It was at end of my high school days; I was performing well at the karting tracks, fighting for the title to be the top kart racer. Driving the maniacal rear wheel drive Rotax go-karts around those bends, feeling the vibration of each and every kerb I hit at the apexes in my spine and the fear of oversteering and crashing into the tyre wall, had me. This fear gently went off and I started enjoying the act of going sideways. Soon it became amusing. All I recollect is that a rear wheel driven automobile is the perfect recipe for happiness.
But what if you are a young executive working your bottoms off in a multinational company and have a family who thinks that you are one responsible youngster. Your choice eventually shortens down to those stodgy cars with mega boot space and acres of leg room at the back seat for your matured parents also the feature list that describes that the car has a zillion safety features. Jaguar apparently has an answer now to such a need.
Presenting the Jaguar XE, younger kin to the already beautiful XF, it is the new entry-level car from brand Jaguar. Though entry-level, it comes with an amazing presence. The front is reminiscent of the much larger XJ, which is a brilliant thing, the headlamps have a beautiful J blade LED lamps running towards the grill presenting the latest design language of the brand. The kink in the bumper lips gives it an aggressive stance while standing still. The side profile is very similar to the outgoing XF with high rise window line and smooth creases all over the body line which looks quite prominent in this particular ‘Bluefire’ shade. The design past the B pillar is very coupe-esque and blends in well with the boot.
The rear of the car, on the other hand, looks very well proportioned. With the cuts and creases being sharp and cohesive to the overall design. To some the rear and the front have a lesser match, for me, it does the job rather well. The two-piece tail lamps wrap around the back and are reminiscent of the F-Type sports car, especially at night.
Get inside and you will be welcomed by the steering wheel lifted from none other than the magnificent F-Type supercar. The instrument cluster is easy to read with larger graphics and very good illumination. The dashboard sits low and is very easy for shorter people to adjust to for day to day driving.
The in-control infotainment display is probably the easiest in car multimedia system I have come across in ages. The connectivity to your media devices is extremely simple, unlike the rivals which make you fiddle through several functions to get connected, add to this the Merdian sound system sounds glorious.
The seats are one of the best in business and hug you well so you don’t toss around when you are hitting those bends driving between your home and work. The rear bench, however, is best for 2 adults on a longer journey as the transmission tunnel and protruding central console does eat up space for the third passenger. However, short trips won’t be bad. Legroom at the rear is very good and shoulder room is decent enough to accommodate my gossip loving fluffy aunties. The boot is generously sized due to the narrower loading area it does take time to put in and pull out your golf clubs.
The backlight of the start-stop button throbs like the heart of the feline and urges you to let loose the 237 bhp strapped inside the 2 litre, 4 cylinder turbocharged engine, the same engine that does duty on its larger siblings the XF and the XJ. The gear knob presents a visual drama rising up from the central console.
All of this power is channelized to the rear wheels by the 8-speed torque converter gearbox by ZF and unlike the smooth shifts that we are used to in the Germans, the shifts are prominently felt, especially at higher RPMs. There is a ‘dynamic’ mode which sharpens up engine response and shift timings but lesser it does to the jerks felt at every upshift, the instrument dials glow red and there is an absolute sense of occasion of going fast.
With the lighter body weight due to the aluminium intensive construction of the XE, it manages to hit a 100 kmph in 6.8 seconds which in our books is pretty fast. Switch off the electronic stability programs and give the throttle pedal and shove at a corner and it goes berserk and true insanity is unleashed.
The XE on the corners feels extremely balanced and controllable even when I was going crazy behind the wheel doing scary things (P.S. In a controlled environment). It does absolutely feel a step up from the mundane German rivals in terms of the emotional appeal it gives out to the purists. The suspension, on the other hand, feels stiffly sprung. It does glide through smaller undulations but it is the larger potholes and broken surfaces which filter through noticeably. But the same suspension setup on a twisty road is extremely rewarding as it holds down the weight well and negates any possible roll.
A well-balanced chassis, simplified and effective design, extravagant materials and a dash of emotional ecstasy. It really truly is a car that would appeal a lot to the hardcore driving enthusiasts. I for one have been left with no complaints whatsoever. A beautiful work of engineering indeed.
Images – Archit Kishore
Cruise Control with Automatic Speed Limiter (ASL)
Hill Launch Assist
Brake pad wear indicator
Electric Parking Brake (EPB)
Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVBB)
Speed Proportional Power Steering
Electric powerfold door mirrors with heating and auto-dimming
Heated rear screen
Heat insulation glass, green, all-round
Bi-function HID Xenon headlamps
Rain sensing windscreen wipers and automatic headlamps
Driver Seat with Memory
Front Seats Power Lumbar – electric adjust (4 way)
10×10 way Electric Front seats
Power Adjustable Steering Wheel (reach and rake)
Front armrest with storage compartment
Sunglasses Holder in Overhead Console
Dual-zone climate control
Rear passenger air vents
Auto-dimming rear view mirror
Premium Carpet Mats
Electric sunblind for rear windscreen
Rear armrest (with cupholders)
Meridian Audio System
Interior mood lighting
20.32cm (8) Capacitive Touchscreen
Driver and front passenger airbags, with seat occupant detector for passenger
Front side airbags
Dynamic Stability Control & Traction Control
Front Parking Aid
Rear Parking Aid
Jaguar Smart Key System with Keyless Start (Stop/Start button)
Hazard lights under heavy braking
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Space saver spare wheel
Pedestrian Contact Sensing
|Engine||2.0L / 2.0L|
|Power||200 PS @ 5500 rpm / 240 PS @ 5500 rpm|
|Torque||320 Nm @ 1750 rpm / 340 Nm @ 2000 – 4000 rpm|
|Transmission||8 speed AT / 8 speed AT|
|Mileage||13.06 kmpl / 13.065 kmpl|
|Top Speed||237 kmph / 250 kmph|
|0-100 kmph||7.7 / 6.8|
|Kerb Wt||1547.8 kgs|