Well it’s about time! I’ve been waiting for the baby Jaguar to be delivered and it has arrived as beautiful and lovable as hoped. When it comes to sports sedans first impressions are everything and the XE is a pretty stunning car! The styling does not stray far from the larger XJ and XF models but in this smaller package it seems to take on a whole new attitude closer to its sports car sibling the F-Type. My R-Sport tester underlines the statement with a body kit that includes a trunk lid spoiler, side sills and sport bumper. The R-Sport version also adds adaptive HID headlights with auto high beam and LED daytime running lights, satellite radio, blind spot monitors, parking sensors and autonomous brakes. The test car seen in the Shift photo gallery also has the optional ($1500.00) 20 inch alloy Propeller Spoke Wheel and a Black Pack ($350.00) that replaces the standard exterior chrome.
Inside the XE strikes a nice balance between sporty exhilaration and sedan comfort. The leather stitching and seat inserts colour coordinate with the exterior, in this case Caesium Blue. Plastic is kept to a minimum with soft leather inserts and padding in all the right places although this is the top of the line interior in the R-Sport and I would describe it as ‘meh’ or just ok. As you press the start button the flush mount rotating gear selector rises up as the car comes to life. I know it’s been a Jaguar feature for years but I never grow tired of it. The dial gets more beautiful all the time and adds a touch of bling to the piano black console.
The heated R-Sport branded leather wrapped steering wheel is hard to take your hands off of. Despite its size the XE does hold 5 passengers comfortably with 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space. The split fold rear seat can fold fully or divided 40:20:40.
The Year of the Cat?
The XE is somewhat of an apology for the X-Type sedan which went away in 2009 after India based Tata Motors ‘rescued’ Jaguar from the Ford ownership years. That car was pretty much a Ford Fusion with a Jaguar on the hood. The company has injected new money and creativity into the still British built 94 year old brand. The XE and the aforementioned F-Type are excellent examples of this new era. The XE gives Jaguar an overdue place in a heavily populated sport sedan market as it competes with the BMW 3 series, the Audi A4, Mercedes C-class, Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50 to name a few. The XE allows new buyers an opportunity to get a Jaguar nameplate in the garage for under 50k ($45,000 cdn msrp) with a base 2.0 litre 180 hp diesel. While the performance at 0 to 100 kph in just under 8 seconds may not be described as spirited, the mileage will appeal to your wallet with a combined city/highway rating of 6.9 L/100 km. An extra $3500.00 will up the oomph under the hood considerably with the 340 hp 3.0 L supercharged V6 with an 8 speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters. In Dynamic Sport Mode you’ve reached 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds but the combined L/100 km rating is in double digits at 10.9
All aluminum all the time
The incredibly precise and responsive handling of the XE is high on the list of reasons for exec’s at BMW and Audi to be checking their collective mirrors. The XE is the first in this class to use a new aluminum-intensive design to reduce weight yet improve body strength and keep a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution.. Add to this torque vectoring inputs for twists and turns that apply the brakes to the inside wheel and power to the wheel with the most grip. The advanced double wishbone front suspension is like that found in the F-Type and F-Pace SUV and a multi link system in the rear called Integral Link is not found elsewhere in this segment. It‘s suspension bushes are 30 per cent s softer and the system adds to the XE’s turning capability. There’s an exhilarating road hugging feel and agility to this all wheel drive car.
There are a number of driver inputs to fine tune your driving experience. Jaguar Drive Control has Standard, Eco, Dynamic or Rain/Ice/Snow modes which make adjustments to steering and throttle mapping depending on the conditions. You can further tweak the dynamics through an on screen menu.
Things That Make You Go Grrrr
That takes us to the Jaguar XE touch screen interface. Simply put. It’s one of the worst I’ve seen or touched. I’m not sure where to start. While the graphics look great, even with improvements from previous versions it is clumsy and slow. Particularly annoying is the fact that basic climate and functions like heated seats are in a menu that requires an agonizing a number of (harder than you should have to) finger presses . I know it’s a 2017 model and the future is here but just put in a damn button! Things like that should be instantaneous and not so much #$!!!@$#!&!! work! Jaguar should check out a 30 thousand dollar Kia Optima when no is looking to see how it’s done.
This XE tester has the $2500.00 tech package that includes navigation and upgraded Meridian sound system. One nice tech offering is the optional $1000.00 laser heads up display that projects speed, navigation and other info into your line of sight on the windshield. It may seem like a novelty but it does keep your eyes on the road and yes, looks cool!. I did notice a clunkier HUD unit in the dash that seemed to reflect on the windshield prominently in daylight compared to more discreet versions from other manufacturers.
The R-Sport version offers lots of safety tech in addition to the enhanced exterior/interior such as Lane Keep Assist & Driver Condition Monitoring, blind spot monitoring, front and rear braking aids and the aforementioned autonomous emergency braking.
So do I buy it or not?
The list of disappointments is a short one and there is a lot to love with the XE. It certainly has the DNA and attributes to rival the ubiquitous BMW 3-series but it’s a long road to establish the brand in this highly completive segment. You will be rewarded with some heads turning towards this fresh new competitor with a great nameplate. Well worth checking out. If you’re dreaming about a new sports sedan.
2017 Jaguar XE AWD R-Sport 3.0 L V6 AWD 8 Speed Automatic Transmission
As tested $68,100.00
Mileage – City 11.8 L/100km Hwy 8.2L/100 km