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- Styling could be perfect for this niche
- Best-foot-forward supercharged V-6
- Lightweight road feel
- Excellent front seats
- Competitive pricing
- Exterior styling isn't head-turning
- Diesel is great; concept is now tarnished
- Starting over on resale value
With the 2017 XE, Jaguar hopes it's built a better 3-Series. In many ways, it has.
The 2017 Jaguar XE is the British luxury brand's long-awaited BMW 3-Series fighter—though by our yardsticks, the BMW has great new rivals in the Cadillac ATS, Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4.
For the initial 2017 model year, the XE will come in three powertrain flavors: a gas turbo-4 called the 25t, a diesel turbo-4 dubbed the 20d, and a supercharged V-6-powered 35t.
With the XE, Jaguar promises a true sport sedan in every sense, with rear-wheel drive, a lightweight body mostly composed of aluminum, and at launch, an exciting 340-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine.
We think it works—damn well, at times. We rate it at 7.4 out of 10, giving it ups for great ride and handling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Jaguar XE styling and performance
When your target is the BMW 3-Series, the Bimmer's shape is a convenient place to start the styling process. Jaguar's XE clearly has those German influences in mind. The XE reworks a BMW-like silhouette into one with better balance, though it's well underplayed. The jewelry's kept in moderation, though top models get a mesh grille, chrome fender vents, and big front air intakes, while R-Sport models get their own body kit and wheels.
The XE's cabin steers clear of the glitz baked into the XJ. It's a functional look dressed with lots of black gloss trim on the console. The rotary transmission control rises from a sea of black gloss plastic, while center stage is given over to a big new LCD screen, the showplace for Jaguar's brightly re-rendered infotainment interface.
You can't accuse Jaguar of burying the performance lead with the XE. All three versions offer good acceleration and sublime road manners.
Base 25t models get a 240-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, good for 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Rear-wheel drive is the only configuration. The XE has a turbodiesel with 180 hp, some lag but excellent mid-range power, and acceleration times of 7.4 seconds. At the top of the range, the XE 35t sports a 340-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; it's a bit gruff but earns its stripes with 5.0-second acceleration times. All are teamed with a sweet-shifting, paddle-controlled 8-speed automatic.
The big reason to choose an XE over its rivals? Ride and handling. The XE's double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension couple with electric power steering for wonderfully responsive handling. The XE tracks exceptionally well on freeways, and gracefully pushes its limits on back roads, with an elevated sense of composure that puts it at the front of this price and size class.
Jaguar XE comfort, safety, and features
By the numbers, the XE measures in at 183.9 inches long, riding on a 111.6-inch wheelbase. The XE has sporty dimensions, and that won't make back-seat passengers happy. The front seats are grippy where it counts, forgiving where they need to be, covered in leather in most cases. It's the back seat that draws complaints: like all the cars in its class save the new A4 and 3-Series, the XE has tightly trimmed head and knee room in back, and the doors make it difficult to clamber inside.
Since neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Jaguar XE, we're holding off on assigning it a safety score—but we'll point out base models don't offer a rearview camera, and only the most expensive R-Sports get the very latest safety advances, such as forward-collision warnings and automatic braking.
Base prices start from $35,895 on a base gas-powered XE, to $37,395 for the diesel sedan, to $42,695 for the XE 35t; to a gulpworthy $52,695 for XE 35t R-Sport with all-wheel drive. All cars come with power features; power front seats; a sunroof; and keyless ignition. They lack leather, a split-folding rear seat, and leather, but a 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty and service plan is included, and that's just great.
Upper trim levels add navigation; leather; wheels up to 20 inches across (big!), and a package of safety technology; R-Sport models get LED lighting and new front and rear bumpers. Major options include heated rear seats, surround-view cameras, and an 825-watt audio system.
Finally, Jaguar brings its latest InControl infotainment system to the XE in two flavors. There's a standard version with an 8-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth with audio streaming, and USB connectivity. InControl Pro ups the screen size to 10.2 inches and adds SD card navigation, mobile hotspot capability, and access via a remote app that lets drivers perform some functions from their smartphone, such as remote starting and locking or unlocking the vehicle. It's a colorful system with some familiar touch-and-swipe features, but it's occasionally finicky, and it's wedded to a thin-sounding audio system.
The Car Connection Consumer Review
- RWD 25t $34,900
- RWD 20d $36,400
- RWD 25t Premium $37,500
- AWD 20d $38,900
- RWD 20d Premium $39,000
- RWD 25t Prestige $41,400
- AWD 20d Premium $41,500
- RWD 35t Premium $41,700
- RWD 20d Prestige $42,900
- AWD 35t Premium $44,200
- AWD 20d Prestige $45,400
- RWD 35t Prestige $45,600
- RWD 20d R-Sport $46,500
- AWD 35t Prestige $48,100
- AWD 20d R-Sport $49,000
- RWD 35t R-Sport $49,200
- AWD 35t R-Sport $51,700
- RWD 35t First Edition $55,500
- AWD 35t First Edition $58,000