The Jaguar XE S is a reminder fast saloons can and should make you feel alive, as Ben Griffin finds out on a very rainy day in Surrey.
I’ll let you into a car reviewing secret. The better or worse it is, the easier our job is. Think about it. Truly awful cars like the Sinclair C5 were so laughably horrendous the words almost wrote themselves. Gone are the days a car could actually tip over or catch fire. Or both.
Read: 2017 Jaguar XE S review
Likewise cars that do at least one thing immensely well make you forgive any foibles. For instance, a Skoda yeti may look like it’s been styled by Stevie Wonder, but no one cares when it’s so utterly practical.
So you’ll have to excuse my Christmas-type excitement for the XE S because I’m completely smitten. You see, I’m not remotely bothered that the Dynamic mode is so dangerously savage in the wet it should come with some sort of health warning. Fast cars should command respect, right?
Nor am I bothered about the fact it took eight minutes of fumbling to find the correct button to move the seat forward because, in my mind, it is merely Jaguar’s way of making you savour that moment before the 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine howls into life.
Little imperfections that would usually ruin the experience become part of the character simply because the XE S is so delightful to be behind the wheel of, which in performance saloon land is as important as it gets.
I’ve been lucky enough to drive a lot of cars this year but, quite honestly, few come close to the XE S in terms of driver involvement and excitement. It’s dangerously agile and sporty one second and able to soak up craterous potholes while bumbling around town the next.
It is so good, in fact, that comparing it with the BMW M3 and M4 didn’t just feel right, it felt necessary. Because although they are considerably faster, neither made me feel as lucky to be alive – and that’s a bit of a problem when they cost £11,000 more.
If you want something ridiculously fast for a Sunday blast through the country with a touch of luxury and a good-sized boot, the XE S is as good as it gets.
Whatsmore, it’s built and designed in Britain so buying one is an investment in our economy. At least, that’s another way I would justify the £45,000 asking price.
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