Jaguar introduced the updated XE sedan in India last December. A mid-life update for the smallest sedan in the British carmaker’s line-up gets some comprehensive changes in terms of styling, added features and equipment along with BS6 compliant engine options of the Ingenium family. What we are driving here is the SE P250 which is the top-spec petrol version. Let’s dive straight in and see whether the new Jaguar XE is worth your money over its German counterparts?
Contrary to the custom, the XE debuts a new design philosophy for the Leaping Cat and this will now be carried over to the other vehicles. Sleeker headlamps with J-signature and a slightly reshaped grille along with the reworked front bumper are part of this new design update. Adding to the sporty demeanour are those bulges on the bonnet which neatly culminates on the low-slung nose.
Interestingly, Jaguar has replaced chrome on the exterior with a black gloss finish which looks much better and aggressive in our opinion. We also loved the flowing silhouette of the XE. At the rear, the chicane-shaped kink on taillamp along with the ducktail bootlid, blacked-out diffusers integrating dual exhausts and flared wheel arches look gorgeous.
Overall, the updated XE comes across as a handsome-looking sedan. It stands out with sharp styling, bright colours, the right amount of bulges and creases along with well-sorted proportions.
Once seated, you’d instantly realise how modern the cabin has gotten over the outgoing model. Welcome changes include an all-digital instrument cluster and a tantalizing steering wheel design. We love how different kind of materials are infused together inside the cabin. Likewise, the centre console is dominated by a wide 10-inch TouchPro system which is the latest offering from JLR. Not only is the system simple and intuitive to use, it’s also quick. Thanks to its high resolution the multiple information display is readable on the go.
Below it, the air-con controls now get feather-touch buttons and large rotary dials. More importantly, the circular gear selector is replaced by a proper joystick which is much more convenient to use. On its either side, there are buttons for controlling various other vehicle functions. Another new addition here is the wireless mobile charging slot.
Even with the updated cabin, ergonomics of the XE’s cabin are bang on. You have great visibility all-around and every control falls to the hands with ease. There’s a manual adjustment for steering wheel but it can be adjusted for reach and rake. With fewer buttons on the steering wheel, it isn’t very handy but given how good it looks, we are ready to overlook this. Both front seats get electric adjustment along with lumbar support and ample storage places. You also get ample headroom and shoulder room upfront while the large sunroof adds a sense of space too.
However, taller people might not have a great time in the back seat of the XE. Owing to low roof height, getting in isn’t easy and on the inside the XE is strictly four-seater courtesy of the obstructive transmission tunnel and unwelcoming centre-cushioning. Besides that, the knee room is acceptable but could do with some additional headroom.
That said, the boot space of 455 litres is fairly usable but is the smallest in its segment. Dimensionally, it’s got enough length but could do with more width; nonetheless, the low loading lip adds convenience to slide in heavy baggage.
Under the bulging bonnet of the XE is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder BS6 petrol engine which produces 247bhp at 5500rpm and 365Nm of torque between 1500-4000rpm. The only transmission choice available is an eight-speed automatic. On idle, the motor is extremely refined and silent. But off the mark, there’s a marked delay between putting your foot down and the engine to respond, more so in Eco mode. However, once past that, the XE is a pretty easy car to drive be it in the city or on the highway.
Power delivery is linear while gearshifts are smooth and barely noticeable. However, the gearbox could do with little more eagerness as it takes its own time to go about doing its work. But the XE is no slouch – in our testing, it managed to do the 0-100kmph sprint in 8.72 seconds. Meanwhile, the Baby Jag was able to roll on 20-80kmph in 5.37 seconds and 40-100kmph in just 6.17 seconds.
There are three driving modes – Eco, Dynamic and Comfort. In the Eco mode, the response is subdued to extract maximum fuel efficiency by shifting early. Whereas, the Dynamic mode holds on to the gear for as long as it can, even shifting close to redline. We found the Comfort mode to be well, comfortable. In the this mode, the electric steering is light at low speeds for city driving but weighs up nicely as the speed increases. Even the engine response is tractable and you can slot it in Comfort mode and keep it there for all your driving needs.
With just two and a half turns going lock to lock, we also found the steering of the XE to be direct, predictable and providing loads of feedback. Thanks to the stiff suspension setup, there’s barely any roll and the lightweight aluminium construction of the XE also aids in superb body control. But it doesn’t mean the ride is stiff by any standards. Jaguar has managed to strike a perfect balance with the suspension as the XE absorbs everything you throw in its way with ease. Small bumps and bad road surfaces are barely felt inside the cabin and even sharped edged roads are comfortably taken astride. Apart from that, the ride remains flat at triple-digit speeds. What we’d have liked though is a nice soundtrack from those dual exhausts adding to the XE’s sporty character.