Get kicks in comfort
As a compact executive saloon this big cat is almost purr-fect, offering a tasty recipe whose ingredients include thrills and more than a splash of luxury. The Jaguar XE is also gorgeous to look at – mesmerising all who come into the orbit of this beautiful motor.
Launched in 2015 the XE filled the gap left by the X-Type which hit the buffers six years earlier.
Jaguar started from the ground up so the all-new model benefits from an aluminium chassis and the Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
The 2.0-litre turbo petrol power unit beneath the bonnet of my car was a joy, especially linked to a super slick eight-speed automatic gearbox with a rotary gear selector dial rising James Bond-like from the centre console when you fire up the beast.
Accelerating to 60mph from a standing start in 6.5 seconds is impressive, but even more noteworthy is the fact the rear-wheel-propelled motor does this while leaving the driver feeling in total control of proceedings.
And here we come to the real selling point for the XE – the great driving experience. It pulls off the neat trick of being exciting as well as comfortable thanks to the chassis and a brilliant suspension that copes easily with the many humps and hollows littering our highways while keeping the 18-inch alloy wheels glued to the road.
The steering offers lightning quick reactions and there’s a confidenceinspiring amount of grip that allows corners to be attacked with gusto as the car exhibits the balance of a ballerina.
JaguarDrive Control allows you to select Normal, Eco, Dynamic or Rain Ice Snow modes, each changing the steering and throttle responses and the automatic transmission’s shift pattern. Put it in Dynamic mode and it also turns the colour of the dials to a natty red.
So if you want something that combines the qualities of a sports car with a comfort of a refined cruiser the XE’s your man.
Other engines available include a less powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine as well as a pair of 2.0-litre diesels with either 200PS or 240PS and a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 for the top of the range model.
The XE is rammed with the latest hi-tech gadgets and devices designed to make a modern executive feel pampered and connected to the business world.
It is offered only as a four-door saloon with the entry-level SE model kicking things off before the range moves up through Prestige, R-Sport and Portfolio trims, ending with the flagship XE S model.
All are well equipped with climate control, parking sensors and a touchscreen infotainment system included.
By the time you reach the R-Sport model I drove things have got truly palatial with metal R-Sport sill finishers, heated seats, leather upholstery and brushed aluminium in the cabin.
There are plenty of gizmos to delight including cruise control with automatic speed limiter, hill start assist, sat nav, as well as rain sensing wipers and automatic headlights.
My only slight quibble with the XE comes with the amount of space available in both cabin and boot.
The car won me over after a less than auspicious start as having clambered in I found the top of my head brushing the ceiling. Lowering the seat just about gained me enough room – but I’m no giant and in truth space both front and back is not as plentiful as you might expect for a motor costing in excess of £30,000. Boot space is okay rather than exceptional and the opening is narrow.
These are some of the costs of a coupe-like design, but in fairness they are not prohibitive and considering the drop-dead gorgeous exterior, I’m more than willing to pay.
TEST DRIVE JAGUAR XE R-SPORT