You know every once in a while you come across something that has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' about it, meaning that there's a force which can't be articulated and it draws you towards this object or person. That's the sort of feeling I got when I first drove the Jaguar XE. It was a rather dull day in Auckland and I was driving Jaguars around a racetrack with other car journalists. It might sound like a dream day to some but to me, it was a nightmare! I'm not saying I din't have fun, it was rather that I was scared out of my wits because the first car I drove around the track was the new I-Pace followed by the F-Type SVR and then the Jaguar XE which was a welcome relief. That's when the Jaguar XE became one of my first loves, it had power that a novice like me could use and control around a track. It had that Jaguar flair about it and despite having half the power of the SVR, I somehow liked the XE more!
Anyway, I digress! Back to the XE, you'll know it as Jaguar's baby sedan. It's the little one of the pack, meant to compete with the BMW 3 series, Merc C-Class, Audi A4 and the Lexus IS. The Jaguar has to hold its own in some pretty formidable territory. Believe me, this is a Jag that can do exactly that because it has the X-Factor.
People may say that it's not a proper Jag or call it another commercial product just built to sell units but they are wrong! The Jaguar XE has been created and sculpted with as much care as Jag took when they created the old XJS for example. Hmm, on second thought maybe a bit more care since the XJS' weren't famed for their build quality. When you stare at the front of the XE which you will, it's just hypnotic to look at. This is the R-dynamic model after all so you are faced with a growling Jaguar set in red. It just looks fantastic! A big cat does need to breathe after all so Jaguar have given it big nostrils to cool that 2.0L turbo Ingenium engine. If I've said it once then I've said 100 times, that engine is ingenious. I'm not just saying that because it sounds nice along with Ingenium, it is properly special. The engine produces 400Nm of torque and 221kW of power, I may not be a mathematician but I am a car enthusiast and believe me, when I say that those figures are quite impressive. But as some famous person once said, power is nothing without control. They were obviously referring to the XE because it moves with grace and poise while putting 300bhp into the road beneath you. The car is rear wheel drive but the grip is so astonishing that it fooled my colleague into thinking that it was four wheel drive and he's been a motoring journalist for bloody ages! (sorry Dave)
Just as the exterior captures one's fascination with its statement lines and sharp details. The interior does the same but this time we get to touch the various lines and shapes that make up this luxurious cabin. The craftsmanship is just excellent and that is something we have come to expect from Jaguar over the years as they have given us great interiors across the range. You get all the standard Jag stuff like perforated leather and polished aluminium trim, not that we're complaining though! Sitting in the XE feels different to that of the Germans, you feel special in the XE. You feel like you've got a license to do some tax dodging or tell people that you've got a Jaaag and not be hated for it.
The Jaguar XE is a special car and it really makes you feel so while driving it. It may be the baby Jag sedan but it still maintains those Jag driving credentials that have become such an important part of the brand. It's a great car but what's even cooler is that you can go around telling everyone that you've got a Jaaag!
GREAT TO DRIVE, build quality could be a little better though
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Words and pictures by Matthew D'souza