Has there ever been such thing as a bad looking Jaguar? Historically, they’ve been sleek and sporty while consistently oozing class and sophistication. Even their clientele tend to reflect this regal image. The latest Jaguar XE is a combination of all of the above but with a modern twist. It’s no easy feat to take a whole new design ethos and yet, still maintain the core traits that define a brand, but Jaguar have managed to do so.
The Jaguar XE enters the market placed firmly against the BMW 3 Series, The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4 and it appears poised to steel quite a chunk of that market. 10% Jaguar Ireland claim, with the aim of selling 300 plus units before the end of 2015. At first glance, it is a striking car. Inheriting many of the design cues that make up the stunning F-Type coupe, the Jaguar XE saloon adopts this styling through subtle changes that combine to give the new four door baby Jaguar a sloping coupe roofline, steeply raked windscreen and muscular appearance that emanate the brands sporting heritage. It is also the most aerodynamically efficient Jaguar ever produced with a drag coefficient of just 0.26.
It’s not just about looks however as the new Jaguar XE is built on an aluminium intensive monocoque with a focus of saving weight. A design that Jaguar say forms the backbone of many future models. The front end is fitted with double front wishbone suspension and an integral link rear axle with the XE getting electric power steering for the first time in any Jaguar. There is a choice of three engines variants from the 2.0 Ingenium diesel with 160 or 180bhp, a 2.0 petrol with 198bhp or the range topping 3.0 V6 petrol with 340bhp.
Our test car on the day was the 2.0 turbo diesel R-Sport with 180bhp complete with an 8-speed automatic transmission finished in stunning ‘blue fire’ metallic paint. While the lower power unit may boast just 99glkm of C02, the 180bhp model comes in at just 111g/km which is very impressive. The engine was punchy and responsive with power being delivered low down while with the 8-speed automatics seamless changes through the gears just adds to the Jaguar’s refined drive. The interior is sleek and finished to a very high quality. Everything looks and feels premium with the 8 inch touchscreen with infotainment system dominating the centre of the dashboard. While the XE is also available with a 6-speed manual, the rotary drive selector for the 8-speed auto rises gracefully from the console as the car starts which adds that extra bit of theatre.
The Jaguar XE is available in three specifications with a choice of SE, Prestige, Sport/R-sport and the range topping Portfolio. Starting at €34,995 for the 160bhp 2.0 D Ingenium SE with 6-speed manual, (Annual road tax of €180) the Jag is very competitively priced. I think however we may have been driving the pick of the bunch on the day (180bhp R-Sport) but we’ll have to wait and find out when we get to spend some extra time with the new XE later in the summer.