Home / Auto / Jaguar XE 2019 REVIEW – Why it is a genuine rival to the BMW 3 Series

Jaguar XE 2019 REVIEW – Why it is a genuine rival to the BMW 3 Series


Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Aimed at those who are attracted by style and performance, the revised XE is positioned to take advantage of the company car market and those drivers taking the cash option from their employer and making their own choice. These buyers will, therefore, typically be professionals who cover higher annual mileages.

To help buyers, Jaguar has simplified the XE range and is now offering the car with a choice of just three 2.0-litre turbo-charged engines; a pair of petrols with 250bho or 300bhp or a 180bhp diesel.

Jaguar doesn’t offer sales forecasts for its cars, but in 2017, the pre-facelift XE sold 13,300 units with a quarter being bought as proper company cars with the rest being retail purchases.

However, Jaguar admits that within the regular showroom sales there are thought to be a high number of drivers using the cash from a business, be that as small business owners or cash allowances instead of taking a car from a lease company.

Of the trio of engines available, the 250bhp petrol is expected to be the best seller with the diesel taking a smaller percentage despite the company car appeal of the car.

Jaguar’s designers have maximised the fact that they’re only working with a saloon. Design boss Ian Callum is unapologetic about the fact that the swooping rear roofline impacts on rear-seat headroom because the result is a great looking sporty saloon.

As the upgrade is simply a facelift, the silhouette of the XE (and that limited rear headroom) remains unchanged. What is different on the outside is a new front bumper and the front and rear sets of lights. Jaguar has adopted new LED technology that means the front lights can be made narrower while the grille is made larger to improve the strong look of the XE. At the rear the XE now has new, brighter, lights in a chicane design.

Under the bonnet, the new three-engine line-up sees Jaguar offer, in the majority of cases, slightly higher power than its premium rivals from companies such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

The 2.0-litre petrol engines, in either 250bhp or 300bhp form are refined and let little unwanted, harsh, noise into the cabin. What they do offer when you’re working them harder is an involving sequence of turbo whistles with a pleasing exhaust note higher up the rev range. For outright performance the 300bhp petrol is the engine of choice with an impressive 0 to 60mph time of 5.4 seconds and a 155mph top speed.

Diesel may no longer be the popular choice among many drivers, but in the XE’s case Jaguar could be on to a winner. In the XE the diesel is the only car in the class that conforms to upcoming new emissions regulations.

Meeting this standard early, means business drivers won’t be hit by the 4 per cent diesel surcharge on company car tax. It equates to a saving of around £50-60 saving every month for a 40 per cent tax payer over a non-qualifying car. It’s the kind of thing that could see a turnaround in diesel sales for Jaguar’s XE.

The diesel may be the pick for company car drivers, but it’s also the slowest of the three engines both in terms of acceleration and top speed (0 to 60mph in 7.6 seconds, 140mph).

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

None of the engines are particularly impressive when it comes to fuel economy though. The diesel wins some points here with a 50.7mpg average figure. The petrols hover in the low to mid-30s.

All three engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all three can be picked with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. However, picking the diesel with the latter means it no longer meets those aforementioned new emissions standards.

The way the XE drives has been changed little with the mid-life facelift. That’s no bad thing, it means the XE is one of the most comfortable cars in its class while also offering suspension that, in combination with well weighted steering, is still fun in sweeping corners.

Tighter and twistier roads, however, can catch it out because the brakes can be difficult to modulate due to long pedal travel and an eight-speed gearbox that can leave the engine in a part of the rev range that lacks shove.

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

But this is the end of the bad news. Refinement levels have been improved with a new sound-suppressing windscreen and this pushes the XE to among the best in class in this respect.

It’s also in the cabin where things have taken the biggest leap forward. Now all materials that look soft-touch are exactly that. Alongside the improved materials, there’s now more technology in the car both as standard and on offer as an option.

Standard kit across the range includes powered front seats, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a new infotainment and satnav screen and a new part-digital central screen with analogue dials.

Jaguar is also pushing its Touch Pro Duo which adds a second (hence ‘Duo’), lower, control screen below the navigation and it’s also promoting the clever digital rear-view mirror, as seen on the new Range Rover Evoque. Both options are appealing and give the XE a premium feel.

The result is a package that’s appealing for both company car users and for private buyers. But importantly, the upgrades to the looks and the cabin keep the Jaguar feeling special and different from the German premium rivals and gives people a reason to choose the Jaguar.

Jaguar XE 2019

Jaguar XE 2019 (Image: JAGUAR)

Logbook Lowdown

Model: Jaguar XE

Price range: £33,915-£45,835

Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 2.0 250bhp & 300bhp; Turbo diesel – 2.0 180bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 5.4 seconds, 155mph top speed (300bhp 2.0 petrol)

Average fuel economy: 50.7mpg (2.0TD)

CO2 emissions range: 130-168g/km

Rivals: Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS, Volvo S60

Rating: 8/10



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