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Jaguar XE 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the Jaguar XE with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

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Jaguar makes no bones about the fact that it wants to be seen as a marque specialising in sports models, hence the strong emphasis on the dynamics of the all-new Jaguar XE.

Some critics consider the large Jaguar XF to be more limo than grand tourer and, while we don’t agree with that, the view of the majority has to be taken into account.

The newest Jaguar is overtly sporting in every way – mostly good ways, but some not quite so good; more about the latter in a moment. To call the Jaguar XE a four-door sedan version of the F-Type coupe and convertible isn’t far from the mark. Indeed, it does use some F-Type mechanical and suspension components, as well as plenty of design expertise.

The stunning shape of the all-new Jaguar XE created a huge amount of interest during the drive program at its recent Australian media launch. Jaguar’s distinctive large grille, slim headlights and long bonnet lead back to a coupe-like roofline then down into the sweetest part of the car, the short bootlid with an unobtrusive rear spoiler. The XE’s shape is so right that if Sir William Lyons was still us today he would give it a huge nod of approval.

It’s not all about style; the drag coefficient of 0.26 is excellent, due not only to the sleek body, but also the almost completely flat underfloor. Inside, the XE is elegant, with a sporting binnacle directly in front of the driver, a central multimedia screen and subtle ventilation outlets.

We particularly like the raised area that runs all they way across the lower area of the windscreen that’s looks for all the world like an extension of the stereo speakers. Rear headroom is marginal for anyone over about 175cm, a drawback of the coupe-like shape.

Cornering is brilliant, with electric power steering that’s arguably the best

Legroom will be limited if you’re sitting behind a tall driver who needs their seat well back. Compromises between those in the front and back seats are necessary. Not unusual in sports sedans, and many Jaguars of the past haven’t exactly been spacious machines.

About three quarters of the XE’s body is made from aluminium, however the doors are in high-strengths steel. We were initially surprised to find the Jaguar XE isn’t a lot lighter than other vehicles in its class – think Audi A4, BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class – until the Jaguar engineers explained the aluminium was used to provide maximum rigidity, not low weight. That rigidity gives the suspension a very stable platform on which to work, thus letting it dampen road shocks to let the small Jag grip hard in corners without sacrificing ride comfort.

Cornering is brilliant, with electric power steering that’s arguably the best, most intuitive, we have ever felt. Strong words? Possibly, but try for yourself. However, driving is marred by thick windscreen pillars that blocked our vision many times during our climb up the mountains behind Cairns and Port Douglas.

Comfort is surprisingly good considering the fact that the suspension definitely leans in the direction of sportiness. Jaguar XE in Australia is powered by four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines in two different stages of tune, producing 147kW and 280Nm, or 170kW/340Nm.

Then there’s the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol with 250kW and an enjoyable 450Nm. Borrowed from the F-Type, the supercharged V6 the XE S is capable of doing the 0-100km/h acceleration test in just 5.1 seconds.

While the XE S sounds pretty good when hammered hard we really would like more volume, please! Those seeking big torque and small consumption can buy an ultra-modern turbo-diesel, again a four-cylinder unit displacing 2.0 litres. It gives you 132 kilowatts and torque of 450Nm.

The latter spreads from 1750 to 2500 revs. All Jaguar XE models imported to Australia drive the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is sold in some markets but none will be imported to Australia, not even on special order.

The model range starts with the $60,400 XE 20t Prestige and runs through to the V6 S at $104,200.

Verdict

With superb styling, stunning chassis dynamics and a price list that begins at just $60,400 (plus on-roads) the Jaguar XE seems highly likely to steal plenty of sales from the big three German marques, as well as the Japanese Lexus.

Click here to see more 2016 Jaguar XE pricing and spec info.

 

Pricing Guides

$45,000
Based on 111 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$32,950
Highest Price
$52,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
20D Prestige 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $34,990 – 49,990 2016 Jaguar XE 2016 20D Prestige Pricing and Specs
20D R-Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $46,885 – 50,990 2016 Jaguar XE 2016 20D R-Sport Pricing and Specs
20T Prestige 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $32,950 – 46,990 2016 Jaguar XE 2016 20T Prestige Pricing and Specs
20T R-Sport 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $40,810 – 47,960 2016 Jaguar XE 2016 20T R-Sport Pricing and Specs

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EXPERT RATING
7