Time Well Spent : Jaguar XE 300P HSE AWD R-Dynamic – 9/10

The Jaguar XE recently gained a sprinkling of welcome revisions. Does the model range still cut a dash?

You betcha ass it does…

The XE R-Dynamic with four wheel drive and 300ps petrol engine.

The Jaguar XE – a car so criminally ignored by the buying masses. Not so much as Jaguar’s fault but one of bad timing as the whole world lost their marbles – in my opinion and fell in love with the damn SUV. The original XE was a car of many talents, a couple of which include the fact that they look rather mouth-watering in the right colour / wheel spec and as a driving experience is a lovely car to drive with a red mist before your eyes. With a well balanced chassis, loads of grip and communicative steering its right up there with a BMW 3 series in terms of smiles per miles. A few items did let the side down in terms of tech and spec – Jaguar now seem to have put right most of the handful of wrongs.

You’ll now find a new updated Infotainment system with clearer, crisper graphics and faster working Sat-Nav. Not only that but its now compatible with Apple and Android systems with a high level of sound quality you’d expect with a Meridian made audio system. Staying with quality, there’s a notable improvement with interior fit and finish. Some of the actual materials still seem a little lacking for a premium marque but the way its all bonded, screwed and stitched together feels like a great deal more care has been bestowed. The once wonky feeling column stalks seem better too.

Getting to the heart of the matter: The 2.0 turbo Ingenium unit is smooth and sounds great when you press on. Mated to an eight speed auto gearbox, it offers great performance and lovely motorway refinement.

The slightly updated styling makes a handsome beast even sleeker, but by far the most impressive factor about the it is the sheer enjoyment you get behind the wheel. The turbo ingenium 2.0 is tuned to offer 300Ps and a hefty 400Nm of torque. In layman’s terms that means you get a lot of bangs per buck out on the road. The XE has very soft engine mountings as well as balancer shafts in the engine which has a direct effect when it comes to refinement. It doesn’t sound nor feel like a four cylinder 2.0 – more like a well installed V6… especially when you crack on.

Despite the extra friction of four wheel drive, the usual sprint to sixty is covered well under six seconds and where allowed, rally on to an electronically limited 155mph. Motorway cruising is sheer bliss with only a mildly notable level of tyre roar entering the cabin. Wind noise from the doors and the large mirrors is virtually non existent and when traversing a smooth un-rutted tarmac road the sheer overall refinement is marvellous. But its not all about dual – carriageways and motorways, turn onto a decent A road and the Jaguar takes on a different dimension when it comes to fun.

The trim is still below par compared to some German metal and a bit short of the WOW factor but the attention to detail and build quality is much improved. Good looking new climate dials and the revised infotainment at long last features Apple and Android software with superb sound quality.

Not in a long time have I experienced such poise and grip in a family sized saloon. A Jaguar has always been about good road manners and its here the R-Dynamic really shines. She clings onto the bends with weighted up steering and not once did I hear a peep of complaint in terms of tyre squeal. Not so much as a degree of body roll either and if you spool from one lock to another it’ll dart from left to right with Go-Kart aplomb and flatness. You would think the payoff for that would be a spine crushing ride – not so. Yes its firm and controlled but still contains the right amount of compliancy.

Efficiency wise, it would be fair to say the 300Ps XE with four wheel drive isn’t top of the heap when it comes to fuel economy. Over a week of mixed driving I returned a not too shabby 29mpg, had my shoes been made of a lighter material (ahem) I reckon a returning figure in the low thirties would be reasonable to expect. With such a great driveline, its hard not to press on that little bit harder than usual.

Overall, I walked away deeply impressed with the refinement, the power delivery and incredible level of composure and grip the AWD XE has. The notable improvements in terms of equipment and build quality are really there to be seen, however the normal XE shortcomings of poor rear passenger space and a miserly boot still prevail. Also, we need to see an improvement in terms of reliability – I’ve heard some rather worrying stories from owners who weirdly still adore their cars despite the problems.

Its a splendid machine – honestly!

AUTOBRITANNIA RATING: 9/10

 

The Humble opinion:

Erm, well there isn’t much more to say. Its cramped, still isn’t as tough feeling as a BMW, has questionable resale values and is way off the mark in terms of competitive finance PCP deals – and you know what… I couldn’t care less.

The drive, the handling, the feeling and the styling of the car in my eyes makes the aforementioned above pale into insignificance. The updated XE is one of the very best driving sensations available right now. The moment you clip the seatbelt in you almost feel like you are connecting your soul into the chassis.

Vices are pleasingly few. As many will know, there is still a pitiful amount of room in the back and an unwary newcomer will still clonk his / her head on the A pillar when jumping in when in a hurry, but you soon learn. The key thing is we need to see an improved level of reliability regardless of how good current Jaguar dealers seem to be when it comes to customer care.

To many, especially at this level, choosing a new car is an emotive choice rather than a rational or distress one. The Jaguar XE in this trim has emotion and ability in spades and I applaud that. If you are worried about the space in the back for kids or passengers – sell the former on eBay, refuse to carry the latter… and enjoy the ride

 

MODEL TESTED: XE 300P R-Dynamic AWD

PRICE: Starting from £45,995

Driveline: 1997cc 16v turbo petrol with intelligent all wheel drive and eight speed automatic gearbox

Power / Torque: 300ps @ 5500rpm with 400Nm available from 1500rpm

Economy*: 29.4mpg on test (*WLTP claims are 23.8mpg to 39mpg)

Co2 Output: 167g/km

Performance*: 0-60 in 5.7 seconds with limited max of 155mph

* = Manufacturers or Govt claimed data

What’s Great:

  • Incredible grip and handling
  • Vastly improved interior
  • Comfortable and quiet
  • Dashing good looks
  • Strong and linear performance
  • Well Equipped

What Grates:

  • Still lacks the solidity of an Audi A4 or BMW 3
  • Poor rear and boot space
  • PCP deals are way off the mark in terms of affordability
  • Needs to perform better in the reliability tables

For more information of the Jaguar or XE range CLICK HERE

AUTOBRITANNIA would like to thank Lindsay Dipple at Jaguar Land-Rover for arranging the test vehicle.

One comment

  1. Great revoo Mike and sounds like a lovely car. You have a point about reliability though.

    I have a 2.2D XF and have I had some problems over the years. The trouble is there isn’t much else out there l like enough to replace it with.

    Louis

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