Alright so I’m an Englishman reviewing a Jag, don’t think for one moment I’m going to be biased or nostalgic in any way. I’d like to think, I’m going to look upon this marque like every other car brand and review this XE in the same impartial way as I do all the others and I most certainly won’t gush… Good luck with that, this is a Jag!
From as far back as I can remember the Jaguar brand has been an exciting, luxurious, stylish, expensive and yet affordable brand. It’s been marketed recently as a villain’s car (great to see the concept in Spectre) but to me it’s also been the car of choice for a wide range of hero’s. Simon Templar drove a white XJS in The Saint; John Steed drove an XJ 12C in The New Avengers, Inspector Morse’s Mark II, and the absolutely iconic E type was owned by the likes of Football great George Best and driving legend Jackie Stewart Plus who could ever forget Austin Powers’ Shaguar!
Founded in 1922, it’s a car brand that has had its fair share of turmoil and drama but one thing that has remained true is Jaguar’s good looks. Dashing, classy, and quite often jawdroppingly stunning; it’s a brand that continues to evolve in the exterior/interior design department and it’s as comfortable with the Gangsters in London’s East End as it is with the modern day hero’s and stars in Hollywood (where for some odd reason it’s called a Jagwahr).
The latest in Jag’s lineup; The XE was originally announced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014 before finally having its very fitting premiere six months later in (where else) London. It’s fitting because; for me despite the company being owned by the Indians, it is still a very true Brit automotive brand. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn’t have to travel the globe to get into the driving seat; I just had to battle against the Auckland traffic. Jaguar had arranged for me to pick up the XE R-type with the Black Pack fitted – lovely jubbly.
From first glance the bloodline is immediately obvious; as sitting proudly and all alone at the centre of its prominent grille is the Jaguar badge. Bi Function HID Xenon headlights squint ominously either side of the nose with L shaped running lights underscoring the look. It has a rising waistline that flows from the front to the back culminating in a flick to the rear boot lid and spoiler. The XE’s rear end has been specifically designed to have a muscular yet athletic look and has been deliberately cropped to enhance airflow. With the black pack Alloys, Black paint (with a hint of sparkle) and subtle use of chrome it is quite a sinister sight.
I slipped inside the cabin and immediately felt at home. The quality, the design, the well; Jaguarness of the interior is bang on. It has everything you’d look for in a prestigious car and yet it’s very uncluttered. Slap bang in the middle of the raised trim is a discrete jaguar badge; this trim then flows to the doors both left and right in a seemingly cocooning fashion. The XE’s infotainment system (incontrol Touch) is provided through an 8” touch screen with stretch and swipe motion usability; it’s simple to navigate around and connects to your phone seamlessly. The Meridian sound system pumps 380w through 11 speakers while the Sat Nav is clear and intuitive.
Foot on the brake and push button start, up pops the transmission dial. Gear selection via the turning of a dial – how cool is that. The XE R-sport has a 2.0L i4 Turbo Diesel with 132kw output and will let the Jaguar leap from 0-100 in 7.8 seconds all while keeping the efficiency down to 4.2L/100 combined. There are the usual drive choices Normal and Economy but the ‘fun’ is in Sport (bad boy territory) with the Dynamic mode selected; so I turned up the dial and spent most of my time right there. The XE feels light and very manageable; the fact that has a lightweight Aluminium platform would of course be the reason (but you get the sense that it’s incredibly strong too). Off the line it has a real pep about it and on the freeway it has an unwavering stoic stance – then you let it loose in the corners. Throw it around and the XE’s invisible wizardry takes over, Dynamic Stability Control, Engine Drag Torque control and Torque vectoring all combine to not just keep you on the road but give you the confidence to push even harder, hard enough to get you growled at by the wife – believe me!
The clever cat has another trick too, its ‘Adaptive dynamics’ modifies the XE’s response to the road conditions and to your specific driving, whether you are a bit of a nanna driver or have aspirations of being a racing driver, the XE has you covered. It’s constantly analyzing the cornering and accelerator/brake activity – to give you optimum controlled performance.
The seats are really comfy and are great for longer drives and the majority of the cabin layout is where you’d expect it to be. However, I did find that the electric window controls seemed to be on the wrong level, hard to describe and possibly different for other people but I found them a tad too high; I was messing with the seat memory when I should have been getting air. The R-Sport wheel with Chrome insert has a luxurious feel and has its fair share of buttons, I really liked the Adaptive Cruise control it is a simple one touch system (on and set with one push) and in true ‘hero’ style the XE wants to keep you safe. With lane departure warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and Autonomous Braking the Jag has you covered.
So; whether you’re a bad boy trying to be good or a good boy trying to be bad the XE should be on your shopping list. It has a look that is sinister enough to turn heads, has the power and handling to get you in and out of trouble and has a planet saving heart that any hero or indeed superhero; would be proud of.
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