The entry point to Jaguar ownership is the handsome Jaguar XE.
The four door premium car market is pretty cut throat – but if the famous leaping cat brand can make it here… it will be a huge feather in its cap. When you take a moment to look at what the baby Jaguar has to go up against you can see the massive task ahead. The class leading premium machines are the big two, the BMW 3 Series and AudiA4. These cars are very impressive and dominate the sales charts but there is also the matter of the excellent Mercedes Benz C Class to contend with also! Realistically the XE won’t outsell these three. XE is a genuine alternative for buyers who want to treat themselves but don’t particularly want to run with the crowd in an obvious German premium machine. The only real non Germanic rival for XE comes from Lexus with its IS.
It’s good looking.
XE on the outside clearly looks the part. The shapely body is conventional enough but it has subtle curves and power bulges that take it beyond your average three box saloon. I had the entry SE model on test, yes I was slumming it with cloth seats and a manual gearbox – hardly premium features, but despite having the XE model that is aimed at the fleet market I still felt good picking up the key. Of course I missed having the automatic gearbox that’s standard on the rest of the range and leather seats – but every time I walked up to it I felt good and that’s a big part of the whole ‘premium’ experience thing.
The face of Jaguar.
Jaguar is well aware of the need to become more recognisable on the street especially in global markets where it is still relatively unknown as a brand. The design team has been slowly but surely developing a corporate nose or front end that can be spotted from a distance and recognised clearly as a Jag. XE’s appearance is the key selling point.
Inside could be better.
The five seat cabin has reasonable space and the seating is fine. The dash is relatively ordinary next to the BMW 3 Series and A4. The manual is frugal but just like the 3 Series forces the driver to drive almost side-saddle to use the three pedals. The transmission tunnel of the rear wheel drive car pushes the clutch and brake pedal to the right – more so than is comfortable. Clearly as with the BMW this car was designed as an automatic as there is only room for two pedals. If you do a lot of city driving the pedal position of the manual will drive you nuts. The automatic is the way to go… especially if you want a premium experience.
On the road the XE delivers a nice drive thanks to its drive train, sophisticated suspension and the fact it has the lightest body in its class. 50/50 weight distribution mimics the 3 Series. Torque vectoring by braking aids spirited cornering. XE is available with AWD too but most XEs sold will be rear wheel drive only. There are lots of clever electronic driving aids available depending on model and specification chosen.
Jaguar’s new 2.0 litre diesel pushes out 163hp in standard form and this is enough to make you feel unaware of any power restriction. There are higher powered versions of this four cylinder with 180hp, 200hp and 240hp. The range topper is the 340hp V6 petrol, for hardcore enthusiasts. The ride is composed on the standard 17 inch alloys too. Double wishbone front suspension and multi link rear allow the XE lap up smooth surface with real precision.
There is an XE to suit all well lined pockets.
SE (from €37,995), Prestige (from €40,635), R-Sport (from €41,750), Portfolio (from €43,630), and S (from €75,000) are models available.
I got out of the XE straight into a 3 Series and it confirmed my thoughts. I prefer the look of the Jaguar and love the notion of having a Jag – but the 3 Series remains the more involving drive… First world problems eh!