2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
For a long time, four-cylinder engines were not considered opportune in the luxury segment. But those times are long gone. Jaguar is now launching a new entry-level model in its XF series.
By Axel F. Busse
First the taboo was broken, then the matter of course: four-cylinder engines in luxury brands were once considered not socially acceptable, today Jaguar can no longer stand back. The British brand is opening its age of downsizing with a new entry-level model in the XF series.
It seems unheard of for fans of old automotive values to want to equip a comfort sedan with a length of almost five meters with a four-cylinder diesel, but the first test kilometers prove that it works. The appearance of the 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine leaves nothing to be desired in terms of self-confidence. Jaguar is presenting its latest product to the international trade press in Bavaria, of all places, where it is well known and has long been producing powerful and efficient diesel cars. The message is clear: Jaguar wants a piece of the cake in the upper middle class that Audi and BMW, but also Mercedes, are now enjoying with relish.
Rethinking engines required
That calls for a rethink: In the past, anyone who opted for a Jaguar had the choice between six and eight-cylinder engines, with the diesel engines distributing half a dozen over three liters of displacement and offering three different power levels. The starter package for the Jaguar world with 155 kW / 211 PS is no longer in the range and will be replaced by the new 140 kW / 190 PS machine. In contrast to the double-charged three-liter six-cylinder, which customers can still order for the XF with 177 kW / 240 PS or 202 kW / 275 PS, the new four-cylinder gets by with just one turbocharger.
Together with the lower number of cylinders, this results in a weight saving of around 45 kilograms. This almost compensates for the lower output of 15 kW / 21 PS. The XF 2.2 diesel sprints up to 225 km / h if necessary. If you don't try this out too often, you should get by with 5.4 liters per 100 kilometers. This value, determined on the test stand in accordance with EU standards, is due to a technology that has not yet been found in any other Jaguar. The engine shutdown during a short stop, which Jaguar calls "automatic stop / start" in the logic of the subsequent events.
For Andy Whyman, the program engineer in charge, the new unit is a "strategically important engine". In the world market it can be clearly observed that the focus of business sedans is moving away from the six-cylinder to the supercharged four-cylinder. Making an offer there to discerning customers is one task of the engine; the other is to reduce the fleet consumption of all Jaguar vehicles, as prescribed by the EU. Anyone who does not adhere to the clearly defined limits pays heavy fines.
With the modernization of the drive range, the visual facelift has also found its way into the XF range. Discreetly but effectively, chief designer Ian Callum and his team took on the entire front of the four-door. "The grill was one idea too small, the headlights a bit too big," Callum sums up the insight, which also included reactions from customers. Not everyone liked the elegant curvature of the former headlight lenses. Thanks to further developed lighting technology, smaller lighting units can now be used, which can be placed behind narrower "cat eyes".
Fine-tuning under the bonnet
Air inlets and the contours of the hood were also fine-tuned, and a horizontal clip was attached to the front fenders, on which the "Jaguar" logo is now embossed. "The brand name on the side is important. People should see who is overtaking them," jokes Callum. At the rear I said goodbye to the trapezoidal tailpipes and replaced them with oval ones. The four-cylinder gets one of them, the six-cylinder got two and the 375kW / 510 HP strong top model XFR has four outlets.
Jaguar is also introducing a new power transmission for the new engine. It is an eight-speed automatic from ZF development. This is still a link with the competition, because comparable transmissions are also used at BMW and Audi. It converts the up to 450 Newton meters of torque into propulsion without any problems, smoothly changes gear and can also skip several levels when shifting down.
Even if the 2.2-liter unit lacks the sovereignty and smoothness at higher engine speeds that were known from the larger-volume predecessor model, the overall presentation of the new entry-level diesel is convincing. Energetic power development for spontaneous overtaking maneuvers is just as available as smooth gliding, where you can best enjoy the luxurious ambience of solid British comfort. Minimal delays in converting throttle movements into propulsion are acceptable, and smooth and precise steering supports the pleasantly relaxed driving experience. The brakes grab hold of the force and can easily keep the 1,745 kilogram load under control.
The ticket to the Jaguar cosmos can now be bought for 44,900 euros. For this you get the entry-level diesel plus eight-speed automatic. Manual switching is not offered. Xenon headlights, LED rear lights, automatic air conditioning, electrically adjustable steering column and seats, rain sensor and audio system are included in this total. (mid)