Now we have to say looking at what Land Rover has achieved in the Indian market in the last few years, despite some competition from Germans, sister brand Jaguar still has some catching up to do. It hasn’t been easy to impress the luxury sedan buyer despite having an impressive collection of cars like the XF and the XJ amongst others. The bar has been set high by the Germans but having a more affordable car in the portfolio is only going to help the brand attract more customers. The fact that Jaguar has one of the most respected design heads in the automobile world reflects a lot in their cars, and the story is no different with the XE. You can pick your gender and call it beautiful and handsome and it will fit the bill very comfortably.
In terms of design the XE has the lines and the cuts to make it look appealing and create a space for itself in the segment. It does remind you of the more premium XF from certain angles and therefore looks every bit as part of a larger family. But it does have its individual characteristics as well and that includes things like the attractive bulge in the bonnet, the signature single frame mesh grille as well as LED DRLs. From the rear as well the lines and cuts ensure appealing looks but the story doesn’t end there as there as these design cues also help make the car aerodynamically better.
Inside the XE as well, the impressive design story continues and attention to detail is something that is really notable. The seats are a great mix of quality, fit & finish as well as color. The tan brown colour seen on cars from the JLR brand and does look very exclusive in the segment. In the XE however it is only seen on the top variant. The combination of black and tan on the dash as well as doors also makes the car stand out. A sunroof adds a lot of value and the 8 inch touch screen infotainment system is easy to use and comes with lot of utilities. The steering wheel too is nice to hold and comes with a lot of controls and the power window switches also are nicely placed between the armrest and the window glass. However the rather small size of the rear windscreen means that rear visibility isn’t the best in the segment. Thankfully there’s rear parking camera at least on the top portfolio variant.
The new XE is for the time being is only coming in a petrol avatar just like the new Audi A4. However this engine is tuned for different power outputs in different variants. The 2.0 litre turbo charged engine gives 240 PS on the top portfolio variant but gives a lesser 200 PS on the lower variant. It’s a good peppy engine that is fun to drive and the presence of paddle shifters gives a bit more to the enthusiast. The eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox responds very well to the driving needs. Torque is distributed well and that at most rev counts there’s ample power to play with. In the city conditions the stop start feature on the car helps in squeezing out a little bit more mileage from the car. On the portfolio variant the car reaches a speed of 100 kmph from stationary in about 6.8 seconds and that is impressive for an engine of this capacity and power. The XE can up to a top speed of 250 kms/hr.
Ride & handling
The ride is good on the XE but it is very evident that the system is tuned to deliver good handling dynamics. It’s a good fun car to throw around and as long as the surface if favorable the XE dominates the delivers a good engaging drive. There are different driving modes on the car. These include the normal and eco modes, the latter tuned to deliver greater fuel efficiency. Then there’s the dynamic mode which is more for the enthusiast and definitely more fun to drive. And then there’s something called the winter mode that reminds of the European lineage of the car. It’s a great feature which helps in conditions where there’s snow on the roads or the surface is wet. The driving modes have different steering, engine and even Air condition settings and this is very evident when you change modes while driving the car. That this is Jaguar’s first ever car to come with an electric steering only helps matters.
Now this car may be a bit of a fuel guzzler but you end up liking this car once you spend some time with it. It’s a compelling car to drive that has a well performing engine and also comes with a lot of good features you can play with ensuring you won’t get bored. It also gives you the exclusivity you’re looking for in a segment dominated by the Germans. And if you’re willing to discount the shortcomings like the expensive price tag and the absence of a diesel engine there’s hardly anything to complain about. The XE is priced at 46 and a half lakh rupees ex-showroom, Delhi for the top variant, something that may not work in its favor. In fact the price comes dangerously close to some cars that belong to one segment above. The lower Pure variant at 39.9 lakh rupees will help you save some money for sure and still you most of what the former offers.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.