Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a well-known threat to global agricultural production. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the second most important staple crop in India, although little is known about intra-specific variability of Indian wheat cultivars in terms of their sensitivity against O3. In this study, 14 wheat cultivars widely grown in India were exposed to 30 ppb elevated O3 above ambient level using open top chambers to evaluate their response against O3 stress. Different growth and physiological parameters, foliar injury and grain yield were evaluated to assess the sensitivity of cultivars and classified them on the basis of their cumulative stress response index (CSRI). Due to elevated O3, growth parameters, plant biomass, and photosynthetic rates were negatively affected, whereas variable reductions in yield were observed among the test cultivars. Based on CSRI values, HD 2987, DBW 50, DBW 77, and PBW 550 were classified as O3 sensitive; HD 2967, NIAW 34, HD 3059, PBW 502, HUW 213, and HUW 251 as intermediately sensitive, while HUW12, KUNDAN, HUW 55, and KHARCHIYA 65 were found to be O3-tolerant cultivars. Cultivars released after year 2000 were found to be more sensitive compared to earlier released cultivars. Path analysis approach showed that leaf area, plant biomass, stomatal conductance, net assimilation rate, and absolute growth rate were the most important variables influencing yield under O3 stress. Findings of the current study highlight the importance of assessing differential sensitivity and tolerance of wheat cultivars and response of different traits in developing resistance against elevated O3. © 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.