★★★★| Jaguar XE R-Sport
Small Cat with BIG claws
What Have We Got?
Here we enter the world of Jaguar with their smallest and cheapest offering. Prices start from £34,315 or £37,065 for the R-Sport model that we have for reviewing this week. On paper and showroom appeal, it all looks good, but does the reasonably low price detract from what is in essence, a premium car? In other words, have corners been cut?
I am astounded by the XE. The petrol powered 250PS Ingenium is evenly matched to the 8 speed automatic. Throttle response is mildly lagging for a brief moment but that’s only because its throttle is set for snap-happy inputs. Default at low legal speeds around 20-45mph seems to be to drop it into second and sling-shot you down the road.
It works but can be a bit tiring. That said, it’s the R-Sport model so it does exactly what it says in the badging.
The other thing the XE does is handle with a surprising amount of composure. Having a near 50:50 split weight distribution contributes to the sure-footedness of the chassis and its handling characteristics. Double wishbone front and multi-link rear keep everything in check. It’s a wonder why they fit adaptive dampers to it when that setting does have a tendency to ruin the near perfect ride.
The only downside is the traction control system thwarts good fun progress. You have to be really stupid to unstick it when switched off, even in the wet.
The downside to its size is rear seat accommodation is on the tight side, more so for height. Legroom is reasonably good though.
Choices for interior ambience allow for colour changes within the dashboard and doors and it all goes to make for a pleasant cabin.
Some of the plastic quality lacks tactility but feels hard wearing and sturdy. The important bits that you need to touch do have a nice fit, finish and feel to them.
Living With It
It’s easy to live with. The handling alone makes this an absolute riot to drive should you wish too.
All the controls are the usual Jaguar mix from across the ranges with a reassuring clunky feel and if you like a mix of buttons and touch screen controls, this interior is for you.
One thing is apparent, you notice it at night at night time. There is no boot light!
There is a lot to like about the XE and l fear people walk past it to buy the German equivalents. From where I am sitting today, I pity those people. There is no scrimping in the XE’s refinement and its handling is beautifully poised.
I’ve come away with a regret, a personal regret for dismissing the smaller Jaguar myself. That’s my own fault and I can highly recommend them. Make me happy and pop it on your shopping list. You will not be disappointed.
Below average rear seat accommodation
Overly sensitive traction control
No boot light
Car – Jaguar XE R-Sport 2.0 250PS auto
Price – £ 46,000 (as tested with options)
MPG – 39.8 mpg (combined)
Power – 260ps
0-62mph – 6.2 seconds
Top Speed – 155 mph
Co2 – 165 (g/km)