Jaguar XE review - Jag's smallest saloon tackles BMW's 3-series head-on - Jaguar XE performance and 0-60 time

XE's chassis is one of the best but lacks sparkle in other areas

Evo rating
Price
from £33,915
  • Fluid chassis, responsive and well-weighted steering, comfortable cabin
  • Design lacks character inside and out, four-cylinder engines uninspiring

The XE is sporty by nature and, in 177bhp trim at least, the 2.0-litre diesel doesn’t let the side down. It is possible in the manual version, with six rather than eight forward gears, to get caught out by the lack of torque below 1900rpm. This lack of low-down oomph makes it tricky to pull away and it’s difficult to judge just how many revs to use. The auto, that requires no input other than pressing the accelerator to pull away, is far easier, naturally. This isn’t reflected in the diesel’s 0-60mph time though; the manual and auto both achieve the standard dash in 7.4sec.

Once things are spinning and you’re on the move, though, the diesel is capable of a refined push – plenty to enjoy the well-balanced chassis and enough to make overtaking relatively effortless. It's a shame refinement lags behind that of several rivals though; this isn't a diesel you'll feel inclined to extend beyond its punchy mid-range.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Obviously swifter is the 236bhp four-cylinder petrol. However, when you start to push on and extend the 2-litre’s performance the drivetrain begins to unravel. The engine note takes on a coarseness that’s totally unexpected after what has been experienced at lower speeds and not typical of a Jaguar.

As the revs increase to the there’s very little in the way of turbocharged surge, the power delivery is very linear but it isn’t especially memorable. The claimed 0-60mph time of 6.0secs certainly seems plausible, though.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The 296bhp petrol is the current pick. Further fettling seems to have smoothed out the Ingenium engine and more insulation has quietened its harssher tones, and there's even a cultured background warble under acceleration. It's still not an engine that revels in high revs, but it's no longer unpleasant, and at 5.7sec to 62mph it's quick too.

What it isn't is a particularly compelling alternative to the now-departed supercharged V6. While that engine wasn't perfect it at least had some character and the growling exhaust note added an extra dimension that none of the four-cylinders can match.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/review/202972/aston-martin-dbx-review-the-first-performance-suv-to-deliver-on-its-promise
Reviews

Aston Martin DBX review - the first performance SUV to deliver on its promise

Aston Martin's first SUV is more than a good SUV, the DBX is the best car the British firm makes
10 Aug 2020
Visit/bugatti/21646/new-bugatti-divo-deliveries-begin-ps44m-hypercar-hits-the-road
Bugatti

New Bugatti Divo deliveries begin - £4.4m hypercar hits the road

The very first examples of Bugatti’s Divo hypercar have rolled out of its Molsheim HQ gates
7 Aug 2020
Visit/maserati/ghibli/202975/maserati-ghibli-trofeo-revealed-sober-dressed-bmw-m5-rival-finally-arrives
Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli Trofeo revealed – sober-dressed BMW M5 rival finally arrives

Some seven years after the launch of its executive saloon, Maserati has given it a V8 – with 572bhp
10 Aug 2020
Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020