BMW 3 Series 2015 review
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the BMW 3 Series with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australia launch.
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Jaguar continues to make inroads and its all-new stylish XE is aimed squarely at the younger buyer
So, it's come to this.
Everything at Jaguar for the past 10 years has been leading up to the all-new XE, the car designed to challenge the position of the German luxury sedans.
The car is a condensed update of the XF that has worked so well for Jaguar, with the emphasis placed even more on driving enjoyment. There is no shortcutting in the suspension or cabin refinement, with an approach that's intended to appeal to younger buyers.
The XE also has some very classy design work and impressive final finishing, Jaguar Land Rover's newest engines, and pricing from a sharp $60,400.
So, what's not to like?
Jaguar has hit almost all of its targets, but company chiefs admit the car is a bit short of back-seat space and could provide easier access. They tell me that's the price for a body that's shaped like the XE and a chassis that's built more for grip and go than a cushy ride.
The XE range includes both diesel and petrol power, with the usual walk up through the extra — and extra cost — equipment.
But the basics are all there, from automatic emergency braking and a rear-view camera through to satnav, an eight-inch touch screen for the multimedia, 380 watts of Meridian sound, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, stop-start engine assist, and xenon headlamps.
The V6 S is likely to be the car that works best for drivers, (despite a price tag of $104,200) thanks to the supercharged V6 power pack from the F-Type sports car.
But there is a lot of choice between the top end and the basic Prestige model from $60,400.
My test car is the Prestige 20d with the new Ingenium diesel, at an affordable $62,800 before any extras.
It's still more than good enough for some Sunday fun
From the get-go I'm super impressed by the XE's suspension, which is both supple and sporty, defeating any potential threat from bumps on my favourite test course while also giving grip and feedback that's best in the class.
The engine and gearbox settings put the emphasis on response, although the eight-speed self-shifter helps a lot for economy, and the steering feel is great.
My diesel test car is not the sharpest XE in the range but it's still more than good enough for some Sunday fun. By keeping revs in the meat of the torque range it's possible, and easy, to make swift progress.
It might be missing the top-end rush of a V6, or even the lesser petrol engines, but it's still strong enough for anything I can find. I do, however, find it odd that Jaguar rules out any form of towing with the XE, at least with any factory equipment.
I'm a fan of the cabin layout, from the latest pop-up gear controller and the sweeping curve beneath the front glass to the clear-and-simple instruments and the giant multimedia screen. The latest satnav is great and the Meridian sound system is both clear and punchy.
The seats are both comfortable and supportive, all the controls are logical and easy to use, and visibility is good apart from a smallish blind spot in the rear three-quarters.
The XE is a very, very good car
So, once again, what's not to like?
Well, the back seat is not great. It's a bit pinched for legroom and access through the doors is not as good as some of its rivals.
I'm also surprised the Ingenium diesel, touted as completely new and producing 132kW of power and 430Nm of torque, is noisier than I expect. The car is not as quiet as several of its rivals and the noise at idle is far more than I expect, especially for a car in the luxury class.
But those are relatively minor gripes in a package that works well.
The XE is easy to park, the boot space is great, and the quality of the cabin materials and assembly work shows that Jaguar really knows how to do modern luxury. It's not as funky-trendy as a BMW i3 or a Range Rover Evoque, but it hits the spot for 40-somethings who want to reward themselves.
The XE is a very, very good car. After time with the diesel I'm now looking forward to more driving with the starting-price petrol model, most likely at our Car of the Year judging. I'm not sure how it will go, but for now I know the XE goes more than well enough for The Tick.
|20D Prestige||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$33,990 – 36,990||2015 Jaguar XE 2015 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs|
|20D R-Sport||2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$33,980 – 36,000||2015 Jaguar XE 2015 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs|
|20T Prestige||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$28,990 – 35,990||2015 Jaguar XE 2015 20T Prestige Pricing and Specs|
|20T R-Sport||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$34,320 – 40,920||2015 Jaguar XE 2015 20T R-Sport Pricing and Specs|