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RE: Jaguar XE V6 S: UK Review

RE: Jaguar XE V6 S: UK Review

Sunday 27th March 2016

Jaguar XE V6 S: UK Review

Can the XE match its early promise once in the UK?



Remember the E46 BMW M3? Of course you do, it's a performance car icon and one of M Division's finest. When production ceased a decade ago, the flagship 3 Series made 343hp and 269lb ft. Now there's a raft of compact executive cars - this Jaguar XE S included - that match or surpass those figures, and aren't even pitched as the pinnacle sports saloons.

Jaguar suppleness remains even on 20s
Jaguar suppleness remains even on 20s
It's a fascinating little clique of fast four-doors that remain fairly subtle to the non-expert eye. The BMW equivalent is the 340i, Mercedes will surely make an AMG 43 version of the C-Class saloon and there's even a 330hp Volvo S60 available if the Polestar option is ticked. There is of course a new Audi S4 coming too, although that was making the same sort of power back in the mid-2000s, albeit with a big V8 rather than a turbocharged V6.

It seemed high time the Jaguar was tested in the UK then, particularly after impressing so highly on the Spanish launch event. And if anything a Jaguar should be at its best over here, right?

Dynamically the XE S feels spot on, even on the 20-inch wheels fitted here. On the motorway the refinement is supreme; tyre noise is well suppressed, the engine spins quietly at 2,000rpm and it's fantastically composed. If the XE's main remit is to comfortably soak up motorway miles then that's one brief nailed. Indeed, it would surely be even better on the smaller wheels fitted to the diesels.

Sounds good and goes well, but it could be better
Sounds good and goes well, but it could be better
On more interesting roads the XE is great, displaying that poise and fluidity on tricky surfaces we've come to expect from modern Jaguars and absent from many rivals. Unsurprisingly it feels much like the XF we tested recently, compliant and refined but without ever feeling aloof. Again the Normal mode feels suitable for nearly every circumstance, particularly with the ugly driving displays (Eco), dead throttle pedal (Winter) and red illuminated dials (Dynamic) forced on the driver in other modes. But the fundamental sense of well-honed chassis shines through, particularly when allied to steering and brakes that also feel like good time has been spent setting them up properly. It all bodes very well for the properly fast one - an SVR, most probably - that will inevitably arrive.

It's going to be seriously rapid too, if it's going to put distance between it and this S. The supercharged V6 offers plentiful torque at low revs yet is keen to rev out as well, smooth and sonorous throughout. It's a competitive sector for engines though, the Audi, BMW and Mercedes all delivering similar performance with better scores on emissions and economy. An automatic 340i, for example, emits 35g/km less than this XE.

Will the superb handling be enough to tempt buyers?
Will the superb handling be enough to tempt buyers?
There's no doubt that the Jaguar excels in this group dynamically, but there are key areas that count against it in addition to the rather dreary mpg and CO2 figures. While the interior has a great driving position, the displays simply aren't as good as those in the German rivals and the technology doesn't work as smoothly. PH would always preach buying cars on dynamic virtue but other factors will contribute, and on showroom appeal the Jag may be found lacking. Particularly given this car was £55K as tested...

That being said, the XE remains a desirable and talented choice in the segment. For some the fact it isn't German will be part of the appeal, and isn't it nice to finally have a British saloon that really can compete? Dynamically the Jaguar XE is fantastic, and you would have to hope the progress made with the F-Pace's interior will make its way to the saloon soon enough. Of course the V6 will remain a niche choice, but if it's a viable option then it comes highly recommended. Bring on the supercharged V8!


JAGUAR XE S
Engine
: 2,995cc, supercharged V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 340@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 332@4,500rpm
0-62mph: 5.1sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,665kg
MPG: 34.9 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 194g/km
Price: £55,163 (Basic of £44,865 with Italian racing red metallic for £620, 20-inch Propeller 10-spoke wheels for £800, full-width sliding panoramic sunroof for £1,000, Carbon fibre veneer for £1,000, Heated steering wheel for £185, Heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats with 10x10 way electric front seats for £1,035, Illuminated sill tread plates for £408, Electric powerfold door mirrors with eating and auto-dimming for £275, solar attenuating glass for £435, Heated front windscreen and heated washer jets for £300, Premium carpet mats for £100, Slit fold rear seat for £400, Wi-Fi hotspot for £300, Head-up display for £1,000, Space saver spare wheel for £150, Lighting pack for £400, Advanced parking assist pack with surround camera for £1,540 and Black pack for £350)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Luc Lacey, via Autocar

Author
Discussion

P-Jay

Original Poster:

8,327 posts

116 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Nice car, seems expensive for a non-halo model, it's about the same price as an M3 would have been in 2006 inflation corrected.

jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

65 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
So it's a great car to drive. I'm sure that will prove to be of secondary importance now to people who just want to be seen in a German car. rolleyes

Monty Python

4,016 posts

122 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
At least there's an alternative :-)

Pommygranite

8,437 posts

141 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
That back end is just ridiculously awful in a bat st boring way

moffat

889 posts

150 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Such a shame that Jaguar can't get it right with this car - The F Type is epic, but I can see many positives with the XE:

1. Externally and especially from the rear it looks really boring
2. The interior looks like it's been plucked from an X Type
3. Jaguar are still a generation behind on engines
4. 340i, C43 and the new S4 will all likely be much better
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jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

65 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
moffat said:
Such a shame that Jaguar can't get it right with this car - The F Type is epic, but I can see many positives with the XE:

1. Externally and especially from the rear it looks really boring
So are the competitors

moffat said:
2. The interior looks like it's been plucked from an X Type
No it doesn't

moffat said:
3. Jaguar are still a generation behind on engines
Thankfully so is their throttle response, which remains spritely amongst competitors which are rather blunt. Suppose it boils down to whether you're buying the sporty one for driving pleasure or for CO2 figures.

moffat said:
4. 340i, C43 and the new S4 will all likely be much better
Again whether they drive better is now highly debateable. The 3-series used to drive better than the X-Type. The C-class was nothing to write home about and S4s were always understeery messes. The XE is a great platform. So it boils down to whether you value driving pleasure above infotainment and CO2 or vice versa.

Cotic

469 posts

77 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
moffat said:
Such a shame that Jaguar can't get it right with this car - The F Type is epic, but I can see many positives with the XE:

1. Externally and especially from the rear it looks really boring
2. The interior looks like it's been plucked from an X Type
3. Jaguar are still a generation behind on engines
4. 340i, C43 and the new S4 will all likely be much better
I had one over the weekend (albeit a 180BHP diesel); and I came away very impressed. The handling, grip and ride are exceptional. I took out a guy who has a current 335i; he told me it felt much more 'planted' than his beemer through the bends, and yet more comfortable.

I think the issue with the XE is that Jaguar had aimed for the dynamically most competent car; aluminium body and suspension is very expensive, coupled with the lower buying power that Jag has against BMW and you end up with a car that is much more expensive to produce and develop than the opposition before you throw soft-touch plastics and leather at it. To meet a final price point they've compromised on the bit that they felt the enthusiast would accept - clearly most people prefer these trappings than proper substance...

Styling is to individual tastes - I thought it looked great, personally.

Nerfbat

57 posts

51 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
I'd love to swap my current XF-S for one of these, but the price is simply too high compared to what you can pay for the 340i.


jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

65 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Nerfbat said:
I'd love to swap my current XF-S for one of these, but the price is simply too high compared to what you can pay for the 340i.
I honestly think you'd be daft not to drive them back to back and decide from first hand experience which you want.

Unless you just want whatever is cheapest regardless of their real-life attributes - which is fine, so long as that pursuit of lowest cost doesn't end up being talked about as "the best car", because it's only the best if you value infotainment and cheaper finance much higher than driving dynamics which used to be the argument people used to buy BMWs.

big_rob_sydney

1,987 posts

119 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
The s4 3.0 from 2009 had this level of 0-60 performance. If this car is meant to compete with the s4, among others, then it should have comfortably exceeded a benchmark time from SEVEN years ago.

The fact that it hasn't, is pretty embarrassing.


RobGT81

5,025 posts

111 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
The s4 3.0 from 2009 had this level of 0-60 performance. If this car is meant to compete with the s4, among others, then it should have comfortably exceeded a benchmark time from SEVEN years ago.

The fact that it hasn't, is pretty embarrassing.

Not that it's slow but I don't think people buy this type of car based on its 0-60 time? rolleyes

jamieduff1981

7,186 posts

65 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
The s4 3.0 from 2009 had this level of 0-60 performance. If this car is meant to compete with the s4, among others, then it should have comfortably exceeded a benchmark time from SEVEN years ago.

The fact that it hasn't, is pretty embarrassing.

Are you sure this isn't just the school-boy's error of mistaking a rapid AWD launch against 2WD and thinking that means the AWD car is much more powerful than its 0-60 figure suggests?

cerb4.5lee

9,226 posts

105 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Pommygranite said:
That back end is just ridiculously awful in a bat st boring way
I feel the same as you and every time I have seen one on the road I really like the way the front looks but I am embarrassed for the Jag designers when I see the rear, I don't think that they could have made it look anymore plain and boring looking if they had tried.

Kawasicki

5,007 posts

160 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
I drove a diesel one a couple of weeks ago.

I was really impressed, it was fun to drive.

Monty Python

4,016 posts

122 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Considering the competition have been in this sector for donkey's years I think Jaguar have done pretty well to get as close as they have. So the styling isn't to everyone's taste but that's purely subjective. I'm more interested in the interior, as that's the bit I see most of.

tosh.brice

127 posts

136 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Given that this is PH, a more detailed assessment and description of the praised dynamics would be welcome!

SturdyHSV

5,824 posts

92 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
tosh.brice said:
Given that this is PH, a more detailed assessment and description of the finance options would be welcome!
Fixed that for you hehe

Amanitin

108 posts

62 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
Monty Python said:
Jaguar have done pretty well to get as close as they have.
precisely. It is utterly pointless to whine about infotainment and whatnot being a generation behind. Yes sherlock they are and always will be, because Jaguar operate on a fraction of the R&D budget and economy of scale the big game have at their disposal. I personally applaud them for putting the limited resources into sharp handling instead of a sharp satnav.

edward1

825 posts

191 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
I find it surprising that when talking about a quick v6 petrol people seem so bothered about a few grams of CO2. Surely if people are that concerned they would be looking at the tractor power alternative. If you are in the market for a new car in this price bracket with this level of performance and focus on the co2 emissions above the driving experience and overall package then you either can't really afford to run it, or aren't really interested in the performance just bragging down the pub (or coffee bar these days)

I think it is great that there is a real alternative to the default German choices. The real world fuel consumption will never be close to the published figures anyway so why care.

MrHooky

80 posts

67 months

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
quotequote all
I know they’ve gone a bit heavy handed on the options but this doesn’t look a £55k car to me. I sat in an XE recently and wasn’t that impressed with the interior quality – especially given this is an all new car. Also not convinced on the looks from the rear. Just looks a bit too busy. The XF being a bigger car fits all of the same details in much better.

Jag are missing a trick by not offering a 6 cylinder diesel in the XE. The thinking man’s performance car in the current 3 series is the 330d and 335d cars. Both massively impressive engines with MPG nearly 50% better than this.

Sounds like a decent steer at least…