The Jaguar XE is here but what is it, who’s going to buy it and is it any good? We headed along to the launch event in London to see one for ourselves and figure out whether the world should take notice.
What is the Jaguar XE?
It’s Jag’s new ‘baby’, a car that sits below the XJ and XF saloons. It’ll go head to head with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, with Jaguar claiming it’s the cheapest, most accessible car it’s ever made. Ultimately, the XE is the car the company hopes will open it up to the mainstream market of younger, well-to-do audiences that have, until now, shied away from what has been a pricey, overly exclusive brand.
Should we like it?
Jaguar has played things a little bit safe with the design. At first glance it looks a bit like a Jaguar XF; it’s rather predictable-looking in profile, with lots of familiar elements including the J-Blade running lights and pug-nose grille, but it’s striking on the whole. The current top-spec XE S looks lust-worthy enough, certainly in comparison to its direct rivals. It’ll hold its own next to a 3 Series. The C Class has the measure of it, though.
What’s it like under the surface?
It’s the best Jag ever, in theory. It’s certainly the lightest (1,474kg). And the stiffest. And the most aerodynamic (Cd 0.26). And the greenest; it’s the first car in the world to use RC 5754 – an aluminium made mostly from recycled material.
What’s it like to drive?
Only a few residing in Jaguar’s inner sanctum have had the pleasure of powering one up, so we’ve no idea as yet. But the company promises it’ll set new standards in the mid-size segment. The stiffness and lightness should help it handle with admirable agility, like any Jag should, and it won’t be shy in a straight line, either.
So how fast is the Jaguar XE?
The current top model, the Jaguar XE S, uses the same 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine as found in the Jaguar F-Type, chucking out 340PS. In the F-Type, that’s good for 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. Here, in the lighter, more modern XE, it’s good for 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Will the Jaguar XE be cheap to run?
So it would seem. Also on offer will be a range of XE cars powered by Jaguar’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel engines, hooked up to either six- or eight-speed automatic transmissions. The most efficient of these will offer an impressive 75mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
Is the Jaguar XE better than the BMW 3 Series?
We want to say yes, because it’s newer, and because we’re British. But the 3 Series is a hell of a car. One of the best in the world, in fact. And it has a wider range of engines. And… The XE faces an uphill struggle, OK? But Jaguar is no pushover – there’s not a single dud car in the range, and the XE is extremely important, so you can bet your backside it’ll be a hell of a machine. Time will tell.
Do we know the Jaguar XE price?
Yes. It’ll cost roughly £27,000. That’s a lot more than the BMW 3 Series on paper (they start from about £23,000), but we’ll reserve final judgement until we see a final list of specs.
When can you tell us more?
Jaguar will reveal more about the entire XE range at the Paris Motor Show 2014. Watch this space.