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.

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.

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.

Most Popular

Porsche 911 Sally Carrera Special Edition revealed
Porsche Sally Carrera – front quarter
News

Porsche 911 Sally Carrera Special Edition revealed

Porsche’s been collaborating with Pixar on this one-off special that’ll be sold at Car Week for charity
12 Aug 2022
Best Impreza Colin McRae Edition review – homage to McRae's championship 555 racer
Subaru Impreza Turbo 555 – header
Videos

Best Impreza Colin McRae Edition review – homage to McRae's championship 555 racer

We drive an original Group A Subaru Impreza 555 rally car, as well as the £370,000 contemporary homage Best Engineering has created in its image
12 Aug 2022
Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2
Aston Martin DBR22 - front quarter
News

Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2

It’s another screen-less low-volume supercar, but the new DBR22 could pinpoint the future of Aston Martin design
15 Aug 2022