19-04-2019

Jaguar XE Driven

REVIEWS

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“Mujhe Junglee Billiyaan Bohot Pasand Hain; Wild Cats.”Do you like wild cats? They have intrinsic qualities of being agile, aggressive and belligerent. Because, if you like the wild cats, you will definitely like the car that we are reviewing next. But before we come to the car, let me also apprise you, that the wild cats have another interesting quality of hunting down their targets, no matter how dark it is outside. It is their ability to be quick off the line and change directions without much fuss, make it possible for them to kill their trap. They say, a cat is never home, empty handedly

Don’t worry, we are not reviewing any cat in the literal sense, but we are, in the an actual sense, and this wild cat is Jaguar’s newest baby- The XE

Jaguars world wide are addressed as Wild Cats. There's a saying, "A cat is a perfect example of sophistication minus civilisation" but this doesn't apply for the Jaguars. They're sophisticated but at the same time civilised. Sophisticated because, there's quite some attention-to-detail gone in designing these beauties and civilised because these look absolutely understated when you drive a Jag to your board meetings or even to Taj for your date-night.

What’s true for the other Jaguars, is true for the Jaguar XE too, its classy, its understated, its elegant, its agile and its fast. Are you someone who is looking for these qualities in his/her next compact premium sedan? I think we found one for you. The Jaguar XE, why are we saying so, read on…

Let’s look at the brief history of the car, before we deep dive in to the first drive review.

The XE was first announced (not displayed) at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and was first debuted in September, 2014 in London while the final production was commenced in April, 2015. The XE was replacing the Jaguar X-Type globally. The Jaguar X-type was launched in 2001 to compete with the compact executive sedans like the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C Class. Thus in the bargain, the Jaguar XE, competes globally as well as in India with the likes of the 3 Series, C Class and the A4

Now let’s look at the car that we have, shall we

Design Language - Exteriors

The XE was designed by Ian Callum. Ian Callum has been the man behind the timeless designs of the Aston Martin DB7, Vanquish and DB9. He wanted the Jaguars to be perceived as cool. True to his vision, people perceive the wild cats not only as cool but also aggressive and understated. The Jaguar XE is one such car that you simply can't stop drooling at it. It’s quite interesting to note that most of the body parts of this Jaguar are made from Aluminium, keeping the weight of the car down.

The front of this jaguar is flank by large trapezoidal grill, with cateyeslike bi-xenon headlights and J Shaped day time running lights completing the front look. While we would have loved Jaguar to update the XE with all LED headlights as the competition, but bi-xenons do the job of illuminating the road ahead well in the night. The bumpers have integrated air dams which give an aggressive stance to the car. The power lines on the bonnet carry a beefy look and overall enhance the visual appeal of the car.

Like the front, the side profile does not create any drama, however is minimalistic at the best. The 17 inch alloys with multi-spoke design look subtle yet classy. The window line, has a sloping roofline and adorns chrome lining, which adds a dash of luxury for that sethji sitting either behind or front. Not only does it oozes luxury, but also sort of plays the role of adding a character line to the car. At an overall height of just over 1400 mm, the car sits pretty squat and low. This aids in the way the car handles, more on that later.

The rear is quite bland as compared to the sides and the front. No drama what so ever, flanked by large taillights, twin exhaust pipes and the lettering effect of the badging for the car, complete the rear. The Rear-End is reminiscent of the XF.

Design Language- Interiors

Open the front door, the door opens in typical three position lock, feels heavy and sturdy. Step in and the first thing you notice is, how well the interior is screwed together. It feels right up there, with its German Rivals, barring few things here and there. What also attracts you is the fact that it is super stylish. I particularly loved the wrap around hood around the dash, its called the river hood and its being inspired by the Italian speed boats.

The dashboard is flanked by a centre screen, which has bright resolution, though not as crisp as its German Rivals, but does go about doing the job well. The audio duties here are handled by the Meridian 340 watts System, more on that later. Parking Sensors and Satellite Navigation comes standard across all the variants on offer in India, which in my opinion is a good thing. The cars cabin feels premium inside out. I particularly loved the placement of the AC vents, very unconventional yet fashionable. Considering they are placed on the lower side, they help in cooling the cabin much more effectively, as there is no direct sunlight impacting their efficiency.

The steering wheel is absolutely chunky to hold and has a lovely thumb recesses, to give it a more sportier feel. What is segment first here is the electronic adjustment for the reach and rake, which nobody in the competition offers. That makes it so easy to find a perfect steering position. The instrument console, though is analogue and flanked with MID in the centre, does not look too bad to look at. In this day and age of Virtual Displays, you can still live with it.

The seats are super comfortable and good place to be for your long drives. They provide adequate lumbar support and thigh support, with various electronic adjustments to get that perfect driving position.

Step into the rear seat, and you realize, this is a compact luxury sedan. Sloping roofline ensures, that if you are 6 foot and above, your head will brush against the roof. The foot wells are quite small, so with a larger person sitting in the front, the rear passenger is going to have extremely limited leg space. Owing to the bigger centre tunnel, three people abreast on the rear seat are going to be a complete no no.

However, having said that, the rear seat is a comfortable seat to be, you sit in with the cushioning ensuring you remain fresh and comfortable even after being hours behind in the rear seat. What also aids is the rear AC vents which we found were effective enough in this summer. No complains what so ever.

In Car Entertainment

The 8 inch centre console screen doubles up as the infotainment, communication and entertainment system.The Portfolio Variant of XE that we had for the review came with 380 watts Meridian Sound System. The lower variants, namely the Pure and Prestige come with Jaguar’s own sound system. What it misses over the Portfolio variant is the amplifier and subwoofer unit.

The car has usual connectivity modules, like Bluetooth and USB, but misses out on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The sound from the Meridian System, is easily one of the best in the segment, the bass notes though sound muffled, but the low and mid notes bring in lot of clarity to the music you are playing. What we particularly did not enjoy is the lag in the touch screen. It took some time to respond and react to the commands, reminded us of the older android days.

Now shall we get behind the wheel and see how this one drives. But before that, it’s a good idea to see what’s underneath the bonnet.

Performance- Engine and Gearbox

Jaguar offers the XE in Petrol as well as Diesel engine options.The 2.0 litre Petrol is available in two state of tunes,198HP/320 NM Torque or 246HP/365 NM Torque. No prizes here for guessing, which one is the faster and more agile.

However, what we had for the review with us was the Diesel Portfolio variant, available only in one state of tune. This 2.0 litre Diesel Mill churns out 177HP/430 NM of torque. The engine has enough and more grunt to propel this cat forward with agility.What aids in the cars agility is the fact that almost 75% of the car is built using aluminium, which also further improves on the fuel efficiency figures.

What also helps this Jaguar leap forward is the 8-Speed Sequential Shift Automatic Gearbox. What surprises is the gearboxes ability to be in the right gear at the right time. This also helps you to drive comfortably through the city traffic.

One put off that we had with this engine was the ruff note that seeped inside the cabin. Not expected from a 60 lac sedan, especially in today’s day and age, where at one end in the new Audi A4, you just can’t make out that you are driving a diesel mill. Probably Jaguar needs to work more on adding the sound deadening material.

Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability

Exclusive was the second word for this Jaguar, remember. Moment you fire engine by pressing the start stop button, the gear knob rises up from thecentral console. That feels straight out of a Star Trek movie scene. Alright, with the engine fired up, gear selector on D, the car makes progress. And the progress is intense. BMW may believe that they make the ultimate driving machines, and their 3 Series is the epitome of this statement in its segment. Sorry there guys, but the Jaguar XE handles better than the BMW 3 Series. It is definitely the most fun car to drive in its class, it has got the best steering, paired with one of the best chassis balance.

The steering weighs up very well. It’s direct and you exactly know what the tires are up to. The steering is very progressive, very precise and gives you lot more control while you are driving. No wonder I said, it sets the new benchmark in the handling department.

The Jaguar XE rides also well. The suspension is well tuned and is able to mute most of the undulations on the road. You don’t feel the need to have an adaptive suspension setup in this car, as the standard setup ensures that the car is sharp enough to react to your steering inputs. However sharply you turn in or turn out, the car keeps the occupants in place without tossing them much. The ride quality is absolutely comfortable.

The XE comes with 4 different driving modes, Eco, Normal, Dynamic and Rain. While the Eco Mode auto activates the auto start-stop and the makes the responses lethargic on one hand, the Dynamic mode brings in the beast in this car. Put the car in Dynamic Mode, and the chequered flag appears in the MID, hinting at you to push the car harder and harder. The fun part is, harder you go, the XE becomes more alive and agile. The car attacks the corner like nobody’s business and plasters a wide grin on your face. You can continue with your momentum even in traffic. Aah don’t worry about the traffic, as other people on the road, end up giving you way, moment they notice a wild cat coming their way. Probably in their rear view mirrors, they must be seeing a Jaguar hunting down on them, which may be leading them to give way quickly without much of a haggle.

Overall, this Jaguar XE is a fun car to drive, is finely balanced, whether you are looking at a car which rides well, handles well and has power from the word go.

The Verdict

2015 was when this baby Jaguar was launched to globally replace the X-Type. Ever since then, there have been minimum updates in the car. In this span, Audi updated their A4, Mercedes-Benz face-lifted their C Class and woah, BMW launched a brand new 3 Series. Which by the way is making its way to India soon.

Does that mean, you should be discounting this Jaguar yet? And choose amongst the three Germans? Well let me tell you a story around this.

2014, I was in Bhavnagar, a small city in Gujarat and was having a partner program meet in my erstwhile organisation. So after the meeting, I was having lunch with one of the channel partner, and he asked me a question, “Sir, in Mumbai, you may be getting to see lot of expensive cars every other day isn’t it?” I said, yes, premium cars are common there. Quickly came the next question, “Sir, do you get to see a Jaguar?” Well, I said, “yes, I do occasionally see a Jaguar.”“Must be super na”, came a quick reply. I could see the excitement to know more about the Jaguar in his body language.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, just comprehend the earlier paragraph. The inquisitiveness around the Jaguar in a tier III city, was unrivalled. He didn’t ask me about the Big 3, but was very curious to know how does the Jaguar look in person.

But should that be the reason you should be buying one? Definitely not, but your reason for buying this Jaguar is for a fact that, this car loves to be pushed, and you love to push your car, this car loves to attack the corners, and you love to attack them as well, this car has stellar audio setup, and you love your music library too, exclusive is the second word to this car, and so are you, and lastly ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, she’s a wild cat, and so are you.

For that you, the Jaguar XE is the perfect car. She may not have the silence of the A4, the aura of the C or the roominess of the 3, but she has the exclusivity of being Jaguar XE.

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About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  



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