Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 i4 180PS – Automatic

The Jaguar XE arrived on UK shores in May 2015, neatly filling the gap in the Jaguar/Land Rover range, occupied by rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes C Class and the Audi A4.

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This is a car from the manufacturer that we at SBT towers had been looking forward to for some time. We’ve heard promises of a new ‘driver’s’ car from Jaguar, and whilst we were not expecting the performance of an F-Type, an improvement (in the excitement stakes), from the now-well-established XF, would be a win.

The XE is built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull factory, and we’ve heard that one will come off the production line around every 75 seconds or so! The state-of-the-art facility is part of a £1.5 billion investment by Jaguar Land Rover in the UK and significant of their dedication to British manufacturing and heritage, that remains an important factor for the company. Especially when it comes to the export market.

Back to the competition. With the XE being the new diver’s car in the range, its intention is to take the mantle from the BMW 3 Series. To achieve the ideal 50:50 weight distribution, engineers at Jaguar/Land Rover’s R&D facility decided to use heavier steel doors instead of aluminium versions. Without them, the weight distribution would have been 47:53.

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So far as preference is concerned, I’ve driven the 3-Series (perhaps its closest rival) in various guises and it is really rather good. The XE has a few flaws, which can’t be ignored, while the BMW doesn’t really have any to speak of. That said, every time I drive a BMW I’m left cold. I know I’m about to drive something brilliant (technically), but the excitement is always lacking and there’s no getting away from the perception of the (BMW) driver. Sitting in a Jag feels special. It feels like it was made by motoring enthusiasts, not mathematians and physicists.

With this in mind, it has to be said, that I would, if pressed to part with my hard-earned cash, opt for the Jaguar. They’ve hit the mark with this car and whilst it may be a generation or two away from being perfect, it’s a great car to drive, its bare body shell weighs less than any of its rivals at just 251kg, and will definitely make you consider the longer, bendier route home.

The other, more established brands in this space are just that – more established. Safer. Perhaps more predictable; and what’s better than being a great drive? Well, being a great drive, and being different.

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Base Price: £35,425.00

Price As Tested (Inc. Optional Extras): £45,543.00

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