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Jaguar XE review: Jag reboot is a Brit special


Jaguar XE

The XE’s design makes a saloon look incredibly sporty (Image: Jaguar XE)

And now Jaguar has refined that sports saloon idea with this latest facelifted XE.

Aimed at those attracted by style and performance, the revised XE is positioned to take advantage of the company car market and those drivers taking the cash option from their employer and making their own choice.

These buyers will, therefore, typically be professionals who cover higher annual mileages.

To help buyers, Jaguar has simplified the XE range and is now offering the car with a choice of just three 2.0-litre turbo-charged engines; a pair of petrols with 250bhp or 300bhp or a 180bhp diesel.

Jaguar doesn’t offer sales forecasts for its cars but in 2017 the pre-facelift XE sold 13,300 units with a quarter being bought as proper company cars with the rest being retail purchases.

However Jaguar admits that within the regular showroom sales there are thought to be a high number of drivers using the cash from a business, be that as small business owners or cash allowances instead of taking a car from a lease company.

Jaguar’s designers have maximised the fact they’re only working with a saloon.

Design boss Ian Callum is unapologetic about the fact that the swooping rear roofline impacts on rear-seat headroom because the result is a great looking sporty saloon.

Jaguar XE

The Jaguar XE is packed with the latest technology. (Image: Jaguar XE)

As the upgrade is simply a facelift, the silhouette of the XE remains unchanged.

What is different on the outside is a new front bumper and the front and rear sets of lights.

Jaguar has adopted new LED technology that means the front lights can be made narrower while the grille is made larger to improve the strong look of the XE.

At the rear the XE now has new, brighter lights in a chicane design.

Under the bonnet, the new three-engine line-up sees Jaguar offer, in the majority of cases, slightly higher power than its premium rivals from companies such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

For outright performance the 300bhp petrol is the engine of choice with an impressive 0 to 60mph time of 5.4 seconds and a 155mph top speed.

Diesel may no longer be the popular choice among many drivers but in the XE’s case Jaguar could be on to a winner.

In the XE the diesel is the only car in the class that conforms to upcoming new emissions regulations.

Meeting this standard early means business drivers won’t be hit by the four per cent diesel surcharge on company car tax.

The new three-engine line-up sees Jaguar offer, in the majority of cases, slightly higher power than its premium rivals from companies such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes

A diesel may be the pick for company car drivers but it’s also the slowest of the three engines both in terms of acceleration and top speed (0 to 60mph in 7.6 seconds, 140mph).

None of the engines are particularly impressive when it comes to fuel economy though.

The diesel wins some points here with a 50.7mpg average figure. The petrols hover in the low to mid-30s.

All three engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all three can be picked with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

However picking the diesel with the latter means it no longer meets those aforementioned new emissions standards.

And the way the XE drives has been changed little with the mid-life facelift.

It means the XE is one of the most comfortable cars in its class while also offering suspension that, in combination with well weighted steering, is still fun in sweeping corners.

Tighter and twistier roads can catch it out because the brakes can be difficult to modulate due to long pedal travel and an eight-speed gearbox that can leave the engine in a part of the rev range that lacks shove.

Refinement levels have been improved with a new sound-suppressing windscreen and this pushes the XE to among the best in class in this respect.

It’s also in the cabin where things have taken the biggest leap forward.

Now all materials that look soft-touch are exactly that.

Alongside the improved materials there’s now more technology in the car both as standard and on offer as an option.

Standard kit across the range includes powered front seats, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a new infotainment and satnav screen and a new part-digital central screen with analogue dials.

Jaguar XE

The way the XE drives has been changed little with the mid-life facelift. (Image: Jaguar XE)

Jaguar is also pushing its Touch Pro Duo which adds a second (hence “Duo”), lower, control screen below the navigation and it is also promoting the clever digital rear-view mirror as seen on the new Range Rover Evoque.

The result is a package that’s appealing for both company car users and private buyers.

But the upgrades keep the Jaguar feeling special and different from its German premium rivals and gives people a reason to choose Jaguar.



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