LAST WORD

Torque (Singapore) - - AUDI A4 2.0 VS MERCEDES-BENZ C200 2.0 VS JAGUAR XE -

Cor­po­rate climbers may not fall in love with the Jaguar XE at first sight, but for en­thu­si­asts, even a short drive in this fe­line will prove con­vinc­ing. The XE’s re­spon­sive en­gine and 8-speed gear­box are a fine pair­ing. Com­bine that with the sa­loon’s pre­cise steer­ing and equally fine han­dling, and you have a car that could run rings around the A4 (no pun in­tended) and C200.

But while the XE’s han­dling is be­yond re­proach, its mis­steps aren’t. The XE’s more com­pact cabin vis-àvis its two ri­vals here could have been over­looked, if not for the fact that the ma­te­ri­als used for the lower dash­board and B-pil­lars don’t re­flect the model’s up­mar­ket po­si­tion. That said, the XE’s un­der-$200k price tag should at­tract its fair share of buy­ers.

The Audi A4 ticked nearly all the right boxes in this story. Its in­te­rior is not only solidly built, but also well-equipped, with a stun­ning vir­tual cock­pit and MMI in­ter­face. The over­all spa­cious­ness of the backseat makes up for the short back­rests.

That said, while the all-wheel-drive sys­tem and mus­cu­lar pow­er­train are big pluses, the car doesn’t feel as ag­ile or as re­spon­sive as the XE. But the A4’s big­gest bug­bear has to be its steep price. At $236,200, it costs $26.3k and a mas­sive $51.2k more than the C200 and XE re­spec­tively. Even more ap­peal­ing than the XE and A4 is the Mercedes-Benz C200. While not as pow­er­ful as the other two con­tenders, the C200 has the edge in re­fine­ment, with the qui­etest en­gine and silki­est ride. And while its cabin isn’t as well-made as the A4’s, it nonethe­less feels el­e­gant and lux­u­ri­ous.

Ris­ing stars of the cor­po­rate world who want a ve­hi­cle that sym­bol­ises their suc­cess are likely to be drawn to this starry sa­loon.

(Left to right) XE’s key has the most func­tions, C200’s fob is un­changed from the pre­ced­ing model and looks dated, while the but­tons on the A4’s de­vice are the nicest to press. BUY­ING IT

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