Jaguar makes no bones about the fact that it wants to be seen as a marque specialising in sports models, hence the strong emphasis on the dynamics of the all-new Jaguar XE. Some critics consider the large Jaguar XF to be more limo than grand tourer and, while we don’t agree with that, the view of the majority has to be taken into account.

The newest Jaguar is overtly sporting in every way – mostly good ways, but some not quite so good; more about the latter in a moment.

To call the Jaguar XE a four-door sedan version of the F-Type coupe and convertible isn’t far from the mark. Indeed, it does use some F-Type mechanical and suspension components. As well as plenty of design expertise.

The stunning shape of the all-new Jaguar XE created a huge amount of interest during the drive program in north Queensland to introduction XE to the motoring media. People stopped and stared and some managed to grab photos of the string of Jaguars as it made our way through what passes for peak hour in Cairns and onto Palm Cove for lunch (it’s a tough life!)

Jaguar’s distinctive large grille, slim headlights and long bonnet lead back to a coupe-like roofline then down into the sweetest part of the car, the short bootlid with an unobtrusive rear spoiler. The XE’s shape is so right that if Sir William Lyons was still us today he would give it a huge nod of approval.

It’s not all about style; the drag coefficient of 0.26 is excellent, due not only to the sleek body, but also the almost completely flat underfloor.


Inside, the XE is elegant, with a sporting binnacle directly in front of the driver, a central infotainment screen and subtle ventilation outlets. We particularly like the raised area that runs all they way across the lower area of the windscreen that’s looks for all the world like an extension of the stereo speakers.

Rear headroom is marginal for anyone over about 175 cm, a drawback of the coupe-like shape. Legroom will be limited if you’re sitting behind a tall driver who needs their seat well back. Compromises between those in the front and back seats are necessary. Not unusual in sports sedans, and many Jaguars of the past haven’t exactly been spacious machines.

About three quarters of the XE’s body is made from aluminium, however the doors are in high-strengths steel. We were initially surprised to find the Jaguar XE isn’t a lot lighter than other vehicles in its class – think Audi 4, BMW 4, Mercedes C – until the Jaguar engineers explained the aluminium was used to provide maximum rigidity, not low weight.

That rigidity gives the suspension a very stable platform on which to work, thus letting it dampen road shocks to let the small Jag grip hard in corners without sacrificing ride comfort.

Cornering is brilliant, with electric power steering that’s arguably the best, most intuitive, we have ever felt. Strong words? Possibly, but try for yourself then judge us.


However, driving is marred by thick windscreen pillars that blocked too many times during our climb up the mountains behind Cairns and Port Douglas. Comfort is surprisingly good considering the fat that the suspension definitely leans in the direction of sportiness.

Jaguar XE in Australia is powered by four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines in two different stages of tune, producing 147 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, or 170 kW / 340 Nm,then there’s the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol with 250 kW and an enjoyable 450 Newton metres.

Borrowed from the F-Type, the supercharged V6 the XE S is capable of doing the 0-100 km/h acceleration test in just 5.1 seconds. While the XE S sounds pretty good when hammered hard we really would like more volume, please!

Those seeking big torque and small consumption can buy an ultra-modern turbo-diesel, again a four-cylinder unit displacing 2.0 litres. It gives you 132 kilowatts and torque of 450 Nm. The latter spreads from 1750 to 2500 revs.

All Jaguar XE models imported to Australia drive the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is sold in some markets but none will be imported to Australia, not even on special order.

The model range starts with the $60,400 XE 20t Prestige and runs through to the V6 S at $104,200.

With superb styling, stunning chassis dynamics and a price list that begins at just $60,400 (plus on-roads) the Jaguar XE seems highly likely to steal plenty of sales from the big three German marques, as well as the Japanese Lexus.

The complete Jaguar XE range is:
20t Prestige: $60,400 (automatic)
20d Prestige: $62,800 (automatic)
25t Prestige: $64,900 (automatic)
20t R-Sport: $64,400 (automatic)
20d R-Sport: $66,800 (automatic)
25t R-Sport: $68,900 (automatic)
25t Portfolio: $70,400 (automatic)
S V6: $104,200 (automatic)
Note: Prices do not include government or dealer charges. Contact your local Jaguar dealer for driveaway pricing.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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