Jaguar is on the prowl.
The jaw-droppingly gorgeous all-new XE is the most aerodynamic, most advanced, smallest and lightest car Jaguar has ever made and it has Mercedes, BMW and Audi firmly in its sights.
A low front, streamlined profile with a rising hipline, heavily-raked windscreen, coupé like roof and chrome accents, crown it the supermodel of the mid-size luxury sedan set.
Inside, the Jaguar XE is equally captivating; library quiet and sumptuously appointed.
Electrically adjusted Windsor leather seats cradle, heat and cool your body while the carved dash, sculptured door panels and deep centre console, create a cockpit-like feel, that wraps around the driver, yet it is also generous enough to comfortably carry four adults.
It also boasts the latest infotainment technology, including an 825-watt Meridian, symphony hall digital sound system housed within the eight-inch touchscreen that also boasts a reversing camera, climate control, satnav, phone and music streaming with several popular apps included. The XE also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, so connecting to the internet is a cinch.
But there is much more to the XE than a long list of creature comforts and state-of-the-art infotainment technology.
Jaguar has focused their attention firmly on making the XE the driver’s car of the segment and behind the wheel it instantly impresses.
The Portfolio is the most luxurious model of the range and the test car was fitted with the Ingenium four-cylinder 2.0 litre turbo diesel, coupled to an eight-speed auto transmission.
Push the start button and the diesel kicks into life, while inside, the circular gear selector rises majestically from the console adding to the theatrics.
The Ingenium engine is whisper quiet except when first started and with 132 kilowatts and vitally 430 newton metres of torque, the XE Portfolio is plenty powerful enough in all situations. It’s also kind on the hip pocket, sipping a shade over 7 litres of diesel, for every 100km travelled.
The XE has four drive modes to select from: Winter, which enables it to travel on low-traction surfaces like snow and slippery grass, with the driver only having to steer, after setting the speed. Other modes are Eco, Normal and Dynamic. I spent the week toggling through the latter three and found that Eco made the Jag feel a bit dull, Normal was a fabulous all-rounder and for most the one and only mode to use. However, Dynamic was my choice, with its sharper steering, quicker gear changes, instantaneous throttle reaction and tauter suspension springing the feline to life.
What I found remarkable about Dynamic mode is that while it teases out the the best from the sublime chassis that make it so rewarding to drive, it doesn’t do so at the expense of the beautifully supple ride. Sharp handling complimented with excellent body control and beautifully responsive electric power steering – a first for Jag – plus solid feeling brakes, complete the exhilarating on-road experience, that is on par with its competitors.
The all-new XE also boasts a raft of the latest active safety technologies including, camera technology that enables autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and auto high-beam assist., Other standard life-saving technologies include a full spread of airbags, traction and stability control.
At $70,400 (+ORC) the Jaguar XE Portfolio Diesel takes the fight up to the established (read German) players. It has excellent brand cache and heritage, is utterly enjoyable to drive, quiet, comfortable, generously equipped and drop dead gorgeous. Qualities enough to be front and centre on any shopping list.