BENTLEY MULSANNE & 19353½ - LITRE
“As you might expect, the range-topping Mulsanne
accommodates every imaginable luxury”
weight, while the dimensions sit bang in between the 3 Series and A4.
The XE is the first Jaguar with electric power steering. “Our target is class-leading steering,” says Kevin Strand, Vehicle Line Director for the XE. “We have been tuning this steering for probably two years, getting the algorithms and mechanical bits right. We wanted to make it feel great and I think we are very pleased with how that has come out.”
The XE also uses learnings from Land Rover's Terrain Response to create ASPC (All Surface Progress Control) that delivers grip in low grip situations, giving the rear-wheel-drive car almost AWD-like traction.
While still a touchscreen, the infotainment system is completely revamped with an 8-inch screen complemented by hard switches, faster response times and an improved interface. Incontrol apps allows pairing and access to smartphone apps via the screen, mainly related to music and calls. The remote functionality also allows smartphones to connect to the car and control a range of vehicle functions including activating the climate control system, locking or unlocking the doors, or starting the engine.
All the technology in the world wouldn't make a difference if the XE didn't turn heads. The XE does. It is a gentle iteration of Jaguar's design language as seen on the XF and does not set out to shock. However, in design director Ian Callum, Jaguar does have one of the greatest designers of this generation, and the XE is a properly beautiful car. The proportions are perfectly executed – short front overhang, longer rear overhang and a cab-rearward stance. The XE gets a low, sporty driving position and a sleek, coupe-like profile, reminiscent of the XF. More XF cues can be found in the narrow, sleek headlamps, power bulge in the bonnet and the rising waistline. There is also a strong family resemblance to the F-type in the rear, though this is the most conservative angle of the car.
“The 3 Series, C-Class and A4 are brilliant cars,” says Kevin Strand. “It's the hardest segment in the world. The 3 Series set the standard for a driver's car originally. The C-Class has done a great job and it has got some great design, a great cabin. Also the A4, it has got some great design elements as well.”
“We are not scared to say that all these are great cars. But this had to be a Jaguar. Half way through the development we realised you can't just take a bit of this and bit of that, you just can't. And that's what I think makes Jaguar great in that we still understood that.”
Jaguar has nailed the styling, there's no doubt about that. But to succeed in this segment, the XE will have to have great ride, great handling and great performance, not to mention great pricing. It will be a couple of months before we know if it ticks all those boxes.
Above: The dual-tone red and black interiors accentuate the XE's sporty image