Motoring journalist Sue Cooke takes the new Jaguar XE for a spin
I’ve been road testing cars for over 20 years and when that amounts to one a week and car launches, that is a lot of cars. “What on earth do you find to write about” said a friend, “it’s just a box on four wheels.” Luckily I don’t see it that way and I still feel a tingling and sense of awe when I slide behind the wheel of a premium saloon like the new Jaguar XE. I so envy the owner of this Jaguar.
The XE began production in 2015 and for 2020 the very comfortable saloon has an enhanced exterior inspired by the F Pace performance crossover, the fastest selling Jaguar ever. Wider and lower than the previous model, the XE is another head turner with an assertive exterior, larger front apertures and bold graphics. The LED daytime headlights are the icing on the cake, with a striking ‘J’ blade signature. Gorgeous.
In the cabin, the all new luxurious interior features beautiful details and premium materials. From the moment I got behind the wheel of the XE I felt cossetted and encapsulated by deep comfortable seats and the heady aroma of leather. There are three trim levels, S, SE and HSE each available in the sporty R-Dynamic guise.
The entry level specification features an automatic transmission, 18 inch wheels, electrically operated leather seats, all LED headlights and tail lights with updated signature graphics, front and rear park aid, rear camera and lane keep assist. There is a range of option packs. The Technology Pack includes a head up display, solar windscreen, Touch Pro Duo, interactive driver display and wireless charging.
This saloon is the smartest and most connected XE yet with a long list of useful standard technology, much as you would expect from a Jaguar. I find it exciting when I road test a car to discover and test a ‘first’. Technology which nobody has used before, like the Clear Sight rear view system, also available as part of the Technology Pack. Oh, ok, it was first introduced earlier this year in the new Range Rover Evoque, but same company!
ClearSight spans the whole width of the road behind the car and feeds images to a high definition screen within the frameless rear view mirror, unhindered by tall rear passengers, poor light or rain on the rear screen. It is the first time it has been introduced in this segment and improves safety.
Other new technology includes the SportShift gear selector and JaguarDrive Control which are influenced by the F Type sports car. The new steering wheel is shared with the all-electric I-PACE SUV, which also shares the Touch pro Duo infotainment system with the XE. Wireless device charging and Smart Settings technology also make their first appearance in the XE.
I drove the XE powered by the 2 litre Ingenium petrol engine with 250PS which will be the best seller and there is a 300PS petrol engine. There is also an efficient 180PS Ingenium diesel engine.
Performance and agility are excellent, and steering is precise. New owners can choose a rear wheel drive or perhaps preferable for our British weather, the all-wheel drive which improves traction and gives drivers the confidence to tackle all weather conditions.
The outgoing Design Director, Ian Callum, said: “We don’t do ordinary” and that is certainly true of the new Jaguar XE with its amazing technology, gorgeous looks and good old fashioned comfort.
Facts at a Glance
Model: Jaguar XE HSE R-Dynamic | Price: £40,335 otr | Engine: 2 litre 250PS Ingenium 4 cylinder turbo charged petrol engine | Performance: 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph | CO2 emissions combined: 159 g/km (NEDC) | Combined fuel consumption: 36.2-33.3 mpg (WLTP)