First drive: Jaguar XE

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The XE’s design may pay homage to Jags of old but this is a compact executive imbued with attitude writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? Designed to muscle in on the lucrative prestige market dominated by its key German rivals this is without doubt the most important car Jaguar have ever built . With over two billion invested the XE is designed to transform Jaguar from a niche manufacturer into a major player.

First impressions of the new Jaguar XE? With long, athletic yet smooth lines and honeycomb grille, that nod to the badge’s halcyon days, Jaguar’s new XE is a strikingly good looking car. But the real beauty of this newcomer is underneath this svelte exterior.  The XE is a completely new car, with 75%  of  the  body and chassis made from  aluminium, making it light and unique in its class.

What about the interior?  Inside the cabin is classy and the front bucket seats are beautifully supportive. The  dashboard  is laid out logically, interior trim materials all feel high quality, and the attention to detail is better than ever.

Jaguar XE on road? Where the XE really shines, however, is behind the wheel. Flick the switch to dynamic mode and let the supercharged V6 S unleash the full 340bhp and 450Nm of torque. On a racetrack in Navarra, Spain it proved exhilarating with a razor sharpness but even more impressively on the road the diesel is almost as good to drive. It  sticks to the road really well and is soothingly quiet inside. The manual gearbox works like a dream but it you don’t like grappling with gearboxes, there is also an eight speed automatic option.

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How much?
Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date but we would expect the XE to be priced in the region of €40,000. Available from launch will be the 180bhp automatic and the V6. Three more versions join the range in September the 163bhp 2.0 litre diesel, in manual or automatic, a manual version of the 180bhp and a 240bhp 2.0 petrol.

Will it break the bank to run? The XE adopts Jaguar’s Ingenium diesel engine, a newly-developed unit designed to power Jaguars and Land Rovers into the future. In its most-efficient form the 2.0-litre diesel XE  (163bhp) claims 99g/km of CO2 , 3.8 litres per 100 combined and €180 road tax. The 180bhp verson emits 109g/km, returns 4.2 litres and costs €190 road tax while the most efficient petrol version delivers 200bhp and 7.5 litres per 100 combined. But if efficiency is not your concern the one to opt for special order supercharged 3-litre V6 340bhp.

How safe? There is a huge range of safety equipment to safely cocoon you; apart from the reassuringly  strong aluminium body shell, there is also electronic traction and stability control, six airbags and ISOFIX child-seat mounts in the rear.

What about my options? Our test car was fitted with Jaguar’s Adaptive suspension that blends body control and comfort perfectly. There are two other suspension set ups to choose from Comfort and Sport but the optional and more expensive Adaptive system is money well spent.

 

3 words to describe the Jaguar XE: Puissant; Polished; Prudent

 

For more information on the Jaguar XE, check out the Jaguar Ireland website, their facebook page or follow Jaguar Ireland on twitter 

 

Geraldine Herbert

13th May, 2015

 

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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