The Jaguar XE is, perhaps, the most awaited Jag in recent times. Widely referred to as the ‘Baby Jag’, the XE is important because it is the iconic. It enters a segment that is fast-growing throughout the world, and that makes it a sort of number cruncher for Jaguar. It’s just been launched at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo and sports a price tag which starts at Rs 39.09 lakh – making this the most affordable Jaguar you can buy. Here’s why we think it can be exactly what it has set out to be.
1 IT’S GOT THE STYLE QUOTIENT
That the XE hails from the Jaguar family is unmistakable, no matter where you look at it from. It’s got a fantastic blend of curves and creases and in urban environs, its home turf, the XE will never be lost in a crowd. It’s cool without being over-the-top – trust Jaguar to understand discretion and elegance. There are quite a few sporty touches to the design but overall, it still looks like the perfect car for your family. Looks rather nice too, in red and blue.
2 IT’S LUXURIOUS
The XE is all about understated opulence. Unlike in Jaguar’s bigger sedans, the XF and the XJ, the XE doesn’t try too hard to portray a sense of occasion. It is luxurious, but with a strong sense of functionality – this is important, given the wide spectrum of people it will cater to in different parts of the world. In India, the XE will be seen as a first step into the luxury car segment, but in Europe, it will also have to serve as a taxi cab. The balance, thus, is crucial to the XE.
3 IT’S GOT TOYS
You’ll know right from the moment the ‘handshake’ gear knob lights up that the XE is cool and futuristic. Jaguar has introduced something called the InControl apps, which connect your car to your smartphone and allow you to perform a variety of functions, apart from serving as a great conversation starter. It’s also got a very cool heads-up display unit, which tells you about crucial driving information without you having to take your eyes off the road. A Meridian audio package tops the list of features and provides a truly enjoyable listening experience.
4 IT’S GOT POWER
Jaguar has globally offered the XE with three engines, which are further divided into a total of five engine specifications. For those more interested in economy, there is the 2-litre four-cylinder diesel with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, which can be had in two specs – 160 bhp and 177 bhp. For those who like performance more than efficiency, there is the 2-litre petrol engine with two power ratings – 197 bhp and 236 bhp. And finally, for those who want sportscar performance without alerting the tax officials, there is the XE S, which borrows its 3-litre V6 motor from the F-Type sports car. Fans of discretion, rejoice!
The XE has a sporty feel to it. It is, thanks to generous use of aluminum and magnesium, pretty light and this shows in the way it translates all that power as well as responds to steering inputs. It isn’t what we’d call ‘aggressive’, but it offers a surprisingly good balance between agility and comfort. If you love driving, you will love the XE. For international markets, the XE is offered with wheel sizes between 18 to 20 inches, and India might get smaller sizes to incorporate higher profile tyres, for the benefit of ride quality. Still, the XE has sportiness in its blood, so not much may be lost when it comes to India in 2016.
6 IT’S FAST. AND FURIOUS
You don’t expect a car of this league (or dimensions) to produce respectable performance figures, but the XE surprises on this front. Even with its more sober, four-cylinder engines, the XE loves being revved to the limit, and the 8-speed automatic transmission (with a manual paddle-shift override) is genuinely quick. The XE S is most mind-boggling of all, given that it takes just 5.1 seconds to get to 100 kph from standstill and has an electronically-limited top speed of 250 kph. Oh, and did we mention that it sounds great when being driven fast?
7 IT’S GOT THE BADGE
What really works in the XE’s favour is not only that it wears the Jaguar badge, but that it does justice to it. Jaguar has built a reputation for creating cars that appeal to the elegant, and to take that formula and put a lighter price tag on it could never have been an easy thing. The XE, however, manages this quite brilliantly. Every aspect of the XE, be it its looks, interiors, choice of engines or the way it drives, reeks of years of research and development. And it is this attention to detail that has made the XE absolutely worth the wait. Most of all, though, it has retained all of Jaguar’s traits – luxury, style and subtle elegance – which will make the XE its neighbours’ envy, whichever part of the world it finds a home in.
8 IT’S READY TO FIGHT
This is the toughest challenge for the XE – the competition. On its own, it is a great car, but it is nearly a couple of decades down on its competition. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is its most established rival, and with a recent model year change, the C has made life really difficult for the others in the segment, namely the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series and the Volvo S60. The Jaguar XE has its strengths in terms of looks and performance, although it might take a few blows in terms of interior space and Jaguar’s after-sales network. Still, it’s a very promising car that looks great and is fun to drive.