RE: Jaguar XE: Driven

Wednesday 28th January 2015

Jaguar XE: Driven

PH finally drives the Jag XE - is it any good?



Feel XE they said. What does that even mean? Exceeding expectations, maybe? To exceed some of the more jingoistic ones fed by considerable pre-launch hype the XE would have to run on fresh air and feed the needy, all the while brewing the perfect pot of Earl Grey.

XE S uses F-Type's V6; when's the V8 coming?
XE S uses F-Type's V6; when's the V8 coming?
So maybe that's why the language is quite toned down in our briefing. Here we will experience, and maybe even 'feel', XE through one of the first 16 pre-production prototypes to roll off the new line. There are a lot of detail changes to be made yet, more on which below. But dynamically, we're assured, this is as good a sample as we can expect until the first cars tip off the end of the line in April.

Start at the top
Greeting the new XE S in pre-dawn twilight, it's easy to mistake the nose for a full-size XF. Maybe too easily for some, as the director's favourite could be mistaken for the sales manager's new whip?

It's only as you slide into the leather love-den of this bright red 340 S does the experience become a little more intimate. The reach across the cabin is shorter. That now de rigueur deep-dish Jaguar dashboard just a little bit closer to hand.

Does this interior feel XE? Sorry
Does this interior feel XE? Sorry
The test route is ambitious, and indicative of Jaguar's confidence in its product. Leaving from the outskirts of Lisbon we hit rush-hour traffic immediately.

The lack of manual gearbox is forgiven in the first 2km stop-start jam, and the calibration of the ZF eight-speeder praised. Of course, this powertrain already has a running start from the XF and F-Type.

Feedback loop
What's worth noting is that the engineers seem to have created a more urgent and satisfying tone in the XE. That V6 really does howl, and doesn't sound quite so bassy and 'big' as it does in the F-Type. Following another XE through the Portuguese traffic jam does at least permit time to muse upon the surprising anonymity of the back end though.

As the speeds increase, and the chaos is left in the rear-view mirror, the XE starts to deliver some serious sporting credentials. We've spoken about the aluminium-intensive chassis before and how weight saved in one place can be reinvested in another, rather than saved altogether.

The Audi A5 look hasn't gone quite yet
The Audi A5 look hasn't gone quite yet
As we skip across another set of expansion joints mid-corner, it's easy to see one place where those hard-won weight savings have been invested - the double-wishbone suspension up front and the feedback it delivers to the electric power steering. The EPAS is really a massive leap forward from what you may have experienced thus far, Jag's system now on a par, and possibly above even, the latest equivalents from Porsche.

Pull the pin
In the previous night's sermon, sorry, 'briefing' the EPAS point was raised like a hand-grenade with a wobbly pin. The poor engineers desperate to point out that they wouldn't have fitted the energy-saving system if it had threatened to compromise steering feel at all. In fact, they professed earnestly, it had to exceed hydraulic systems to win its place in the new car.

While it's hard to praise the steering feedback that highly, it's certainly not a dull steer. The ratio seems good and the feedback through every bump and turn is measured and controlled, though sometimes bordering on the noisy. As we cross another two-inch expansion gap, mid-turn, it's easy to imagine that you're feeling the very gauge of the steel passing under your wheels.

Ingenium diesel offered with 163 and 180hp
Ingenium diesel offered with 163 and 180hp
Did we mention the ambition of this route? The worst paved highway we've ever had the displeasure to tootle down at precisely 90km/h. Like a faster version of the old "highway to hell" from Eupen to Monschau, for you fellow 'ringers. Or the North Circular after another few years of budget cuts.

And to be brutally honest, the Jag suffers a little. Vertical movements are harsh and intrusive, though without a back to back in a nice new C-Class, it would be hard to pass true judgment. Adaptive damping is a technology that Jaguar seems to have mastered quickly and well, though the ability to distinguish feedback from noise could be called into question.

Back in the real world
At the halfway point we swap out for the new XE R-Sport 180. Powered by a somewhat gruff sounding Ingenium diesel, we're assured by the people that know final sound deadening, baffling and even balancer shaft specs haven't been sorted yet. Instead we're to concentrate on the performance and the dynamics of this, the second-most sporty set-up for the new XE.

The compact RWD Jag saloon returns!
The compact RWD Jag saloon returns!
To be honest, it's an instant hit. Unlike the S model, it's not an active chassis. It's just a carefully chosen spring rates and ride height, matched to a very progressive damper. Not only is this diesel-powered XE more comfortable than the S across the bad stuff, but its handling across the good stuff is every bit as involving. There are a lot of things that are hard to judge in isolation, without the blessing of driving different models back to back in a group test. But the XE feels much sportier and far more involving than any M Sport optioned 3 Series you'd care to mention, this side of the old E90.

Between short drives in limited numbers of cars, there was the opportunity to mess with the new InControl app and dashboard. Again, honestly, the screen is last-gen, not next-gen. You can see the pixels still. And the app crashed regularly while trying to connect. Pre-production, remember. Though Dan reported something similar on the Discovery Sport launch using the same tech. Other stuff more polished included the active safety systems like the radar-guided cruise control, and assisted braking all worked spectacularly whilst dodging Portuguese agriculture.

Certainly looks like a Jag - does it drive like one?
Certainly looks like a Jag - does it drive like one?
The new XE is no X-Type. It's not a tarted-up Mondeo. But neither is it a dumbed-down XF. Jaguar has created a new car, with the best bits of its sports brand and most of its luxury goals met too. It's a historic moment for the brand, on a par with the F-Type. But exceeding expectations that recent successes have set could prove to be the toughest challenge of all.

 

 



Previously on PH...
Jaguar XE - Full details
Jaguar XE - The full range
Jaguar XE - Powertrain info

XEcrutiating: PH Blog
XE range on Jag's official site


JAGUAR XE 2.0D 163
Engine:
1,999cc 4-cyl turbodiesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive (8-speed auto optional)
Power (hp): 163@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 280@1,750-2,500rpm
0-62mph: 8.4sec (8.2)
Top speed: 132mph
Kerbweight: 'From 1,474kg' (1,500)
MPG: 75 (NEDC combined) (71.7)
CO2: 99g/km (104)
Price: £29,775 (for SE. Add £1,000 for Prestige, £2,750 for R-Sport and £3,400 for Portfolio. Auto option is £1,750)

[Figures in brackets for auto]

JAGUAR XE 2.0D 180
Engine:
1,999cc 4-cyl turbodiesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive (8-speed auto optional)
Power (hp): 180@4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 317@1,750rpm-2,500rpm
0-62mph: 7.8sec
Top speed: 140mph
Kerbweight: 1,550kg (1,565kg)
MPG: 67.3 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 109g/km
Price: £30,275 (for SE. Add £1,000 for Prestige, £2,750 for R-Sport and £3,400 for Portfolio. Auto option is £1,750)

[Figures in brackets for auto]

JAGUAR XE 2.0 200
Engine:
1,999cc 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 200@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 206@1,750-4,000rpm
0-62mph: 7.7sec
Top speed: 147mph
Kerbweight: 'From 1,530kg'
MPG: 37.7 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 179g/km
Price: £26,995 (for SE. Add £1,000 for Prestige and £2,750 for R-Sport)

JAGUAR XE 2.0 240
Engine:
1,999cc 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 250@1,750-4,000rpm
0-62mph: 6.8sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Kerbweight: 'From 1,535kg'
MPG: 37.7 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 179g/km
Price: £33,095 (for R-Sport. Add £650 for Portfolio)

JAGUAR XE V6 S
Engine:
2,995cc V6 supercharged
Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 340@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 332@4,500rpm
0-62mph: 5.1sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Kerbweight: 1,665kg
MPG: 34.9 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 194g/km
Price: £44,870

   
   
   
   






   
   
   

 

Author
Discussion

W124

Original Poster:

1,335 posts

66 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
England Expects. But Jaguar struggles to deliver. Or maybe it's great. Can't quite tell from this.

Patrick Bateman

10,009 posts

102 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Didn't realise they were making a quick version too, I was just expecting diesels really.

CMYKguru

3,017 posts

103 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
£44k for the 3.0 V6

pull the other one

AER

929 posts

198 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
It's a shame it looks like the love child of a 2005 VE Commodore and the old square Euro Accord. Pretty, but not terribly distinctive, nor very Jaguar apart from (possibly) that snout.

Not good enough from the company that brought the world the E-type and the XJ

MadDog1962

735 posts

90 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
This just doesn't look like a Jag to me. Inside or out.

At first I thought the pricing looked steep. But really that can only be said for the V6. The 4 cylinder models are probably similar value to the 3 series of Audi A4/A5 etc.

Hope it looks better in the metal, and feels better than it looks in the pictures.

Edited by MadDog1962 on Thursday 29th January 04:20

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Zad

11,409 posts

164 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
So, let me get this right. I could buy a 420bhp V8 Mustang, with 10 grand left for coke and hookers (or petrol). Or I could buy this?

The front end is fine, the interior is okay, the rear is 5 years ago. Maybe the estate version will be the one to get then? Maybe. I hope Jaguar's designers and stylists are retained to do a pretty quick refresh, because this is looking very much like the "new" Mondeo; 2 or 3 years old already, both in terms of technology and aesthetics. The EPAS tells you (with both cars really) that the marketers, managers and bean counters have insinuated themselves back in front of the engineers at both companies.


stuckmojo

1,792 posts

116 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
I "like" it, but in the same way that I like Coca Cola; plenty of alternatives and this is not different enough.

The good news - RWD chassis and seemingly good suspension - are probably not brought out enough for it to be a class winner. I do accept this is a very difficult segment, with established BMW and Mercedes to fight against.

At the same price, with the same residuals, I'd probably have one as a company car versus the German lot.

With my own money, never. It would be - as above - a Mustang.

Isn't Tesla going to release a segment killer next year?

tonker

53,766 posts

176 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Are we getting a 6 cylinder diesel estate. Or will that be in 2020 ?

ChrisPap

390 posts

82 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Styling looks like it may be targeted at the Americans? They quite like bland looking cars with massive tail lights?

morgrp

4,082 posts

126 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Diesels (which no doubt will be the volumes sellers) sound very under-whelming - turbo petrol 4 pots seem more interesting but the whole package does very little for me - if I were in the market for this type of motor I doubt I'd even go look at them - Jag seems to be doing an Audi by making all its saloon cars look near identical and merely making them slightly bigger or smaller - I hope it sells well for the sake of jaguar but it certainly doesn't blow my frock up

jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

68 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
That sounds very encouraging. The article I mean, not that pish above.

loudlashadjuster

2,943 posts

112 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
£44k LOL

I'm slap bang in the middle of Jaguar's target market for this car, yet they're making it tough for me to consider one. I need an estate, so nearly £50k list once you tick a few options on the V6?

A 335i Touring Luxury is £38k plus change. A 535i only a couple of grand more than the XE.

Wish Jag well, but much like the XF they seem to be killing the potential with this, ahem, 'aspirational' pricing.

jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

68 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
I'm not sure if people are being deliberately stupid or just ignorant regarding pricing.

Jaguar have for the last decade and a half provided a base model with far more equipment as standard than the Germans. That's bad news for drivers who just want the cheapest, nastiest poverty spec model because Jaguar doesn't do poverty spec very well. If you intend to spec the option doors, windows and seats to your BMW then you'll find the pricing much closer.

Much also depends on the individual. Some are happy to pay a very small premium not to be seen in a generic German car.

tonker

53,766 posts

176 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
The basic X type 2.0d Classic was hardly loaded. It was a bog standard 4 door saloon. No cow, no decent stereo. It was no more than a basic 3 series or. Poverty c class or A4. With solid paint and tiny wheels.

The problem Jaguar a have had for 15 years and more is out of dare engines, cabins too small and looking dated with inferior electronic gubbins. Their engineers have been fantastic but their showroom appeal has been lesser.

The Ingenium is all well and go of, but it is Interesting that all reviews are holding fire on it and all have said not that refined yet in the preproduction cars they have tried.that is worrying .

And Premium means more than just OK 4 cylinder diesel cars for Europe. And more than one body style. The XF estate was great, just 5 yeas too late. Ironically jag cocked up by not getting it's 4 cylinder XF to market for ages, it's where the exec volume is, and now has missed the premium quasi halo products for Europe by not hav kng. Six cylinder diesel.

As for pricing.... I could buy a 330d touring with an auto box for 28k last year.......this would have to be amazing to compete with those prices. Then it's about lease costs, will an XE Really have such low lease rates to shift them new ?

DanielSan

12,736 posts

95 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Guess I'm the only one who thinks it looks brilliant then. Can't wait for the Supercharged V6's to depreciate like Jags do biggrin

Paul_Riordan

17 posts

212 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
loudlashadjuster said:
£44k LOL

I'm slap bang in the middle of Jaguar's target market for this car, yet they're making it tough for me to consider one. I need an estate, so nearly £50k list once you tick a few options on the V6?

A 335i Touring Luxury is £38k plus change. A 535i only a couple of grand more than the XE.

Wish Jag well, but much like the XF they seem to be killing the potential with this, ahem, 'aspirational' pricing.
From what I can see from the leasing companies they seem pretty comfortable with the residual values - the lease prices look comparable to BMW. Using my company car scheme website I priced a 2.0d (180) Premium Auto against a 320d Luxury Auto both with options to give similar spec and the lease prices were basically the same.

loudlashadjuster

2,943 posts

112 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
jamieduff1981 said:
I'm not sure if people are being deliberately stupid or just ignorant regarding pricing.

Jaguar have for the last decade and a half provided a base model with far more equipment as standard than the Germans. That's bad news for drivers who just want the cheapest, nastiest poverty spec model because Jaguar doesn't do poverty spec very well. If you intend to spec the option doors, windows and seats to your BMW then you'll find the pricing much closer.

Much also depends on the individual. Some are happy to pay a very small premium not to be seen in a generic German car.
Thank you for your assessment of my ability to compare simple lists of prices and specs, a skill I probably mastered poring over Cavalier and Sierra brochures as a 14 year-old wink

Yes, Jaguar have gotten better in offering a decent level of kit, but much like the 'aluminium=lighter' and 'our infotainment is right up there' ruses the dealers try and spin, they really believe their own press when it comes to stuff like this.

Non-one's talking base models where you may be correct. The 335i Luxury is every bit as well specified as the equivalent XE, but its list is 14% cheaper. Stronger residuals (damn those Germans!) mean the difference is even more pronounced on PCP.

I'm sorry, much as I'd love an XE or XF, when it's my money and the Jag is costing an extra £120 a month then I'll have to look elsewhere.

That's not a small premium.

jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

68 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
loudlashadjuster said:
jamieduff1981 said:
I'm not sure if people are being deliberately stupid or just ignorant regarding pricing.

Jaguar have for the last decade and a half provided a base model with far more equipment as standard than the Germans. That's bad news for drivers who just want the cheapest, nastiest poverty spec model because Jaguar doesn't do poverty spec very well. If you intend to spec the option doors, windows and seats to your BMW then you'll find the pricing much closer.

Much also depends on the individual. Some are happy to pay a very small premium not to be seen in a generic German car.
Thank you for your assessment of my ability to compare simple lists of prices and specs, a skill I probably mastered poring over Cavalier and Sierra brochures as a 14 year-old wink

Yes, Jaguar have gotten better in offering a decent level of kit, but much like the 'aluminium=lighter' and 'our infotainment is right up there' ruses the dealers try and spin, they really believe their own press when it comes to stuff like this.

Non-one's talking base models where you may be correct. The 335i Luxury is every bit as well specified as the equivalent XE, but its list is 14% cheaper. Stronger residuals (damn those Germans!) mean the difference is even more pronounced on PCP.

I'm sorry, much as I'd love an XE or XF, when it's my money and the Jag is costing an extra £120 a month then I'll have to look elsewhere.

That's not a small premium.
It's odd you say that because the BMW PCP rates discussed on here a week ago were eyewatering to what my Jag PCP rate is. Mine was sold "used" as it was a 1200 mile old demonstrator and I got it at 5.5%. Audi finance rates seem to be staggeringly expensive too.

tadaah

201 posts

139 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
^^
Er, but the residuals have already been forecast as higher than the competitors ? So what's your point on PCP exactly?

jl34

376 posts

165 months

Wednesday 28th January 2015
quotequote all
Very depressing to hear negative comments from people who havent seen or driven the car. It has a nice sporty profile when put next to a 3 series or A4 with the rakish front pillars. I think in terms of packaging constraints and requirements of the fleet market they have a done a great job. It was never going to look like an e-type or Mk2 was it ???? !!!! Today you have strict crash safety and aero constraints before you even start on the styling. As for comparing it to a mustang, why not compare an Audi A4 to a Mustang ?

Double wishbone suspension , aluminium body, app controlled functions, 99g CO2 engine , you dont get those on the Germans so whats the matter with you lot?