Jaguar XE R-Dynamic HSE P300 Saloon
Be charmed by Jaguar's sweetly balanced and responsive rear-drive chassis.
Jaguar has updated its XE mid-size prestige saloon and it’s a more than worthy alternative for buyers considering rival models from the German makers such as the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, and the excellent new BMW 3-series.
The revised exterior design – including new LED headlamps with ‘J’ blade daytime running lights, slender new LED tail-lights, and revised bumpers and grille – take an already good-looking vehicle and gives it a more assertive and purposeful look. It stands out from the comparatively conservatively styled mid-size prestige crowd.
Jaguar has slashed the XE range from 14 models back to just two variants, the R-Dynamic SE ($65,670) and R-Dynamic HSE reviewed here.
Prices are competitive with main rivals and both cars use the same powertrain, a 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine driving through a slick eight-speed auto in traditional style to the rear wheels.
Mustering 221kW, and 400Nm of torque usefully on tap from 1500-4500rpm, it’s responsive and delivers performance that’s properly brisk. The maker claims 5.9 seconds on the stopwatch for the standing start bolt to 100km/h.
Combine that with the charm of a sweetly balanced and responsive rear-drive chassis, good steering and the strong positive retardation
of the standard performance brakes, and the XE really delivered as a ‘driver’s car’.
Our tester was riding on optional 20-inch alloys (in lieu of the standard 19-inch) as well as the optional Dynamic Handling pack that includes adaptive dampers and configurable dynamics.
The front seats with 16-way power adjustment, including four-way lumbar and adjustable bolsters, offer excellent support and comfort that endures as the miles roll by.
The interior is well laid out, easy to interact with and features dual touch screens. However, unlike some competitors, you can’t control the navigation via the voice control system.
Boot space is usefully large and the optional 40:20:40 split-fold rear seat ($460) helps expand load area further.
Rear occupants of taller proportions may find head space limited in the outer pews, while limitations on space and seat comfort in the centre rear make it the least appealing seat in the house.
As expected, there’s a quality look and feel to the XE that extends from the glossy paintwork to the all-new interior that has a fresher and more premium look than the current XF. There are soft-touch trims, stitch detail, quality leather, piano-black and metallic details, and pierced-metal speaker grills.
- MLP: $71,940^ (as tested $80,990)
- ENGINE: 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol Ingenium 4-cyl.
- ANCAP SAFETY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (2015)
- TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 153
Great looks, enhanced cabin, really delivers as a ‘driver’s car’, simpler model range.
Rear occupant space, no voice control for navigation.