Jaguar’s compact luxury sedan, the XE, has a bit of an uphill battle if it’s to take a bite out of the current market share primarily held by the Germans. The last time Jaguar delved into this market was via the not-so-great X-Type. Time heals all wounds and it’s clearly the case for the 2017 XE.
Our tester is specifically titled as the XE 35t R-Sport AWD and appearance wise, it’s absolutely beautiful in typical modern day Jaguar form. The broad, athletic stance coupled with nice and short overhangs, flowing design lines and an overall strong stance proves the XE has solid looks.
Beneath the hood come three options and we’ll speak to the one our tester was equipped with.
The 3.0 litre V6 supercharged engine given to us cranked out 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque through an 8-Speed-ZF® automatic transmission (sorry folks, no manuals here.)
If you’re curious, there’s a 2.0L gas and a 2.0L diesel option available.
Handling on the XE R-Sport through 500-ish km of mixed driving was exceptional and on par with the BMW 3-Series. There’s virtually no over/understeer here and the XE is eager to eat up twists and turns with ease. On the highway, there’s a solid steering feel and a quiet cabin and on city streets, there’s plenty of responsiveness and “feel” between the engine and driver.
Looking for an exclamation mark on driving feel? Flipping the rotary dial from D to Sport will quickly and happily take care of that for you by amplifying power and response through their impressive electronic steering system.
Stepping inside the XE’s cabin sees typical Jaguar design lines and features, from the aforementioned rotary dial gear shift, large 10” touchscreen (available as an upgrade from the standard eight inch) split into quadrants, the dual dashboard gauges and uber comfortable steering wheel.
The 14-way power heated/cooled leather seats keep you in place and do so comfortably, while the large panoramic opens up cabin feel nicely.
If I could change one thing, it’d be the two tiered arm rests, which has the memory seats controls on the bottom tier and window controls on the top. Instinctively, my hand falls on the lower tier, which is a slight inconvenience but not a deal breaker.
The infotainment system is run through Jaguars InControl software and while it’s good, there are some gaps that prevent it from being great. It’s a tad slow on the response times and loading times are also sluggish. However, I’m sure Jag will work that out for future models, the same way Ford did with their SYNC system.
On a whole, the XE is a solid alternative to the German offerings and with a starting price in the low $40 K’s for the entry level Prestige trim and ranging up to a base price in the mid-$60k’s for the top-tiered Portfolio, there’s plenty of choice with five total trim levels, plus options a plenty.
The brand has been doing many things right lately, from the magnificent F-Type to the ultra-popular F-Pace. The introduction of the XE is a smart move for Jaguar as it allows an easier entry point to the lineup and with a quick and good looking machine that handles beautifully, you should be seeing many more of these on the roads in the coming months.
Enjoy the full gallery below: