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XE PUTS ON A PERFORMANCE

Since the first SS Saloon in 1935, Jaguar has stood out for its distinctive design and feline grace. Now, in a review by Performance Drive’s Brett Davies, he says that in a market segment made up of similar looking vehicles, the 2020 Jaguar XE “stands out with a certain British charm”.

Available in Australia as the XE P300 R-Dynamic, Davies puts the SE variant through its paces and is immediately impressed by the price, equipment inclusions, luxury and powertrain when compared with its key European rivals.

LUXURY COMES STANDARD

The list of standard inclusions on the XE earned Davies’ approval, including Jaguar’s latest 10-inch touch-screen media interface with Touch Pro, climate control, sat nav with traffic sign recognition, digital radio, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A fully digital instrument cluster with configurable displays is “really easy to read, and you can configure the inner section to display trip data or a map or even a basic screen so you can focus on the essentials”.

Passenger comfort has been carefully considered during the design phase, with “space in the front commendable for this class”, and a cabin that feels open and airy, while in the back “passengers are unlikely to complain”.

IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMY

In figures that Davies acknowledges are impressive for a 2.0L, the XE’s turbo-petrol four cylinder engine “develops a lively 221kW and a strong 400Nm”, which he notes is substantial torque for this engine category and will “effortlessly propel the 1523kg XE up to highway speeds, and sometimes over them without you even meaning to”. And with fuel consumption of just 6.7L/100km, this is a car that promises both superior economy and performance.

Taking the XE P300 out of the suburbs, Davies finds it “loves to cruise on the highway, [with] enough grunt in reserve for overtaking...It’s relaxing and comfortable”. The XE really shines when the time comes for “a spirited blast up the mountain”, offering a direct and highly engaged feel, with immediate and consistent steering capabilities.

Jaguar vehicles are renowned for their high quality ride and the XE doesn’t disappoint Davies, “especially compared with some market contenders”. Rushing down a mountain road he encounters “various dips and sudden rises…to see how it would cope. And it coped wonderfully. It always feels planted and in complete control”.

AN OUTSTANDING ALL-ROUNDER

After a week behind the wheel of the XE discovering exactly what it was capable of, Davies loved that it’s “something different to the somewhat conservative German rivals. The fact the P300 is the most powerful 2.0L turbo in its class also provides some bragging rights”.

Taken by the super-engaging handling, Davies could tell “a proper driving enthusiast has heavily influenced the engineering and development of the overall dynamics”. And while he looks forward to what Jaguar does next for this class, in the meantime he concludes that the XE “continues as an outstanding all-rounder. You should be attracted to it, physically, but also by its enjoyable driving manners and distinctive elegance”.