First Drive : Jaguar XE 2.0d SE

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Better late than never, AROnline bags a brief and very useful drive of the entry-level Jaguar XE, and comes away pleasantly impressed.

Jaguar XE R Sport

You’ve probably read all there is to know about the Jaguar XE, the new ‘volume’ car from JLR, which its makers hope will sweep all before it in the hard-fought junior executive sector dominated by the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. You’ll already know it’s a hugely significant step forward for its maker, being underpinned by an all-new aluminium understructure, powered by the brand-new Ingenium engine range and built at two new (to Jaguar) factories. Furthermore, the majority of XE sales will be conquests…

In terms of its importance to its maker, therefore, it’s right up there with the 1980 launch of the Austin Metro for BL, or the Cavalier MkII for Vauxhall. There’s a lot riding on the new XE and it really does need to be the car that no one needs apologise for (perhaps, unlike the unsuccessful – but weirdly loved round these parts – X-Type). The early signs from the gushing reviews across the motoring press are very favourable, even allowing for a little of the JLR hype that so many people seem to have been affected by in recent years – that is very, very good news for the UK car industry as a whole.

There are two diesels available, the entry-level 163bhp version, which emits 99g/km, and a 178bhp variant that press-on merchants are going to love. For our brief drive, we take the lower-powered version, which it can be assumed will take the lion’s share of sales in the UK. On paper, it’s an impressive package, combining zero rate VED and a sub-8.0 second time for that all important 0-60mph dash, and an opening price of less than £30,000. That’ll impress the guys at the golf club.

We won’t comment about the styling, other than to say it’s a neat and safe design, conventionally handsome – and unlikely to offend. It fits in well alongside the BMW 3-Series and new Audi A4, but somehow looks dated (or, at least, it doesn’t look like a brand-new car) alongside the honed new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Inside, it’s clean-looking, if not up with the C-Class in terms of perceived quality, and fails to put a foot wrong without actually dazzling the driver – it’s well finished and the large touch screen is responsive, but the overall, and quite welcome, ambiance is one of simple cleanliness.

Jag_XE_R_Sport_Interior_Image_011014_16_LowRes

Jag_XE_R_Sport_Interior_Image_011014_18_LowRes

As you’d expect for a Jaguar, the driver is snugly installed, and the seating position is excellent, but the bulky A-pillar irritates. Rear room looks adequate, as does the boot. Firing it up via the pulsing starter button – a Jaguar USP – elicits a gentle diesel hum, and there’s an impressive sense of mechanical refinement, even at rest, which is quite appealing. Pulling away, our entry-level model on its 17in wheels rides quietly and unobtrusively, and the damping feels impressively calm on typically broken English urban roads.

The excellent ZF eight-speeder slurs its changes and aids its excellent throttle response as the speed rises. However, it’s the XE’s dynamic brilliance that comes to the fore – its fluid and beautifully weighted steering impresses the most. In the bends, it’s poised, planted and the XE fills the driver with confidence – its handling far transcends the power on offer. Yes, it does have the dynamic beating of the BMW 320d.

The new Ingenium 2.0-litre turbodiesel certainly competes. It’s quiet and, as you’d expect, has a dieselly thrum that isn’t entirely isolated from the driver. The new engine performs admirably, even if you have to work quite hard to get the most from it – having not driven the manual, it’s hard to say for certain, but the brilliant gearbox’s willingness to slip between ratios may be very effectively disguising a lack of low-rev punch. That’s a point which may be worth considering if you’re looking at buying the six-speeder.

However, it’s a small criticism of what is an excellent first effort in this market sector for more than a decade. It’s a neat-looking executive saloon that’s good to drive and which is at, or near the top of, the class – not just any class, but the most hard-fought one of all, against some fearsome rivals. It’s a huge testament to Jaguar that the XE is as good as it is, given its brand-new platform and drivetrains, and that it’s made in a green-field factory. Jaguar has just taken an important, faltering, first step towards world domination – and it could just pull off the miracle.

Jaguar XE R_Sport_02

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

100 Comments

  1. It might be good, but there’s a lot of iffs buts and maybe’s in all journo’s reports on this car. That dash is nothing fancy and looks bland as can be. Slag Audi, BMW and even the new VW Passat all you want German haters, but this thing is not cutting edge!

    • I sadly have to agree with you on this. I actually saw an XE this morning parked in a hotel car park and while the front end looked rather assertive and distinctive, the same could not be said for the rear end, which I thought to be too much like an Audi – I initially mistook the Jaguar for an Audi A5. I for one was always hoping the production XE would deliver some inspiring looking Maserati 3200 GT boomerang-style tail-lamps and a more muscular rear pillar stance which worked better with the haunches, to create something which gave the impression of being more coupe-esque. Instead I was left feeling rather underwhelmed.

      The interior, when finished in the right colour and embellishments, is more acceptable, although I would personally never select a dark colour such as black or dark grey if I wanted it to exude a sense of wellbeing, luxury and space.

      That said, I hope the XE does sell and will eventually lead to additional bodystyles being offered.

    • I completely agree regarding the dash. There is far too much black plastic, unbroken by embellishments. I prefer the look of my E46’s dash, with a similar centre console layout, and a nice textured aluminium band running across the centre. Even the door cards look dull.

    • That’s really quite funny to consider this 75% aluminium car “not cutting edge” when compared to Germany’s answer to the Vauxhall Chevette saloon, the BMW 3 Series!! Credit where credit’s due, at least the Audi’s Golf underpinnings are modern, if hardly aspirational. If only Jaguar had had a mass market, humdrum, hatchback to base their new car on, it would have saved having to design a largely aluminium dedicated platform from scratch.

      • Jaguar tried that once – the X Type based on the Mondeo. Both cars were good but the X Type suffered from being looking down on as a pimped up Ford. Sometimes car makers are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  2. I would love one of these. A brilliant ambassador for UK plc and a forward-looking piece of kit. Intriguingly engineered to give you that little bit more than the German competition.

    Somebody please give me £30K.

    Can’t help thinking, though, that the F-Pace will be the most successful product in Jaguar’s brave new world. Why won’t you buy saloons, damn you?

    • I don’t think the “OMG crossovers are taking over the world” effect is as dramatic as some make out. The BMW 3-series is regularly in the top 10 monthly sales charts in the UK, and so is the new Merc C-class. Plenty of people are still buying saloons.

      • True, but a lot of these are lease hire premium saloons.

        No-one bought Primeras, Accords or Lagunas.

        In fact, Mazda were surprised that the 3 saloon makes up 25% of sales and is so popular.

        However everywhere you look we’re being bombarded by crossover SUVs.

        • There are two different markets here. The SUVs tend to be purchased or PCP’d by individuals, either as their only car or as the family do-it-all.

          Saloons tend to be company cars, with some status attached to the badge and the style of the vehicle. Most company car user-choosers will probably also have a SUV at home. A new SUV is more likely to be a replacement for the family’s medium hatchback than the company car users larger saloon.

  3. I drove one of these for the weekend a few weeks ago, although mine was a manual. You are right about the lack of bottom end, which makes it surprisingly easy to stall when fitted with a manual, while the manual change isn’t that great. It’s far better suited to being an automatic.

    I did enjoy the car a lot and hope it succeeds, but the BMW / Audi myth is so engrained amongst its target audience (many of whom have never known any better during their entire driving careers, that it’s going to be a very slow ship to turn around.

    Would I buy one? It’s a great car and if I were in the market for this sort of car, I’d buy one over any of the competition. But, it’s like having a fling with a supermodel (or, so I imagine!); great for a weekend, but way too impractical and demanding for a long term relationship! On the other hand, my Land Rover is a much better bet for a long term relationship and is definitely the type to make a decent cup of tea every morning!

    • When you say “many have never known better”, what alternative would you suggest to the BMW/Audi crowd? The 3-series and its German rivals have dominated the class for the last 10-20 years. What should they have chosen instead?

      • Yes, you are right, the 3 Series and its ilk have dominated the sector for around 20 years. I struggle to understand why though. I have chosen a great many new cars over that time and have never been stuck to find a car that doesn’t offer a great deal more for a similar amount of money.
        Ironically, to be taken seriously as a 3 Series alternative, a competitor has to be similarly expensive and cramped. Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask, as a compact car with the mechanical layout and space efficiency of a Vauxhall Chevette isn’t any use to me and my family.
        I can only speak for myself, but the better alternatives, for similar money, that I’ve bought over the last 10 years have been 3 x Volvo v70 phase 2’s and 3 x Land Rover Freelander 2’s

        • I’d say the 3-series is more like a Cortina than a Chevette. Conservative styling, wide engine range, several different body styles, a clear model hierarchy, rear wheel drive… it’s a simple formula, and easily mocked, but no-one else has been able to replicate it in the last 15-20 years.

          Good luck to Jag with the XE. It’s great to see them competing in so many segments.

      • Japanese premium cars often have a lot to recommend them, with important aspects of performance (braking distances, lateral grip, fuel economy, etc) regularly being better than those of German rivals. I am often disappointed by the dominant preference for BMW-esque dynamics in motoring magazines, and the degree of importance given to them.

        I remember an episode of old Top Gear demonstrating that braking distances had become considerably shorter than in the Highway Code, with two of the cars tested being the Porsche 911 and Lexus LS. The LS stopped in a shorter distance than the 911 despite having narrower wheels, smaller brakes, softer suspension and a higher kerb weight. The hybrid Lexuses often outperform diesel German rivals in real-world fuel economy tests.

        I own a three series, and enjoy driving it, but there are many cars that are much better to live with as a result of their designers not chasing the type of dynamic ability so loved by motoring journalists.

      • The belief in the dynamic qualities of the BMW 3 Series (and RWD cars) has a lot do with the excellent M3. In its “cooking” forms its frequently been bettered by the Mondeo, Jetta etc and I felt (along with a few others) the Alfa 159 which had the looks and badge to take it as well.

        However for the new Jaguar (and Alfa) to hurt the 3 Series they need a “halo” model that is measurable better than a M3, and that is going to be difficult as Audi and Mercedes know.

  4. When I spotted the first un-disguised XE here in my town some months ago, I was very unimpressed – it looked like a basic model, small wheels, black, simple – in fact very much like a basic BMW 3-series. A friend took over her new XE some weeks ago and I had a closer look: The light coloured interior together with wood trim, not overly sporty alloys and a light metallic grey paintwork made the car look much classier and the interior actually inviting – something I cannot say of the trist looking black interiors from the press shots. But all in it lacks charisma and that flamboyance that was always part of a Jaguar – Mercedes C-class has now taken that place.

    I fear that this will – again – fail to sell outside the UK. It surely is a good car and got good test results, but it simply is too close and similar to a BMW 3-series to tempt people away from their usual choices.

  5. The car looks good and all the journalists that have driven it have said good things about the ride and handling.

    But in one respect the styling is a fail – it looks too much like an XF rather like all mid-range Audis look the same (exaggeration but you know what I mean). I pass a Jaguar dealer every day and still can’t tell an XE from an XF and this is with more years of car spotting under my belt than I will admit to online.

    The engine range is currently poor compared to the competition. Petrol & diesel 4-cylinders in different states of tune plus a supercharged V6 at a ridiculous price. Where are the engines somewhere in the middle for the driver that wants more refinement and power than a 4-cylinder can give but doesn’t want the fuel consumption and boy racer appendages that come with the V6 supercharged. A 2 to 2.5 litre V6 petrol will do nicely or even a V6 diesel. I realise most drivers will buy the 4 cylinder versions but the other engines have to be there to provide a choice and support the up-market image.

    • “Petrol & diesel 4-cylinders in different states of tune plus a supercharged V6 at a ridiculous price.”

      Sounds a lot like the current Audi A4 engine range. Doesn’t seem to be harming sales for them. The small V6 petrol “wealthy OAP special” no longer exists.

    • But in one respect the styling is a SUCCESS – it looks too much like an XF rather like all mid-range Audis look the same (exaggeration but you know what I mean).

      A significant factor in the success of Audi, BMW and Mercedes in this market is that non car enthusiasts, who make up the vast majority of the sales, can easily recognise the brand and therefore the values that it stands for. Have you seen the All New XF yet? It’s in the showrooms this week and now all 3 Jaguar saloons have a clear family resemblance. The similarity is a success rather than a fail because that was the objective.

      Six cylinder engines are lovely. The previous XF was available with a 3.0 V6 240PS petrol engine from launch up to 2010 but sold in only tiny numbers (in this country at least) compared to the more expensive 2.7 diesel contemporary mainly due to its 26mpg thirst (Combined figure). Compare that with the 240PS 4 cylinder turbo engine in the XE which has a much more acceptable combined figure of 38mpg and it’s no surprise that sales of petrol XE models (200 & 240 PS) are accounting for around 35% of retail sales (ie private rather than business purchases).

      Interestingly only BMW offer more than 6 cylinders in anything other than high peformance versions of cars in this category. That’s the 340i, there won’t be many of those on the road. BMW 320i and 330i are 4 cylinder turbo too with 184 and 252 PS respectively. Mercedes offer in the C Class only a 184PS 2.0 petrol and Audi a similar output 1.8 TFSI in the A4. Taking this into consideration the XE engines are actually very well chosen at 200 and 240PS and this is before the new Ingenium petrol engines arrive to complement the Ingenium diesels already available.

      Much as their smoothness will be missed 6 cylinder engines in this class have become an irrelevance.

  6. I have been (unrealistically) lusting agfter a Jaguar XE ever since they were announced and have been eagerly reading any reports about the car. As I said before, my lusting is unrealistic (I can’t afford £30K, but then I couldn’t expect to ever get the other ‘objects’ I lust after either), and really would prefer an estate, so hopefully by the time my Premium Bonds actually come up trumps for me, Jaguar will be making an estate.
    I passed one in thev traffic last night and at first thought it was an XF, they are more similar than just having a family resemblance. It was in that burned metallic orange colour, and I have to say it really did look the business…

    • I doubt many of us can afford £30k off the bat.

      Thats why many cars in this segment are lease hired. Ever sit behind a 3 series/A4 and take a look at the numberplate dealer name? A lot of the time it’s some leasing company.

      The Germans are very good at tweaking these monthly payments in terms of emissions and depreciation, such that a 3 series is less to lease than a Mondeo!

      Then, in around 3 years time, a glut of ex-lease/hire vehicles will get auctioned off and join the used car market, at a lot less than £30k.

      • This is going to be the new Jags main problem I think. BMW, Audi and Mercedes have the clout to manipulate lease costs through heavy discounting whilst at the same time investing heavily in marketing to keep the brand desirable and aspirational. A strategy that moves the metal but costs a huge amount to support. Have JLR the clout to do this- or will the XE be a Montego? Priced out of contention by Ford and Vauxhalls battle for market share in the 1980s.

  7. Good review, although the golf club references are out of date. Cycling is where it’s at for young execs these days…

  8. It looks epic in the pictures.

    I’m just concerned by the fact that I haven’t seen one on the roads yet!

    Usually when ze Germans release a new model by slightly tweaking the headlights, they’re all over the place a week later.

    The XE has been marketed for months and I’ve yet to see one.

    • It’s all in relative numbers. Prior to XE, Jaguar had the capacity to build around 50000 cars per year for worldwide distribution. Following the construction of the new Solihull factory XE production has the capacity to reach 100000 per year on its own. Compare that with BMW who make over half a million 3-series per year, never mind all the other models in its range, and it’s clear XE can never be as ubiquitous as any of the German cars. Which is another good reason for choosing one!

      • Absolutely, they’re going to be more exclusive than the teutonic repmobiles, I just have a concern that by this stage I would’ve expected to have seen at least 1 on the roads.

        Comparatively, in the past week I’ve seen about a dozen XJs, which are an even rarer vehicle.

          • When I visit Glasgow I often think there is a higher proportion of cars under one year old than in the rest of the country. Glaswegians also seem more willing to break with convention: Glasgow is the only part of the country where I have seen several Citroen DS5s in one day.

          • @Rodden

            Funnily enough, Citroen Glasgow were renowned in Citroen circles for being one of the few dealers that would happily tell you your radio code given the VIN.

  9. I’ve seen one on the road and it looked fairly impressive (despite being in a dirty black/grey? colour. I think the brighter blue or red /white are better on a car of this calibre.) It deserves to do well and am sure it will. However, references to Golf… my Brother was considering the XE, but said the boot might not be big enough for his Clubs etc. so has ordered another XF.

    Whatever model’s Jaguar builds, they seem to be on the up!

  10. I sat in one of these at a local car show and was very impressed. Jaguar really have left the sixties behind and the XE is as up to date as its German rivals. Also zero road tax and 60 mpg are another first for a car company many people think still make sub 20 mpg cars that cost a fortune to own.

  11. Good car, well engineered, but it is very lacking in showroom appeal and distinctiveness because of the copycat styling choices.

    Jaguar is a luxury brand with an enviable history and prestige, but the current management seem determined to copy the German competition instead of wrapping competitive packages in a modern, but distinctively Jaguar style.

    Shame.

  12. This car reminds me a lot of the mk1 mondeo which was also a make or break car its a bland car to look at but actually a bigger step forward than first meets the eye but hey who ever knocked vw for building a bland car a shoebox is more interesting than a new golf

  13. If BMW produced this car, then What Car would be falling over itself with praise. Fact is, BMWs are vastly overrated and overpriced cars that are little better to drive than their cheaper rivals, except for the badge snobbery. Also while Jaguar has had its reliability issues over the years, BMW aren’t covered in glory either, with endless electrical faults, rainwater leaking into cars and terrible handling in the wet and snow. But hey ho, it’s German, so it must be good.

    • I think What Car? is falling over itself with praise. I alluded to this in the review – the fact is, the British media is beating itself up over this car. You’d think it’s the second coming, if you read the reviews… it’s good, excellent in fact, but not quite as good as all that.

      The idea that the German manufacturers own the UK media is a little behind the times. JLR does now.

      • While it’s nice to see another marque get some praise, particularly a former underdog like Jaguar, I agree that the press are going way over the top when it comes to JLR.

        I think they ARE overrating cars like the XE and I think that’s rather unhealthy, as it gives Jaguar management a sense of satisfaction that their risk averse styling strategy is working.

        The reality is that private buyers and Jaguar’s long term loyal client base are less impressed, even though the engineering within the new models is excellent.

      • I have seen similarly effusive praise from the US, though. Whether the praise is justified or not, it seems that a lot of people are excited by a credible 3er/A4 alternative from a loved brand.

  14. In 3 years time, the first leased cars will be in car auction, up and down the country, expect 10-12K for a 100K miler, XF’s have kept their value fairly well too as reliability has improved greatly over the years and set the trend now…
    Cheap Jags might be things of the past

    • Cheap X and S types are still plentiful, though the last time I was sniffing around used XFs they were still holding their value well (before I was shooed off the Jag dealer forecourt).

      • The subject is 21st century XE(XF) after 3 yrs lease. An old S/X-type can be bought for peanuts £300 upward but can cost 10 times more to fix…
        I believe that there won’t be £ 300 XF soon, if ever…Cheapest are still around 5K for the oldest ones, they’re ageing much MUCH better than their predecessors!

  15. The US market in particular needs a large petrol engine to be competitive and some middle eastern markets as well. Will we ever see one with a lower level trim and a more reasonable price than the UK model £45k XE S.

  16. The styling is bland but that may be deliberate to get the car out there and accepted without frightening the horses – the fleet market is notoriously conservative when it come to anything new.

    Then once it’s accepted we can expect a facelift in a couple of years time with some styling flair – just compare the original XF with the facelifted version as an example of how a few tweeks can really lift a vehicle’s ‘presence’ on the road.

    • Hmm, am I the only one that thinks that the XF lost most of its “Jaguar-ness” with the facelift? The original headlamps and bonnet were pure Jaguar (XJ series 1/2), while the facelift is rather bland. The XE tops this though, same goes for the upcoming F-pace SUV. Both styled very safely to gain their place in the (UK) company car sales.

      • Depends if we’re talking about the same thing – I’m referring to the facelift of the original XF, and not the ‘new’ XF that’s just been launched.

        • I think he meant the mk1.

          The original had the round headlight, almost looked like a 75 on steroids.

          The facelift headlights looked more like the 1999 Peugeot 406 facelift headlights. I think though that the clear ice look of them looks better than the amber indicatored original.

      • I completely agree; the slightly surprised looking headlights on the MKI XF were wonderfully distinctive. The facelift units were ruined for me by the cheap looking DRLs.

        I didn’t much like the facelift of the X350 when it became the X358 either; they took a very subtle, elegant design and attached bulk, incongruous bumpers. Hopefully Jaguar will get better at facelifts.

        I imagine the ‘blandness’ of the XE’s design will be beneficial in Europe, but I wonder if it’s a little too conservative for America. Lexus and the other Japanese premium brands seem to know what they are doing there, and some of their latest designs are rather ‘out there’.

  17. It’s amazing how many company car users make their choice without sitting in one first let alone going for a test drive. So many people select from their fleet approved user-chooser list by comparing on-paper specifications and the taxable benefit.

    I can say this from the perspective of someone who dished out company cars for many years.

    If Jaguar can get the XE on the big fleet lists they are almost guaranteed success – and it looks like the on-paper specs are pretty well spot on to achieve this.

    • This is where the Germans have ran away with the market.

      In a previous life, we had a subsidised company car scheme, it was cheaper to lease a 3 series or A4 than it was a Mondeo or Insignia. C5 wasn’t even on the list, nor was the 508.

      They’ve absolutely nailed the engine size, emissions and depreciation such that the lease payments are attractive to business users.

      • Couldn’t agree more. And the Germans “nail” depreciation by creating excellent approved used car schemes to boost demand in the secondhand market. They were pioneers in this field, doing the approved used car thing well before the mainstream manufacturers.

        Jag will need to carefully manage the supply of XEs in the used market in 2-3 years time, and keep as many within the dealer network as possible.

  18. “but somehow looks dated (or at least it doesn’t look like a brand new car) alongside the honed new Mercedes-Benz C-class. ”

    I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve seen a few new C-class on the way into work, and I’d have to disagree.

    The new C class doesn’t work for me. To me, the window lines look like a decade old S-type, a car which was mocked by motoring journalists for being too retro.

    I actually think that the previous generation C-class was a nicer looking car, it instilled what were traditional Mercedes core values – elegant, classy yet understated. And it didn’t have that ridiculous bling bling grille badge that makes it look like a modified 190. (And since when does a C220 CDI get the AMG treatment that the numberplate holder alluded to…?)

    (And I am still on the lookout to spot an XE!)

    • I was excited by the press photos of the C Class when it was launched, and in the right trim (aggressive bumpers, large wheels, etc) I think it looks fantastic, even if the design isn’t entirely cohesive. Unfortunately, and rather like the A Class, the base trims with smaller wheels make the front end of the car look bulbous, which ruins it for me.

      This said, the interior of the C Class is pretty sensational, floating navigation screen aside. Much nicer than the bland 3er and XE interiors.

      • I haven’t actually been in one, nor driven one, I have to say. Just my subjective opinion on seeing them while commuting.

        No doubt I’ll be in one in a couple of years by the time they trickle down to the city’s big name minicab companies. (And then, a decade later, the backstreet depots).

        Design wise, for me, it was where the window line met the boot, it just looked like a facsimile of an old S type. I must be old fashioned, the old C class nailed it but was probably a little too understated for such a competitive segment.

        • I must admit to being a big fan of the previous C Class; I hired two of them a couple of years ago for use in Barcelona, and the mountains beyond the city. It was brilliant in traffic, planted and refined on the long, curving motorways, and felt nailed down on the twisting mountain roads. Once used versions are in my price range my 3 series will give way to one.

          The only small negative was the door mounted seat controls, which were accidentally activated a couple of times by sleeping front seat passengers. That said lots of people struggle with the electric seat controls in my car, so maybe door mounting is preferable.

  19. After owning two BMW 3 series which have been good, reliable and enjoyable to drive, I took the plunge and ordered an XE Prestige 180 auto back in June.
    The XE has an excellent suspension giving a superb ride and road holding.
    Yes, there are a few niggles and items that will need sorting. Remember this is new car from a new factory, with a brand new engine and aluminium platform. That is why I waited for six months of production before expected delivery in October.

    Will keep you posted as things develop.

  20. I saw one on the road for the first time this morning. From the front it took me a few seconds to realise it wasn’t an XF. To my eyes it looked a lot nicer in the metal than in press pictures, but it still seems a little bland.

  21. Jaguar is on the up big time and this product is just another car that will be successful for the jaguar brand
    I would prefer a jag over a Beemer or merc any day of the week but that s just my personal opinion
    Bmw, Mercedes and Audi are probably up all night with worry about the xe
    I wish the xe every success to enhance UK plc

    • I guess the point for Jaguar is to get the most profitable models on the market, so apportioning design time, money and production capacity to lower volume models that don’t command the same margins as the F-Type doesn’t make sense yet.

      • Yes, sure, appreciate the XE saloon is the priority.

        But really, “design time”? Just weld the rear doors shut, drop the ride height by 20mm, and voila, coupe is ready for the showroom!

        Joking aside, a coupe would definitely help to lower the average age of Jag customers even further than the XE saloon, and would allow a bit more stylistic freedom for the design team. The coupe models are what a lot of 3-series and A4 buyers aspire to, even if they have to settle for a saloon for cost or practicality reasons.

  22. I have bought one of these. (163 PS, manual) I love it. I love the styling, inside and out. It’s just pure and simple without all those extra lines that stylists have to put on because their car is fundamentally the wrong shape. My interior is light brown leather with black contrasts. Passengers say “Wow”.

    The chassis is brilliant. And I get more than 60 mpg without trying at all.

    Getting in and out of the rear is difficult. If you regularly carry three passengers, think carefully. If you regularly carry four passengers, don’t buy this car.

    If it’s mostly just you and one passenger and you can afford one, buy it. It’s full of grace and pace, and there’s just about enough space.

  23. I will never be able to afford this car, but I hope it succeeds. The slight worry I have is fighting BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. Jaguars have always felt like they are playing catchup, BMW in particular seem like they are always slightly ahead.

    The British reviews tend to put the Jag first in comparison tests, however reading the reviews I think there could be a little bias.

    The Jag is by all accounts a great hndling car, but the reviews also agree that the BMW has the better engine. This after JLR spent years developing a brandnew powertrain, and it is still inferior to the best German offerings.

    I hope it succeeds, but I fear that what they really need is to leapfrog BMW, and make a car which is a generation ahead of the 3 series.

  24. I’ve got one. It’s my new company car and replaced an Audi. It’s a salary sacrifice scheme and the lease payments are comparable to the competition, if not slightly cheaper. The low CO2 figures help.

    Mine’s the 163bhp diesel auto. More than quick enough, and is giving me over 60mpg on a long run, or 50-55mpg in traffic.

    I ordered it in December, and it was only delivered a few weeks ago which might explain why there aren’t many on the roads.

    The design is conservative, but it’s a really nice shape. I don’t think it’s bland in the metal, it’s just not blingy. Makes the old XF look dated in my view. Similarly the interior is a lovely place to sit and feels very modern.

    Xeforums.co.uk has a lot of comments from new owners. Most of them love the car. Some of them are choosing to focus on the fact it’s not as luxurious as the old XF, and some of the interior technology isn’t quite at German levels. I’m in the former camp – it’s a far nice object than the competition in my view.

    Nothing’s gone wrong on mine at 2 weeks and 860 miles in. As with any brand new car I’m sure they’ll be even better in a year or two.

    I don’t really care if someone thinks a 3 series is better at certain things, or even overall. It’s so good that you don’t need to apologise for it. I hope that they are able to introduce estate and coupe variants, and a range of engines to compete with the competition. Until then, I’ll enjoy the fact I’m driving something different.

    • out of interest, what engine/transmission was your previous Audi, and how does the XE compare in terms of performance and refinement?

      • Not really a fair comparison – it was an Audi TT 1.8 petrol with 6 speed manual. They’re about the same for performance – TT a bit quicker from 0-30 maybe. XE is way more refined, as you’d probably expect. Really do find the ride to be excellent.

        My last diesel was a 105 BHP Audi A3 1.9 TDIe. Fair to say the XE is a lot more refined than that, but was an old engine even at the time.

        My thoughts are same as others – at low revs you know it’s a diesel. At speed, you’d never know. 8 speed box ensures you are always in the right gear. Engaging ‘dynamic’ mode really improves responsiveness. Eco mode makes for more relaxing progress and harder to creep up to the wrong side of 80mph.

  25. The new XE is not as exciting as I thought it would be, missing some nice curves over the rear wheels as per the F Type and feature on the F pace, however the design is not to in your face and of the moment – its conservative and much like Audi did to get into a market dominated by BMW and Mercedes. I disagree that its old hat in design as the Mercedes C Class is very much of the moment, and as much like Mr Bangle’s 5 series it will not look good in a few years time when design has moved on again, while the XE will be seen as a classic design. A bit like people today drooling over the hum drum Cortinas and Marinas and ignoring the weird Lancias of the 70’s.

  26. Did think it a tad dull but now we’ve seen the new Alfa Guilia, with it’s Edsel/1-Series face, the neat Jag design makes a lot of sense.

    Needs the chrome to look sharp, and good, simple alloys – most of the wheel options look rather crummy and very dated.

  27. I have experience of 3 Series, A4 and C-Class and now the Jaguar XE although we only have 2 on our fleet now for 8 weeks. I can report that those using them everyday are reporting that other than an issue with entering and exiting the rear seats, the XE is proving to be a great car. I am always surprised to read reports that the German brands are more reliable and have particularly better quality interiors. They dont in my experience and dont laugh but so far the XE appears to be a worthy sucessor to what was over the last 38 years of my experience as a fleet manager, the best car for high mileage reliable cost effective motoring, namely the poor old X-Type.

    I personally dont like the XE’s minor trim plastics particularly the door grab handles and the interiors of ours are very dark. Maybe the C-Class looks fancier but we have them and I am not impressed with the quality after some miles. Also Mercedes still need to have a look at suspension quality. A4s are generally speaking great quality but our drivers say they dont find them particularly interesting to drive. I am afraid we have stopped providing 3 Series because of issues over the years with turbos and suspension. If you want a good quality car from BMW buy the 520 Diesel. They have proved fab cars with us.

    Love the site and everybody continue giving your views.

  28. What has happened to the interior? Another very poor effort following on from the XF and XJ no class at all (like the Germans) what is going on at jaguar, they always had wonderful interiors that the Germans could never hope to compete with

    • Have you sat in one, Stewart, as opposed to just looking inside?

      Once inside you can’t fail to notice the instrument pack and steering wheel lifted straight out of the F-Type and the distinctive Riva hoop that now features on all 3 Jaguar saloons. On the XE that hoop tumbles home to provide the kind of cocooning, engaging environment that you would expect to find in a sports car rather than a compact saloon and sets the XE apart from other comparable cars.

      At night time there’s the same Phosphor Blue cool, contemporary mood lighting as the XF and XJ, configurable too in terms of colour and brightness if you wish. No other manufacturer offers you the option of that at this price point.

      Interior trim is such a personal choice that there are 15 different combinations from bold duo-tones in the S and R Sport models to the more traditional materials in the Prestige & Portfolio models. Further individuality is available in the choice of contrast stitching on seats, dashboards and door casings, choice of different aluminium finishes or real wood dashboard inlays, and Windsor Leather dashboard top on Portfolio models.

      There’s no denying the quality of the interior fittings on any car in this class but the choice of materials in the XE makes it feel very special to sit in rather than merely beautifully assembled. Surely that was always the essence of the “wonderful interiors that the Germans could never hope to compete with”.

      Or would you have preferred a plank of walnut on the dashboard, a tartan rug and trilby on the rear shelf? 😉

      • Certainly agree with this although the Jaguar pinched a little in very minor trim such as door pulls. So far though the two XEs I have experienced are proving to be fantastic cars. Certainly proving a match for the A4 and C-Class we have and our drivers are choosing them over the 3-series.

        We only have SE in 163 bhp autos but they are lovely to travel in, are proving in everyday use to be economical and have resonable performance. The interior quality is superior to the C-Class and the 3 Series and easily a match for the A4s. Granted our A4s are 2014/2015 models, the C-Class’s are 2014 and the 3-Series are 2014 but our XEs are now 3 months old and the drivers report the quality is superb.

  29. Frankly yes a plank of walnut would have been better than this. A jaguar saloon interior should be like sitting in a London club, not a Nintendo video game

  30. I’ve driven several XE’s now. The chassis is outstanding, great handling, smooth ride and positive steering.

    The rest is average to rubbish at best. Rear space and access is appalling. The cabin design is bland and in places, very downmarket. The materials used are either average for the class or very poor. Hard plastic finishes abound and the fit and finish isn’t great either. The much vaunted new touchscreen is visually unattractive, still slow to respond and feels a generation behind. The instrument cluster looks cheap and is not terribly glance able. The seats are hard and the leather feels as though it’s never been near a bloody cow. The seat backs are hard plastic.

    The new Ingenium Diesel engine gives great economy and is fairly responsive, but the noise… It sounds weedy, very rattle and there is an incessant whine which never goes away. Under hard acceleration, it is not a nice sound at all.

    I’m sorry, but this car is deeply disappointing coming from Jaguar and superb platform aside, in my opinion it is only just competitive. It will rapidly be left behind.

  31. Nearly a year later and I’m sad to see the lack of XEs on the road, compared to the endless see of boring grey A4s and 320ds.

    Is there a reason the middle management brigade are shunning them?

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