Earlier this year The Versatile Gent drove the diesel version of the all-new Jaguar XE, the brand’s most aerodynamic, most advanced, smallest and lightest car ever.
This time, we are aboard the XE-Portfolio 25t, powered by a 177kW/340Nm direct injection, turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder, coupled to an eight-speed auto that sprints from 0-100km/h in just 6.8 seconds.
There’s little wonder the Jaguar XE, with a muscular stance, streamlined profile with delicate lines and a low swooping roofline is so pleasing to the eye. It is another creation of design guru Ian Callum, who penned the Aston Martin DB7, DB9 and Vanquish as well as the Jaguar F-Type, XJ and XF. In Australia, he is best known for his design work on several HSV’s.
Inside, it’s very inviting and whisper quiet. The superbly crafted dash flows seamlessly into the sculptured door panels and centre console, highlighted by piano black panelling and satin chrome garnish.
Soft leather seats offer comfort and support and the analogue instruments neatly meld with the integrated, eight-inch infotainment screen at the top of the centre stack, the heads up display and other technologies.
Keeping you entertained is a hi-tech 11-speaker Meridian entertainment system, and I always enjoy watching the rotary dial gear shifter ceremoniously rise out of the console at startup. While the XE is roomy enough up front, its sporty profile robs the rear of head and legroom.
Jaguar has a strong motorsport heritage with victories at the Le Mans 24-hour enduro, the Bathurst 1,000 and the first ever Australian Touring Car Championship and while the XE is quiet, comfortable and convivial around town, it’s the open road that showcases its sporty credentials.
Of the multiple drive modes on offer, Dynamic mode captivates the driver’s senses and brings out the best of the slinky cat. A crisp engine note is accompanied by strong drive out of corners, thanks to its eight-speed gearbox keeping the power bang in the torque sweet spot.
Complementing its get up and go is razor sharp electric power steering, that boasts a fantastic silky movement. The XE corners with vigour sticks to the road like paint and is unruffled by mid-corner bumps, swales and corrugations.
Jaguar’s engineers deserve kudos for designing XE’s inherent sportiness that hasn’t come at the expense of ride quality, which remains composed and supple at all times. Body control is excellent and keeping enthusiastic motoring in check are solid feeling big meaty disc brakes.
As you’d expect Jaguar XE range boasts the latest safety features including camera technology that enables the autonomous emergency braking function, lane departure and blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, auto high-beam, a full spread of airbags, plus traction and stability control.
The brilliantly executed, all-new Jaguar XE Portfolio 25t is sure to ruffle the feathers of the established German premium brands. It’s handsome, dynamic, quiet, luxurious, comfortable, well appointed, a joy to drive and competitively priced at $70,116 plus on road costs.
For more information on the Jaguar XE range head to the Jaguar.