Why would I buy it?
- Modern styling
- Plush cabin
- A great driver’s car
Why would I avoid it?
- Rear space
- Limited engine options
Engine and Performance
Giving life to this gorgeous sedan is an extremely refined and silent 247bhp/365Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that has an eight-speed automatic for transmission duties. Yet, despite the ample torque at hand, there’s a catch. You’ll spot a significant delay between throttle input and the engine response while getting off the mark. And this is even more pronounced in Eco mode. However, once the XE gets by the 1,500rpm mark, it pretty much ghosts this trait to go on and be an easy car to drive overall. To break it up, the power delivery is extremely linear, and for that matter, the gearbox does a splendid job of shifting smoothly - to the point where it’s unnoticeable. But if you ask us, this transmission could certainly have been more eager. This becomes obvious in both the outright acceleration run and roll-ons.
While the run to 0-100kmph took 8.72 seconds, the drivability tests of 20-80/40-100kmph in kick-down were covered in 5.37/6.17 seconds. Swift, yes. But knowing that it is nestling 247bhp/365Nm beneath, you kind of expect more, if you know what I mean. Then, in addition to Eco mode, there’s Dynamic and Comfort mode too. While the former lives up to its name by subduing the motor’s output and upshifting early in favour of frugality, the Dynamic mode clings on to lower gears for much longer to give you the sharpest responses available. And in Comfort mode, the motor’s responses can be best described as a well-judged combination of both Eco and Dynamic. This is where we found ourselves driving most of the time.
Ride Quality and Handling
Armed with a steering that’s got just two and a half turns from lock-to-lock, it feels direct, progressive, provides loads of feedback, and weighs up appropriately as speeds increase. And when combined with the firm suspension setup and flattering chassis balance, the XE barely cooks up any body-roll which makes it quite the entertainer on winding roads. Better still, despite the firmness, the ride quality hasn’t suffered at all. This Jaguar absorbs almost everything you throw at it, and to top it, it rides exceedingly flat at legal highway speeds.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
And the surprises keep flowing in with this beauty. Inside, you just can’t help but notice how modern this XE is over its predecessor. Even though I love how so many premium materials are fused so beautifully together, my favourite is, without a doubt, the new all-digital instrumentation that goes amazingly with that teaser steering wheel which simply begs one to drive fast. Otherwise, the insides are ergonomic. Right from the wide and intuitive 10-inch TouchPro infotainment system, down to the rest of the controls, which include a new gear stick instead of the earlier circular gear selector. Even visibility is spot on.
In terms of seating, the electrically adjustable front ones offer good overall support (includes lumbar) with lots of head- and shoulder-room, and adding to the feeling of space is the large sunroof. As for the rear bench, although the cushioning is comfortable, the knee-room is only borderline acceptable. However, it is strictly meant for two due to the tall transmission tunnel and inappropriate middle seat cushioning. Plus, the slanting roof can make headroom tight for tall occupants. All said and done, to keep up with the XE’s tight curvature, the 455-litre boot is the segment-smallest. Although deep, it could certainly do with more width so to say.
Nevertheless, the low loading lip adds to the convenience of loading heavy luggage. Feature-wise, the XE comes with wireless mobile charging, a 10-inch infotainment system with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity, and dual-zone climate control. It also comes with an electric rear windscreen sunblind, auto-dimming inner rear-view mirror, a multi-function leather steering wheel, leather upholstery, electric front seats with lumbar adjust and driver seat position memory, 17-inch alloys, LED headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers. Phew!
The Jaguar XE adds a whole new dimension to safety. It’s got a lane-keep assist, driver condition monitor, pedestrian contact sensing, all surface progress control, torque vectoring, dynamic stability control, traction control, and hill assist. Then, it’s got a slew of airbags, ABS, emergency brake assist, passive front head restraints (whiplash protection), park assist with a rearview camera, interior door handle with separate locking switch (driver and passenger), power-operated child locks, and ISOFIX rear seat mounts.
For me, it is certainly a delight to set eyes on this sexy Brit rather than the blemishes blooming out of the German’s stable that we’ve so severely gotten accustomed to. A breath of fresh air you could say. Everything, from the sharp head/tail lamps that whet one’s appetite, to the bulging hood with a gaping nose. And everything in between, the scintillating sloping silhouette and jazzy dark rims. I’d say this Jaguar rhymes best with the gorgeous Rachel Weisz; bold and beautiful!
At the end of the day, the Jaguar XE is an easy to drive luxury sedan with a plush cabin, a powertrain that gets the job more than done, offers brilliant dynamics, and has all the features one can logically dream of. If you’re the kind that loves driving, appreciates skin-deep aesthetics and quality, and don’t mind some limited rear space, then we feel that the Jaguar XE ought to conquer the top of your buying list.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi