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