THERE’S lots to admire about the updated second-generation version of the Jaguar XE.

A quick scan of the exterior reveals a more assertive appearance, largely due to the more shallow and wider grille and slender LED projector headlights at the front, bold graphics and LED tail-lights at the rear.

Step inside and you enter a world of luxury where blinged detailing and premium materials consume the senses.

There’s a new 12.3-inch Touch Pro Duo infotainment system already seen in the I-Pace, gorgeous leather seating, the ClearSight digital rear view mirror that first appeared in the new Range Rover Evoque and some of the very latest technology that uses artificial intelligence to learn the preferences of drivers and adjusts seat, mirror, audio and climate settings automatically.

Even the standard versions get 18-inch wheels (you can opt for 19 or 20-inch versions), electric leather seats, all-LED headlights and a rear view camera.

So far, so good then, and it just gets better when you hit the road.

Still utilising 75 per cent aluminium for the body structure, the XE comes with double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension to achieve its agile handling.

There are three engines to choose from: a 180PS Ingenium diesel unit that offers the best fuel economy at 57.6mpg and a 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol with 250PS and 300PS outputs.

I sampled all three and came to the conclusion that the 250PS petrol unit offers the best experience.

A Jaguar should be hushed yet sporty, be a performer but also a most comfortable, quiet carriage.

The diesel might offer exceptional fuel economy, but it’s noisier than the rival BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 offerings and therefore I cannot recommend it.

On the other hand, the 250PS petrol unit is all you need in terms of both performance and comfort, and although it might miss out on a 0 to 62mph sprint by nearly a second compared with the 300PS unit it will provide enough power for most buyers.

The decision to offer two petrol variants but only one diesel engine reflects the growing tendency towards petrol choices.

Jaguar has also taken stock of the shrinking demand for manual versions and now offers the XE only with its excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox. This makes sense, and the inclusion of paddle-shifters and a sport selection mode on the pistol-grip gear lever negates the need for a manual option.

There’s a choice of drive modes, with comfort being the default setting. Dynamic mode amplifies the car’s sporting character with faster gear shifts, sharper throttle response and increased steering weight. There’s also the ability to shape the driving experience using the optional configurable dynamics feature.

The driving experience can be further enhanced by the addition of an excellent head-up display and there are six option packs to choose from.

There does remain the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel transmission, largely depending on your need for extra traction, and if you want a more performance-orientated character you can opt for an R-Dynamic model that brings sporting influences inside and out and alternative wheel styles.

Jaguar design director Ian Callum has ensured that the interior features extensive use of soft-touch materials, premium veneers and door trims that are not only pleasing on the eye but practical too.

You feel connected to the outside world thanks to the superb infotainment system, yet cossetted from intrusion.

Upfront, it’s all good news, but although there is improved stowage it is still a relatively tight fit for rear seat passengers.

There’s choice of S, SE and HSE specifications, alongside the R-Dynamic option, with prices starting at a reasonable £33,915.

Expect to see a hybrid version in the new year as Jaguar Land Rover moves towards offering an electrification option on all its cars.

For now, the XE has been rejuvenated and offers an engine choice that should meet most needs.


Jaguar XEHSE R-Dynamic 2.0 250PS

Price: £40,335 (XE range from £33,915)

Engine: 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol producing 250PS

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, driving rear wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 6.2 seconds

Economy: Expected 40mpg

CO2 emissions: 155g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ***

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ***