It doesn’t have the bulk associated with a Jaguar vehicle, yet has a powerful stance and seductive looks. It’s not a performance car, yet drives and handles like one. It doesn’t have loads of cabin space, yet pampers you with enough luxury features and keeps you comfortable during long drives. The new Jaguar XE—which, according to the company, is the most advanced, efficient and refined sports saloon it has ever produced—essentially embodies the true sporting character of the acclaimed F-Type, but in a smaller package.
What is the XE?
The XE marks the company’s entry into a new industry segment—compact luxury cars. The design immediately catches the eye, and even though the XE is a compact luxury saloon, it stands out among the competition because of its arguably more upscale proportions—it looks a lot like the more expensive Jaguar XF.
Is the design inspired by the XF?
Yes and no. Even though the XE looks like the XF from certain angles, the design cues have also been borrowed from the F-Type—the ultimate premium sports car the company has produced. So, the bonnet of the XE is strongly-sculpted, and the steeply raked windscreen and the rising waistline give it a coupe-like profile. At the front, the signature J-Blade headlights are an instantly recognisable Jaguar design, while at the rear the horizontal lines are an iconic styling feature which appear to have been inherited from the E-Type, the beautiful sports coupe.
Which engines power it?
While the XE was initially launched only in petrol variants, the company has now introduced the diesel engine (in the Indian luxury car segment, diesel rules the roost). The XE is powered by the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine that produces a peak power output of 132kW (177bhp) and a torque of 430Nm. It is mated to the 8-speed electronic automatic transmission with sequential shift.
How does it drive?
A powerful engine, quick-shifting gearbox, a little over 1,600kg of weight, and the fact that the XE is a rear-wheel drive car—which is a traditional sports car feature—form the right recipe for an exciting drive. The XE is quick—it goes from 0-100kph in just 7.8 seconds, and the claimed top speed is 228kph. A rear-wheel drive mechanism proves better balance, and because of this, better handling, compared to front-wheel drive.
Is the cabin sporty?
The cabin, though not the most spacious or the most opulent in its segment, is sporty to the core. The centre console creates a cockpit-like feel. The 20.32-cm touchscreen for the new InControl Touch infotainment system takes centre-stage in the sweeping curves of the instrument panel. Its intuitive touch and swipe controls provide you with full command over a wealth of features, including audio, climate and satellite navigation. The chunky sports steering wheel provides very good grip, and is just amazing to look at and hold. The contour-hugging front seats are mounted low, creating a sports-car like driving position.
Is the cabin spacious?
Space is adequate at the front. At the rear, while the seats are firm, space comes at a premium, especially if the front passengers push their seats fully back. Also, because it’s a rear-wheel drive car, the transmission tunnel takes up some leg space between the two rear seats. The boot space is a decent 455 litres.
So, is the XE a driver’s car?
Yes, the focus is on driving dynamics. While there is enough technology inside the cabin, there is a lot more under the body. For example, the aluminium-intensive monocoque construction—the XE is the first of the new generation of Jaguar cars to be based on the all-new aluminium-intensive architecture, which uses expertise derived from the aerospace industry to deliver premium vehicle characteristics in the areas of performance, handling and refinement. Then there is a technology called Torque Vectoring by Braking—by correcting understeer, this technology ensures your vehicle follows your chosen path, despite unfavourable conditions. The XE also gets the All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) feature, which is essentially low speed cruise control, operating at speeds between 3.6kph to 30kph. It helps the car to cope with low traction situations. The system has a pull-away function, allowing the XE to move away from rest on slippery surfaces, as well as a hill descent function that controls speed on steep inclines.
How much is it priced?
The XE is available in three variants: Diesel Pure (Rs 36.61 lakh), Diesel Prestige (Rs 40.54 lakh) and Diesel Portfolio (Rs 44.72 lakh). These are ex-showroom prices for Model Year 2017.
Which cars does it compete with?
As far as features, price, size and brand value are concerned, the XE primarily competes with BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Volvo S60. Some of these cars have bigger rear seating space than the XE, some have a more luxurious cabin, some have more technology or more safety features, but the XE is a car that gives you pure, undiluted driving pleasure.