Jaguar’s XE R-Sport AWD Saloon – A Gripping Tale Of A Classy Cat!
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Jaguar has recently updated its compact executive saloon, the most significant change being the availability of the company’s full range of frugal Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
With diesel rapidly falling out of favour, I chose to review an R-Sport model with a 250PS petrol engine and all-wheel drive.
First a little history lesson...
Cast your mind back to 2001 when Jaguar was under Ford’s ownership and a new small Jaguar was born in the shape of the X-TYPE. Based on the Ford Mondeo, many scoffed that this new model was not a true Jaguar.
Early X-TYPES were exclusively all-wheel drive which was an undoubted boon in terms of handling and grip in poor weather conditions.
2015 saw the arrival of a new small Jaguar – the XE and late in 2016 an all-wheel drive version was offered. It was only available to begin with in diesel guise and when I had one on test in January of this year, a little light snow allowed me to test its traction in the very worst driving conditions. It proved to be capable and sure-footed.
So what of the latest Jaguar XE AWD with petrol power and R-Sport trim?
The 250PS 2.0-litre engine is not lacking get up and go and if you are in the mood will sprint from rest to 60mph in under six seconds. Top speed is a heady 155mph if the autobahn beckons.
Jaguar’s familiar eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox is fitted, allowing the considerable power to be deployed with a mere twitch of the right foot. It’s super smooth in operation too and paddles are fitted if you want to take control.
Driven with restraint the Ingenium engine is nicely muted but it can get a little vocal when fully extended.
In normal driving conditions, power is sent exclusively to the rear wheels, saving fuel. When a loss of traction is detected by the Intelligent Driveline Dynamics, up to 50% of the power can be directed to the front wheels in the blink of an eye (or 165 milliseconds to be precise).
Also helping to keep the XE on the straight and narrow is the Adaptive Surface Response system. This allows some remapping of the engine and stability control according to conditions.
Driving on wet roads, the AWD system inspires confidence and unobtrusively goes about its job of keeping the car on the straight and narrow.
An XE in any guise makes a great driver’s car, with nicely weighted steering and lack of body roll though fast corners. The ride is a tad on the firm side, not helped by the test car’s rather stylish optional 19-inch alloy wheels, but will undoubtedly suit the keener driver.
Is there a better driver’s car in the class? Probably not!
I travelled over 550 miles during my week with the XE and achieved just over 32mpg. This included a representative mix of motorway cruising, some fast A and B-road work and a modicum of town pottering. Jaguar quotes 42.2mpg for the combined cycle, so I would suggest my figures are reasonably representative of what is readily achievable.
I should mention at this point that the 240PS diesel variant promises up to 54.3mpg and looking back at my notes achieved a round 45mpg without difficulty.
I would therefore suggest that the higher mileage driver will still be financially better off with diesel power. Furthermore, the diesel engine’s greater torque (500Nm versus 365Nm) makes for better and more relaxed performance in real world driving.
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Boot space is a reasonable 450 litres and though a little on the narrow side, it makes up for it in depth.
Equipment levels are high on all XEs, though I was quite aghast to find my test car had over £17,000 worth of delicious options fitted, raising the price to over £50,000.
I would certainly choose many of these niceties; the Head Up Display Pack (£1,350), 10-way Electric Front Seats (£805), Adaptive Cruise Control (£1,565), Adaptive Dynamics (£840) and the Cold Climate Pack (£455).
If you are tall, leave the optional sliding panoramic sunroof box unticked as it eats into the available headroom front and rear.
I have been lucky enough to own a few rear-wheel drive Jaguars and have generally left them untouched during the worst seasonal weather.
I currently own a 2001 X-Type, bought for less than £1,000. Its all-wheel drive traction is commendable and the performance from the sonorous 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine spirited. I won’t dwell on the fuel economy figures though.
The AWD option on the XE will undoubtedly be a boon for the rural motorist who needs to keep moving in all weathers. However its benefits in terms of safety however will be felt by all and is highly recommended.
Fast Facts (as tested)
Jaguar XE R-Sport 2.0 250PS AWD
Base Price £35,645 (Including options £52,765)
250PS 2.0-litre Ingenium turbocharged petrol engine
8-speed automatic transmission
0-60mph in 5.8 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Combined economy 42.2mpg
Emissions – 154g/km CO2
Jaguar’s XE R-Sport AWD Saloon – A Gripping Tale Of A Classy Cat!, 21st November 2017, 14:47 PM