If the Jaguar XE is an example of the quality of engineering and design ethos that is to come in the future, then we are all in for a treat. The baby Jaguar with a ferocious bite.
Performance is still very much at the core of Jaguar’s heritage. While the XE’s new aluminium intensive monocoque improves rigidity improving performance, it’s also lighter meaning it’s more economical too. The XE is available with a choice of two diesel engines and two petrol engines. The diesel options are the four cylinder 2.0 diesel Ingenium engines with a choice of 165bhp or 180bhp. Petrol options include the four cylinder 2.0 with 200bhp with a range topping 3.0 V6 with 335bhp. Both diesel options come with a choice of a 6-speed manual or a 8-speed ZF automatic transmission while the petrol options come with the auto option only. All models are rear wheel drive.
Jaguar have a long sporting heritage so driver enjoyment was key in the development of the XE. While the XE excels in offering a smart comfortable ride, behind the wheel it feels sharp thanks to its new electric steering that turns in well making the car feel planted at all times. Throttle response and refinement from both variants of the diesel power variants is excellent with the 165bhp engine emitting just 99g/km of C02. Power delivery right up to the high end of the rev mark is excellent while the ZF automatic gearbox manages the power almost perfectly. Overall the ride is firm and engaging but perhaps not quite as sharp as the BMW 3 Series.
The Jaguar XE is available with a choice of five trim levels designed with the businessman and enthusiastic sports driver in mind. The trims consist of XE, Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S. The XE’s interior is in a class of its own. The BMW 3 Series does not come close in terms of design while the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 can’t touch its ambiance for pure classiness. The first three trim levels provide a welcoming vibe with supple leather seats and a wraparound fascia while the R-Sport and S models get taut back hugging sports seats that empahsise the XE’s low driving position and instantly make you feel part of the car.
There is no questioning the build quality, use of materials and finish to the interior of the Jaguar XE. When you consider this to be the smallest car in their range, it doesn’t make you feel any less special than their range topping XJ. The cabin is awash with leather on the seats and door cards while it get one of the best looking dashboards in its class. The centre console is finished in a combination of leather and piano black with contrast aluminium inserts compete with a 7 inch touch screen at the top of the centre console that houses the infotainment and connectivity system.
The Jaguar XE scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety crash test making it one of the safest small saloons on the road. It gets some clever technology that improve safety on the road like torque vectoring that switches power to the corner of the car that needs most traction. Adaptive surface response, adaptive dynamics, head-up display, blind spot monitor, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
Despite the coupe looks and designed roofline that the XE inherits from the F-Type coupe, headroom in the back for adult passengers is good. Legroom is not the best in its class but it’s still ample for adults. It gets a large 450 litre boot which is slightly down on the BMW 3 Series but enough room for a car of its size never the less.