Thanks to the all-new Jaguar XE we’re predicting a revolution where we live (and in many other Australian suburbs too). Where once you just traded-in your retiring Audi A4, BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C Class, now there’s an all-new Jaguar model which commands attention.
Well the XE is Jaguar’s first small sedan and joins the F-Type sports car, XJ and XF sedans in exhibiting the ‘new’ Jaguar. For example, the Jaguar XE is currently the only vehicle in this class to use a lightweight aluminium-intensive monocoque, it overflows with state-of-the art technology, rides on a new state-of-the-art modular vehicle architecture, is the stiffest and most aerodynamic Jaguar sedan the world has seen and, to be frank, challenges the established Germans in way you’d care to name.
Jaguar XE Overview
As they say “A Jaguar is always a Jaguar” and while the XE arrives with four model derivatives, even the entry-level ‘Prestige’ looks and feels ‘five-star’. From the glorious ‘Taurus’ leather seats to the comprehensive technology (park-assist, blind-spot monitor and lane departure warning with autonomous braking all standard) and the 11-speaker, 380W Meridian audio system with an eight-inch touchscreen including satellite navigation, the Jaguar XE Prestige delivers a staggering amount of car for prices as low as $60,400. That’s $500 less than the Mercedes-Benz C200 and $1,900 less than the BMW 320i.
Stepping-up to the Jaguar XE Portfolio introduces beautiful soft-grain ‘Windsor’ leather with Herringbone perforation, 18-inch ‘Matrix’ seven twin-spoke alloy wheels , a leather-type wrapped instrument panel, gloss figured ebony veneer trim highlights and an electric rear sunblind.
Next-up is the R-Sport which scores sports suspension, extensive ‘R-Sport’ branding, R-Sport bodykit (front bumper, body-coloured side sills, bootlid spoiler and gloss black window surrounds), ‘Luxtec’ seats with mesh inserts and 18-inch ‘Star’ five-spoke alloy wheels.
Apart from its ripper supercharged V6 engine, the range-topping Jaguar XE ‘S’ boasts sports suspension with active dynamics, an ‘S’ bodykit (front bumper, body coloured and gloss black side sills, gloss black rear valance and window surrounds), 19-inch ‘Venom five twin-spoke alloy wheels, red brake calipers, seats in ‘Taurus’ leather with suedecloth inserts, leatherette wrapped instrument panel, and ‘S’ steering wheel and black headlining.
The full lineup is:
Jaguar XE Engine
Jaguar XE debuts the heralded ‘Ingenium’ engine family. A ‘clean-sheet’ engine design developed entirely in-house at Jaguar’s new engine facility in Wolverhampton, the ‘Ingenium’ lineup (which will include diesel and petrol engines) is said to be the cornerstone of future Jaguar powerplants to meet ever-toughening global standards for fuel efficiency and emissions.
Highlights are an alloy block with thin-wall cast iron liners, split cooling system which keeps some standing coolant in the block for faster warm-up, electronically controlled oil pump, variable valve timing (diesel and petrol) and direct injection.
For now, the XE has only one ‘Ingenium’ engine – the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel which delivers 132kW at 4,000rpm and 430Nm between 1,750 – 2,000rpm. Combined-cycle fuel consumption rates 4.2l/100kms.
Jumping to the petrol engines, there are two versions of the turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit we know from the Jaguar XF and XJ sedans. Updated for the XE, you can have either 147kW at 5,500rpm and 280Nm between 1,750rpm – 4,000rpm or 177kW at 5,500rpm and 340Nm between 1,750rpm – 4,000rpm.
Headline act goes to the sporty ‘S’ model Jaguar XE which enjoys 250kW at 6,000rpm and 450Nm at 4,500rpm courtesy of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine sourced from the Jaguar F-Type sports car.
Drive is to the rear wheels via the familiar XF eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters for sequential manual gear changes.
Jaguar XE The Interior
We’re giving the Jaguar XE a very high score for the interior. We love the multi surfaces of the dashboard, the instruments are excellent and the driving position is fantastic.
In the middle of the broad curves of the dashboard sits the eight-inch touchscreen for the new ‘InControl’ infotainment system. Again this scores very highly in our eyes – practical and a colourful quadrant layout which is easy on the eyes.
Audio is an 11-speaker Meridian system.
Some models score a ‘first’ in the form of Jaguar’s laser head-up display. Displaying the usual information (speed, navigation, cruise control etc) Jaguar says the laser system pays dividends in bright sunlight with the images less likely to be washed-out.
Behind the rear-view mirror the Jaguar XE runs a stereo camera which provides a 3D view of the road ahead. Images are supplied to the lane departure warning system adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
We liked the different interior trim combinations in the cars we drove – two-tone red/black and white/black in a couple showed Jaguar’s ‘Tweed Coat’ reputation is dead and buried.
Jaguar XE Exterior & Styling
We’ve luckily ‘broken bread’ with Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director Of Design numerous times. In our experience his combination of automotive design knowledge and communication skills is equaled only by his passion for Jaguars.
He says the XE is instantly recognizable as a Jaguar because: “Great proportions and a dynamic, edgy feel are the core of Jaguar design.” We think the hallmark Jaguar grille and purposeful front-end are further clues this isn’t a new Lexus.
From any angle the all-new Jaguar XE looks brilliant, stamping its class with a strong on-road presence. That’s a claim not all players in this segment should make.
Check-out the sculptured bonnet, steeply-raked windscreen and rising waistline. These all lend muscle and, if you squint, there is a coupe-like look in profile.
And, yes the all-new Jaguar XE adopts the modern trend of narrow, sporty headlights which incorporate the hallmark ‘J-blade’ DRLs.
At the rear, Jaguar reckons fans will scream “E-Type” when they see the Jaguar XE’s horizontal line and ‘roundel’. We looked hard and didn’t get the link – but regardless the XE looks terrific from the rear.
Of course aero played a big part in the XE’s looks – would you believe 8.0-million hours of processor time and 1,200 computational fluid dynamics simulations went into the final package. And that package includes front bumper ducts to channel airflow over the front wheels and underfloor panels running all the way to the rear of the rear muffler.
Jaguar XE On The Road
More than 75 per-cent of the XE’s body is made from aluminium – Jaguar says this is part of the reason its new small sedan has excellent weight distribution which is critical for high-speed handling. Naturally high-strength aluminium alloys (such as AC300 and AC600) are used in crucial areas such as the A-pillars and front/rear crash structures, but some areas use RC5754 – a high-strength aluminium alloy made mostly from recycled material.
Underneath no everyday MacPherson strut front suspension here – the Jaguar XE runs a double wishbone set-up and ‘Integral Link’ rear. Jaguar claims this is the most sophisticated layout in the segment.
And the XE debuts Jaguar’s first electric power steering.
We were delighted Jaguar chose Port Douglas in Far North Queensland for the XE’s national media launch. We know the roads from the coast to the hinterland very well and they’re terrific – a shame more car companies don’t use them.
And those roads were perfect to highlight the Jaguar XE’s electric power steering system – we haven’t driven a better EPS in fact. Then there is the ride/handling – ‘supple’ and ‘crisp’ would be the best descriptions for those departments.
Over two days we drove a Portfolio grade 25t, S V6 and R-Sport 20D. All had 19-inch alloy wheels which did introduce a smidge of road noise on some of the coarse-chip road surfaces you sometimes get in FNQ.
Much focus will rightly be on the 20D – the first of Jaguar’s heralded ‘Ingenium’ engines. Combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.2l/100kms is surely impressive and over those roads between Port Douglas and Palm Cove we found the Jaguar XE 20D to be impressively refined and nicely mated to the eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 25t was, for us, the surprise packet. Of course this basic configuration has been around for a number of years but we reckon the version used for the Jaguar XE is the best – more than enough power and refinement as you’d expect from the British marque.
The supercharged V6 for the S model comes from S-Type but doesn’t have the variable exhaust flaps or massive tailpipes of the sports car and thus is a little muted. But of course with zero to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds this is a seriously fast car which maxes the desirability factor.
Jaguar XE Issues
Some European road tests claim the Jaguar XE doesn’t quite match either the 3-Series or C Class for rear seat space. We climbed in and – like the BMW and ‘Benz - it isn’t massive (for full-size adults) but as for direct comparisons with the Germans… the differences would be miniscule.
Jaguar XE Verdict
No, this isn’t the sort of ‘Jag’ the legendary Arthur Daley drove in the iconic TV series ‘the Minder’ - the XE is the latest in a thoroughly modern lineup which includes the XF (all-new model range due soon), XJ and F-Type. So, it’s as simple as this: if a 3-series, C Class or IS is on your mind, you’d be an imbecile if you don’t test-drive the all-new Jaguar XE.
Jaguar XE The Competition
For instance, Jaguar says the direct rival for the XE S V6 ($104,200) is the Audi S4 ($105,000). We can see that line although the S4 may be a little too sporty for a direct comparison and the Audi Quattro system does tilt the high-speed handling equation in favour of the German.
For the entry grade Jaguar XE 20t Prestige ($60,400) you can line-up the BMW 320i ($61,500) and Mercedes-Benz C200 ($60,900). A detailed check of exact specifications would be revealing…what’s standard and what’s optional influence the true value position.