The Jaguar XE is the British marque’s first full-bodied attempt at taking on the big German three in the compact luxury sedan game; a game that’s currently being dominated by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. Designed by Ian Callum and underpinned by an all-new aluminium intensive modular platform, the XE is positioned as the most driver focused car in this class by Jaguar. And so the car on test here is a 200bhp plus, petrol version of the sedan. How does it do? We find out.
The front of the Jaguar XE is dominated by the horse shoe grille and red logo while the power bulges on the bonnet add muscle to the appearance. The L-shaped LED DRLs add sharpness when viewed from the front. The side profile reveals a forward leaning stance, which is visible in the long bonnet and stubby boot. Jaguar has enhanced the premium factor of the XE by adding chrome on the side vents and to the outlines of the entire window section. The tail lamps meanwhile have a hint of the F-type with semi-circle illumination. While the XE does look a lot like its elder siblings, there’s no denying it is a beautiful car. And we feel this unique and likable appearance should hold it in good stead against its more established competition.
If the Italians are known for flamboyant styling and the Germans for purity of form, then the British should be recognised for class and elegance they bring to design. The cabin of the XE is an example of it. The colour scheme is two-tone with the dashboard being in black while the leather had been trimmed out in brown. The dashboard gets a cowl than runs from window to window while there is liberal use of chrome all across the centre console. And it’s all tastefully done with hardly any hint of bling. The signature Jaguar pop-up gear knob adds a good dose of theatrics. One of the important things that Jaguar has finally done is to upgrade the touchscreen infotainment system. It has more features, better graphics and it is easier to use.
The electrically adjustable front seats are comfortable with good side bolstering. However, the cabin is a bit narrow and so you are a bit short on shoulder room. The NVH insulation is pretty decent and it insulates the cabin from most outside sounds. Not all is perfect though. The rear seats while plush are strictly for two people thanks to the aircon vents and transmission tunnel intruding into the space of the middle passenger. The headroom at the rear is compromised as well thanks to the sloping roofline.
This Jaguar XE currently only comes with one engine option in India. A 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that produces 237bhp and 340Nm of torque powers the XE. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a ZF eight-speed gearbox. The torque delivery is linear and relentless especially when you go mash the throttle to the floor. The ‘box, which otherwise chooses to be in the highest possible gear when driven with a light throttle, does go down the gears pretty quickly to deliver instant acceleration in kickdown for quick overtakes. However, it’s still best to use the paddle shifters especially if you are driving spiritedly. In Sport mode, the throttle response improves and the ‘box holds on to gears for a bit longer; it’s a good choice for tackling winding roads.
In addition there are four driving modes Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Winter. Each mode has a different map that changes the response of the steering and the throttle. Jaguar has also fitted the XE with a start-stop option to aid in improving fuel efficiency.
The setup of the chassis on the XE is impressive as Jaguar has found a decent balance between ride and handling. It absorbs most potholes, bumps and imperfections and transmits little into the cabin with muted thuds. The decent balance in ride and handling also means that the XE goes flat through the corners at road legal speeds. And it turns into corners with an urgency that would do a golf kart proud. Also, this is the first Jaguar to be offered with electric power steering and once again Jaguar has managed to crack it well. It weighs up decently as you go faster and provides good feedback every inch of the way.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||237 @ 5500|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||340 @ 2000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||65|
|Tyre size||225 / 45 R17|
|Eight-speed automatic gearbox||Yes|
|Touchscreen music system||Yes|
|adjustable speed limiter||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||C-Class C200 Avantgarde||35 TFSI Premium Sunroof||25t Portfolio|
|Engine Capacity||2.0-litre four-cylinder||1.8-litre four-cylinder||2.0-litre|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||181 @ 5500||170 @ 3800||237 @ 5500|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||300 @ 1200||320 @ 1400||340 @ 2000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66||63||65|
|Tyre size||225 / 50 R17||225/55 R16||225 / 45 R17|
Has Jaguar managed to finally find a volume spinner, in the XE? We would certainly like to believe so from the driving perspective. It has the ability to put a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel. There is also decent bit of kit on offer though it could have done with better rear seat comfort.
However, from a price perspective, the version we tested (25t Portfolio) costs Rs 46.50 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi) making it significantly more expensive than its rivals. If driving pleasure is not a priority then the more affordable 20tPure trim variant at Rs 39.90 lakh is also available but it loses out on quite a bit of the kit and is down on power too. There will also be diesel variants for the XE in the future, which are expected to make up the bulk of the numbers. But given the dynamic ability of the XE, these diesels should be fun to drive as well.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane