Great luxury car brands have great entry-level models. These pathway vehicles are crucial: they sell in large volumes, funding the brand’s more exotic projects. And they lure in savvy, young buyers: an opportunity to create long-lasting brand loyalty.
Until now, Jaguar have lacked a great entry-level car. The success of the F-Type and XF might have hauled the British brand out of old-hat perceptions, but substantial growth has evaded the Big Cat. So for five years, Jaguar been working away on two projects they hope will catapult sales towards German territory: an SUV called the F-Pace, and this—the XE small sedan.
It’s compact, rear-wheel-drive, mostly made of aluminium, and available with a range of punchy four-cylinders—or the F-Type’s supercharged V6. On paper, then, the XE sounds like it could make some trouble for the big three in this class: the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4.
The Jaguar is devilishly handsome. Where Mercedes has steered the C-Class into decidedly more grown-up, elegant design territory, the BMW is plain, and the (brand-new) Audi looks near-identical to the one that preceded it, the XE is a breath of fresh air. XF and F-Type flows in its muscular lines, and the low-slung cockpit spells proper driver’s car.
But Jaguar is a relatively small British brand. It lacks the enormous resources of the German marques. Surely they can’t just walk in and build the best car in the small premium sedan class.
Or have they done just that?<
Key specs (as tested)
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