THE NEW JAGUAR XE

The Jaguar XE comes in four variants – Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S.

THE NEW JAGUAR XE

Our top of line VE S test car came with 19-inch “Venom” five-twin-spoke allow wheels with red calipers. It packs a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine that makes 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

The XE represents a renewed push into the compact sports sedan arena following some misadventures with the X-Type, which was, with Jaguar under Ford ownership, widely viewed as a re-skinned Ford Mondeo with much of its mechanical trappings, and unfortunately flopped.

With Tata Motors taking control, Jaguar revisited the segment with the all-new XE in 2015, long after X-Type production ceased in 2009. For a car aspiring to be a BMW 3 Series beater, the XE looks the part of a modern premium compact sports sedan. More importantly Jaguar’s smallest sedan model is now rear-wheel drive has a new suspension setup, a stiffened and lightened chassis and near 50:50 weight distribution, all essential ingredients in a car seeking to bring the fight to the German models. Some of its components are inherited from the successful new F type sports car.

The transmission is a low weight, driving-style-adaptive version of the respected 8 speed ZF Auto, working well with the Jaguar Drive Control System.

The XE carries premium levels of specification, with a wide array of luxury, safety and driver assist features included as standard across the four variants; keyless entry/start, sophisticated electrically assisted power steering, 8-inch colour touchscreen, with voice control, 11 speaker Meridian Audio with subwoofer, blind spot monitor with reverse traffic detection and closing vehicle sensing, front and rear parking sensors with rear camera, dual-zone air-conditioning with rear vents, auto high beam, dynamic stability and traction control, interior mood lighting, 3 rear headrests, front/rear 12 V power sockets, powered front seats and powered boot lid and six airbags.

The XE is undeniably a lovely car with proportions done right. Viewed full frontal, the natty bi-xenon headlights, underscored by LED daytime running lights meet the big grille to evoke strength at the first glance, accentuated by large air intakes and a swollen bonnet that alludes to great grunt down under.

Jaguar achieved the coupe look at the expense of rearward visibility, which is not great. Neither is rear headroom if you are a tall person. All seats are comfortable, but more so in the front, which get powered and well-bolstered seats.

Jaguar tells how the predominant use of aluminium, along with magnesium in the XE has improved handling and transformed its performance. The monocoque, made of recycled aluminium, is lighter but stiffer, and reinforced by ultra-strong steel, also very collision safe.

With wind resistance Cd of 0.26, Jaguar says the XE is the most aerodynamic car it has ever built, helping save fuel and cutting emissions.

The XE excels as a highway cruiser that delivers a calm and comfortable ride. The suspension setup which Jaguar's designers decided was the best they should use– double wishbones in front and integrated-link axle at the rear, does a fine job of damping noise and harshness from tough tarmac, and also results in high steering feedback and handling accuracy. Then handling is also greatly assisted by Torque Vectoring, which subtly brakes individual wheels to improve steering.

The XE's power is ample but the engine note on city driving and start-stop traffic sounds muted. Take the car onto a highway and fast flowing traffic and it makes a delightful growl, showing off agility and aggressive ability that run counter to first impressions. Swings the XE hard into corners and the rear-wheel drive car can exhibit typical oversteer.

Additional to the usual safety kit in this segment, Jaguar adds a new layer called All Surface Progress Control. The XE is the first Jag with a low speed cruise control system which can manage handling of some very demanding low traction situations, a very handy feature distilled from decades of Jaguar Lander Rover experience with off-road traction systems.

The XE delivers a spirited drive when called on, rewarding those willing to try a previously somewhat neglected, but now opening more eyes, contender.

  • The XE offers choice of four advanced engines, from the all-new highly efficient Ingenium diesel, to the F-TYPE derived 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine:
    2.0-litre i4 turbo diesel ‘20d’ with 132kW/430Nm and 4.2 L/100km, CO2-111g/km
    2.0-litre i4 turbo petrol ‘20t’ delivering 147W/280Nm
    2.0-litre i4 turbo petrol ‘25t’ delivering 177kW/340Nm
    3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol 250kW/450Nm
  • Dimensions mm: L 4672 W 2075 H 1416 WB 2835,
  • Turning Circle 11.66m
  • Kerb weight kg: from 1530
  • Tank: about 60L, Boot: 450L
  • Safety: 6 airbags
Drive away Price: from about $70k for base Prestige model, to $115k for the XE S
  • Warranty: 3 years/unlimited Km
  • Capped Servicing: $1,100 to $1,350 over 3 years