. You hear less of the engine at idle and there’s less noise from the engine bay at a steady cruise too, even if a Mercedes-Benz E 200’s suppresses engine noise better. Where the engine feels like the old one is in its strong and wide spread of power. The engine revs readily and the racy buzz in the last 2,000rpm of the rev range makes for a rather nice soundtrack. With the engine and gearbox set to their sportiest, you can hold gear at 6,500rpm too. The 8-speed gearbox also responds well to inputs at the paddles. Couple the powertrain’s high points with a slick steering and well-balanced handling and what you get is a large luxury sedan that can put a smile on your face on a good driving road. Talking numbers, the 200hp XF 20t’s 0-100kph, 20-80kph and 40-100kph times are similar to the 184hp Merc E200’s. The 252hp BMW 530i is considerably faster but you always have the option of the 250hp XF 25t if you crave more performance. 

XF rear seat is big on comfort.

All’s not perfect though. As on some other JLR models, the 8-speed gearbox is a bit clunky at low speeds. Also, in low-speed scenarios, the throttle can feel a bit over-responsive calling for very precise modulation. And the transition from engine off to on isn’t the smoothest either, but this can be fixed switching off the start/stop system.

The rest of the XF package is much the same as before. So, while the cabin lacks the new-age look of rivals like the BMW 5 Series and Volvo S90, it’s still a very nice place to be in. Space, again, is not class-leading but that’s got more to do with how roomy the Merc E-class rather than the lack of space in the XF. The comfy seats make life in an XF that much nicer still.

The XF gets a few more features as standard. The XF 20t – only available in mid-spec Prestige
trim – gets a 10-inch touchscreen with the long overdue inclusion of Android Auto and Apple
CarPlay support. Configurable interior lighting is a nice inclusion too, but it’s the pricier 25t (only available in top-spec Portfolio form) that gets auto parking, digital dials and four-zone
climate control.

Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are new.

New petrol engine or not, the Jaguar XF remains a choice for buyers who value a good driving experience as much as they do rear-seat comfort. However, if you want more of either, there
are other sedans that will better fit the bill.

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