The S-Type was a sheep in wolf’s clothing, and the X-Type introduced under Ford’s stewardship didn’t deserve the Jaguar marque.
But the new Jaguar XE is the real thing. It looks delicious, with sleek lines and classy design cues worthy of the Jaguar badge. And it goes exactly as you would expect from a car with the big cat on the grille.
My test vehicle in R-Sport spec was powered by Jaguar’s excellent 2.0 diesel litre unit which delivers smooth, fast acceleration and great high-speed cruising, but without being at all thirsty.
The 163 bhp four cylinder unit is a pleasure. It’s quiet, refined and responsive. Combining power and torque it can give you all the power you need without emptying the tank.
Married to a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox this unit will propel you from 0 to 60 in 7.7 seconds, while giving you an impressive 68.9 miles to the gallon in mixed driving.
Jaguar’s designers have done a great job with a shark-like profile which underlines its excellent performance and picks up lots of design cues from bigger Jags. The mesh grille, lights and front end benefit from striking styling, while the back end is neat and muscular, with a nice-sized boot. Elegant 17” 10-spoke alloy wheels complete the look. All very nicely done. Just enough to let other drivers know this is the real thing.
Ride and handling is as smooth as you’d expect from a Jaguar, and the XE benefits from excellent front suspension which absorbs bumps well and improves overall handling and dynamics.
The interior of the XE is the ultimate in subtle style. Classy without being showy. It doesn’t have the powered air vents or starter/gear selector of the XF, but it’s still very stylish.
You get a smart facia with chrome trim, large and comfortable leather seats, and a high centre console with lots of storage space. Instruments are classically styled and easy to read. A satellite navigation unit with an eight inch screen is standard.
Specification levels are high and include cruise control, dual zone climate control, rear parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, intelligent stop/start, automatic headlights, DAB radio, keyless entry and ignition, tyre pressure monitoring and heated, electric folding mirrors.
My test car also came with metallic paint (£620), sliding panoramic roof (£1000), 10-way electric front seats (£765), head-up display (£1,000) , heated steering wheel (£185) and an upgraded sound system (£500).
The XE isn’t cheap – you wouldn’t expect it to be – but for a Jaguar it’s good value. You get all the virtues and style of a Jaguar in a neatly put-together package. The 2.0 litre diesel in R-Sport spec comes at £34,075 on the road.
This really is a superb car – a great leap forward for Jaguar. With a high quality British-made car like this available who would even want to consider something German?