Best just got bet­ter

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetimeextra -

front and rear bumpers as well as larger al­loy wheels. As a re­sult they are the most hand­some cars in the lineup with the more ag­gres­sive styling in­creas­ing the car’s coupe like pro­por­tions.

Jaguar has in­vested se­ri­ous money in the new car and so the stakes are very high as the £2 bil­lion cash in­jec­tion also paves the way for the new XF and the F-PACE sports cross­over.

Ev­ery­thing about the XE, which mark’s Jaguar’s re­turn to the main­stream mid-size saloon scene is new – from the ve­hi­cle’s ar­chi­tec­ture to the man­u­fac­tur­ing and en­gine plants. The com­pany be­lieves that the new­comer will be the best driver’s car in its class.

It is also the light­est, stiffest and most aero­dy­namic Jaguar saloon ever built and the first from the brand to be equipped with elec­tric power steer­ing. It also boasts the low­est cost of own­er­ship of any Jaguar.

Be­neath the bon­net is a range of four and six cylin­der petrol and diesel pow­er­plants from the brand’s new In­ge­nium en­gine fam­ily, and six-speed man­ual and eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

In­ge­nium forms the corner­stone of Jaguar’s fu­ture low CO2 strat­egy and the lower pow­ered of the two 2.0-litre diesels com­bines econ­omy of a claimed 75 miles per gallon with emis­sions that dip be­low the ton at 99g/km.

With a price tag of £26,990, the 200PS 2.0i XE SE au­to­matic model kicks off a line-up that of­fers lux­u­ri­ous or more sporty trim across five dif­fer­ent grades – SE, Pres­tige, Port­fo­lio, R-Sport and S.

Diesels start at £29,775 for the 163PS 2.0D SE man­ual vari­ant and the range tops out with the su­per­charged 340PS 3.0-litre S au­to­matic – the same en­gine used by the Jaguar F-TYPE – at £44,865.

I drove a cou­ple of ver­sions on a va­ri­ety of roads around Loch Lomond and they proved to be an ideal test of the car’s bal­ance and agility.

A key el­e­ment of the XE is the fact that it is built pre­dom­i­nantly of alu­minium, some­thing pi­o­neered by Jaguar over a pe­riod of years and nec­es­sary to achieve the best in ride qual­ity, han­dling, econ­omy and safety.

The low emis­sions and fuel fig­ures of the var­i­ous diesels make a strong case for com­pany car buy­ers and the 180PS vari­ant with a re­turn of 67.3mpg proved a rev­e­la­tion.

With a 0-60 time of 7.4 sec­onds, top speed of 142mph and 109g/km emis­sions it is a beau­ti­fully bal­anced saloon with a great en­gine, fan­tas­tic road-hold­ing and su­perb feed­back from the leather-clad steer­ing wheel. The eight-speed auto trans­mis­sion is so slick that you will not want to go for the man­ual, even though the six-speed of­fer­ing is great.

The flag­ship 3.0-litre V6 model comes only in S trim with a sportier cabin and is ca­pa­ble of reach­ing 60mph in just 4.9 sec­onds and can go on to 155mph. Sur­pris­ingly even this model is good for an av­er­age 35mpg.

It comes only with the auto box and pad­dle shift con­trols and fea­tures large front air in­takes, chrome side vents, a dis­creet rear spoiler, red brake calipers and op­tional 20- inch forged al­loy wheels.

Kit avail­able across the XE range in­cludes a laser op­er­ated head up dis­play, au­to­matic cruise con­trol and a stereo cam­era sys­tem which will not only recog­nise road signs but also de­liver added safety by giv­ing lane de­par­ture alerts as well as pro­vid­ing emer­gency brak­ing.

All mod­els are well equipped and with prices start­ing around the £27,000 mark are very com­pet­i­tive but most own­ers are ex­pected to spend around £35,000 on get­ting the ve­hi­cle they re­ally want.

The XE ex­udes a real feel­ing of pre­mium qual­ity and I could not find any fault with the su­perb in­te­rior or its build qual­ity.

Make no mis­take, the new XE is a very de­sir­able prod­uct – just as good to drive as any of the Ger­man op­po­si­tion and much bet­ter look­ing.

Stun­ner the new XE is even bet­ter look­ing in the flesh

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