Jaguar’s XE is the leaping cat’s answer to a well-established trio of compact luxury sedans from the German ‘Big Three’ – Audi’s A4, the BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class.

Throw in the recently arrived Alfa Giulia and feature-packed Lexus IS and you’ve got yourself a six-way cage fight for supremacy in this relatively small but highly profitable part of the new car market.

All offer performance variants ranging from mild to utterly wild, and at around $80k the new XE 300 Sport hovers in the middle of that speed and equipment spectrum.

We spent a week behind the wheel to determine whether its racy aesthetics are matched by its dynamic abilities.