Best just got better
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