TEST DRIVE | Long Awaited Jaguar XE
I am never ashamed to say that I’m a Jag kind of guy, I own an old 4-litre XJ which I absolutely adore but I’ve never been a huge fan of Jaguar’s other saloons. The S-Type never did it for me, and the less said about the X-Type the better. They never had that ‘Jag’ feeling. A Jaguar should make you feel a little bit special, you should feel proud inside, sort of pleased that you had the imagination to not buy something from Germany.
The latest incarnation of the XJ is an amazing machine and it’s got such presence, but the XF I never really gelled with, I love that it re-launched Jaguar in a modern way but it never excited me, and my concern with the much hyped Jaguar XE is that it might just be a modern X-Type.
Jaguar’s reputation was made on making luxury or sports cars that were better than it’s rivals at a lower price. That’s why the classic E-Type was a massive hit, it wasn’t just faster than the equivalent Ferrari but also a lot cheaper.
So how does the XE stack up in terms of value? Well last year when the Jaguar XE configurator went live on Jag’s website I specced an XE to how I’d like it and it came out at a little over £50,000 ($76,000) then I popped over to BMW and specced a 3-Series to roughly the same spec, it was only £39,000 ($59,000). (Read the original article here) So it’s clear that they are aiming for a premium market here, looking at the new models, especially the F-Type it proves that Jaguar are no longer excellent value for money, they are expensive.
So it’s much more expensive than it’s main rival the BMW 3-Series. They both like to think of themselves as sporting saloons, so how does the new Jag drive when compared to the BMW? Well we all know how well the 3-Series drives, it’s BMW’s masterpiece, but let’s face it, Jaguar know a thing or two about to make a car comfortable and sporting.
For the test I was provided a 2.0-litre diesel sport model of the Jag, I would suspect that this engine will be the biggest seller. Packing 161bhp and rather nice 280ft lb of torque all going to the rear wheels via a 6speed manual gearbox it does feel well thought out.
Jaguar market the XE as a sports saloon and you know what, it does feel sporting. You certainly do not feel scared when enjoying a nice twisty road. The torque of the engine pulls you along very well but it is also very refined and on a motorway cruise is nice and quiet.
The quality of the materials used inside the cabin is wonderful although I still do not like the touchscreen control system that Jaguars and Range Rovers use. For a premium car brand it feels very cheap, slow and just not good enough. But everything else in the cabin feels quality and bang up to date. BMW interiors bore me if I’m honest and the XE does feel more special, and that’s good, that is what it should do.
So would I buy the Jag XE over the equivalent BMW 3-Series, Merc C-Class or Audi A4? Well yes probably if I had too buy one of them, but it is too expensive compared to the rivals. It should be cheaper. What I would actually do in real life is buy a good used couple of years old XJ. Then I would know that I have something very special and very Jaguar.