The moment you press start on the Jaguar XE and see the automatic gear control selector rise up, you know you are in for something special.
Jaguar XE is simply a beautiful car that’s effortless to drive. It also bristles with enough outstanding, intuitive tech to impress even the geekiest LGBTI.
We tested the Jaguar XE R-Sport – a model that adds more overt sports styling to this sports saloon range.
Who would drive a Jaguar XE?
When you think about the stereotypical Jaguar owner, it seems poignant we did our test drive in Norfolk, the home of Alan Partridge. But this car is not for Alan or for the type who would call it a ‘Jag’.
In fact, it was Jaguar’s effort to crack the executive car market – think high-end travelling salespeople – that led to its birth.
But in the process, the engineers created the perfect car for a successful single LGBTI person or couple.
I say successful because you are buying luxury and great drive and paying upwards of £32,000.
And I recommend it for singles or couples because this isn’t really a family car.
The reason being that the boot is on the small side for a four-door saloon, as is the back seating area.
If you’ve got a young family or just friends jumping in the car for an hour’s ride every now and then, that will not bother you. But if you’ve got teenaged kids or adults riding in the back for long road trips, you may want more leg and baggage space for them.
The plus side comes if you are the driver or the front seat passenger. I confess it’s hard not to feel smug behind it’s soft leather-upholstered wheel.
The XE is luxury, fun – a treat, a reward. And maybe you deserve that.
Jaguar XE eschews the harsh boxy lines currently in vogue in car design. Instead you get a clean aerodynamic curves.
At the front is a bold grille and lights angled like the angry stare of a forest cat.
On both sides, chrome vents highlight the XE’s sporting prowess. Chrome window surrounds finess the finish.
And at the rear, the haunches have an understated elegance, with just the right amount of overhang.
It’s sleek, sophisticated, modern, sporty. And it’s recognizably a Jaguar.
Pampered interior and intuitive technology
Front seat passengers are truly pampered by the Jaguar XE. You get a low but commanding position to view the road, acres of leg-room, individual climate control. The list goes on.
Our car boasted 14-way electrically adjustable front seats. And both front and rear seats were heated.
You’ll find a good amount of storage space in the glove box and between the driver and passenger seats.
The surfaces are tailored with double stitched, soft leather, while brushed chrome accentuates the details.
Where the Jaguar XE really excites, however, is with the tech. Our R-Sport model came with a few extras.
But what really stood out was how easy it was to use and how connected you feel.
Phones can be linked by Bluetooth, for calls or music streaming. And we found it easy to programme the sat nav through the touch-screen controls. The wheel has all the essential buttons you’ll need mounted on it, so there’s nothing to distract your eyes from the road.
I can also report a decent sound system, essential if you are travelling with a group of music-loving gays, as I was.
A smooth, powerful drive
The Jaguar XE is almost effortless to drive.
The R-Sport comes as a diesel with eight-speed automatic transition. And it is wonderfully smooth at any speed.
Touch on the accelerator and you immediately feel Jaguar’s power pulsing beneath you, making it easy to overtake. Braking is equally responsive. And the power steering takes any physical effort out of driving.
There are two main driving modes – normal and dynamic. Dynamic slightly changes the steering weighting, throttle response and the gear shifts for a sportier feel.
But the engineers have resisted the temptation to make the dynamic artificially different, as other manufacturers often do. As a result, the XE responds in tune with the driver’s mind in either mode.
You can also turn on or off the eco function – which is one of many fuel-economy touches Jaguar has included.
Beyond that, I enjoyed having the speed limit, current speed and sat nav instructions projected onto the windscreen. There was really no need to take my eyes off the road.
And several of the other safety features boost the driving experience. For example, the clear reverse parking cameras (parking assist was also a button away) and hazard warning alerts for maneuvering.
If you’re doing a lot of motorway driving, you’ll appreciate the warning lights in the side mirrors, for when other cars are blocking your entry into another lane.
Verdict: a taste of success
The Jaguar XE starts from £32,015. Our model was the XE R-Sport 2.0 4 Cylinder Twin Turbocharged 240ps Diesel, costing £40,125 as standard. Add the optional extras we had and you’ll be paying £57,845.
The range was designed to appeal to corporate fleet managers, so is priced well against direct competitors. For a private buyer, you’ll want to consider fuel economy and other costs too but you’ll probably find you’re on a par with similar cars and you may get slightly higher specs.
But all that is the objective bit. Most of the time, you’ll be focused on the subjective – what does the XE feel like?
It’s only car nerds who care that it has redefined the sports saloon by offering an alternative to the three players who have long dominated it – BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class.
For everyone else, this sleek compact saloon radiates luxury and style. It’s the kind of taste of success you deserve.