8 Things We Discovered After Living With A 335bhp Jaguar XE S For Five Months

Our time with Jaguar's sexy 3-series rival has come to an end, so we're taking a look back at what we learned from the experience

The toughest test we put the XE through came just over a month ago, when we put it up against the BMW 340i - its direct rival. The BMW felt quicker thanks to its punchy twin-scroll turbo straight-six and is better built, but when it comes to driving fast, the more playful Jaguar is the most enjoyable to be behind the wheel of.

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When filming our big Mazda MX-5 generations test earlier this year, something occurred to us. ‘My’ Jaguar, Adnan’s BMW E46 M3 and Alex’s turbocharged MX-5 are all quite similar in performance, so rather than having them sitting in the sidelines all day, we figured we’d do a few not terribly serious drag races.

Thanks to the shockingly poor surface and a few big puddles it wasn’t exactly a scientific test, but the heavy, luxury-festooned Jaguar was very closely matched to the MX-5 and the M3. Oh, and unlike the MX-5, the Jaguar coped with all that abuse without later getting stranded in a car park in Germany in a pool of its own oil…

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While some Jaguars - the F-Type S, for instance - come with limited-slip differentials, the XE makes do with an open diff plus a torque vectoring system. But does it successfully mimic a proper LSD? See for yourself…

4. Do the wrong thing, and you’ll seriously anger the sat nav

8 Things We Discovered After Living With A 335bhp Jaguar XE S For Five Months

About two months into the loan, the XE had to go back to Jaguar to have a few things inspected. One of our complaints was the temperamental navigation system, which failed on us several times. And thanks to a helpful commenter on our update piece about the issues (thanks Adam Q!) we were able to find out exactly what caused one of the nav system’s issues.

It happens if you take out the system’s SD card with the car off (easy to do by accident as it’s next to the USB slot), then turn the car back on without re-inserting it. Do that, and the car simply won’t recognise the card, unless you turn off the ignition and return a few minutes later. And yet if you take the card out with the car on and put it back in, the infotainment system doesn’t give a damn. Weird, right?

With electric and heated everything coupled to a smooth ride (yep, even on those gorgeous 20-inch ‘Propellor’ rims), it doesn’t take long to get used to the XE’s relaxing outlook on life. That means when you drive something less cosseting, it can be a shock to the system. I found this out by going from the XE to a tuned Toyota GT86 and later from the XE to our new Honda Civic Type R longtermer. CT Features Editor Darren, however, went one step further by driving the Jaguar back-to-back with the barebones Zenos E10 S…

6. The XF and F-Pace feel much better built

When getting the XE together with the XF, it's a case of playing spot the difference...
When getting the XE together with the XF, it's a case of playing spot the…

During the XE’s loan period, I drove a couple of XFs and was on the launch for the F-Pace SUV. Both are built on the same platform as the XE, but both feel much better built, with nicer materials and newer components in places - the trip computer screen in the middle of the dials, for instance.

8 Things We Discovered After Living With A 335bhp Jaguar XE S For Five Months

While it’s to be expected that the less expensive XE feels less expensive inside, I do wonder if it’s suffered for being the first car to be built on Jaguar’s new platform. Unlike the XF and F-Pace it was a completely new car - pretty much from the ground up - when launched, which is always going result in a less polished car.

7. It could be the one to beat after its mid-life update

8 Things We Discovered After Living With A 335bhp Jaguar XE S For Five Months

It’s important to note that the XE isn’t just a left-field alternative you’ll choose based on exterior/interior looks and the way it drives. It’s a bonafide contender in its hard-fought class. But is it best in that class? Not quite, thanks to the aforementioned clunky infotainment, the slightly disappointing build quality and the fact it doesn’t have a whole lot of space in the back or in the boot.

But as mentioned in the previous point, this car is all new. It doesn’t have any direct predecessors to learn from, and a few tweaks by the time of the inevitable facelift could well turn it into a class-leader. Sure, the packaging can’t really be changed, but expect the quality to improve, that crappy nav to disappear and be replaced by the (currently optional and far superior) InControl Touch Pro system, and the ageing V6 to be swapped for one of those rumoured Jaguar straight-sixes.

Just took what'll probably be my last drive in the XE S. I'll miss this handsome devil. #cars #Jaguar #XE #V6

A photo posted by Matt Robinson (@ctmatt201) on

When Darren took the keys to the XE for the last few weeks of the loan, I felt pretty sad seeing it disappearing down the road. Would I have become as attached to something like an Audi A4, BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-Class? I don’t think so. And that’s the XE’s greatest achievement: in a boring segment, it’s a car you’ll actually find yourself wanting.


Joshua Lue

XE with a diesel - underwhelming
XE with a supercharged V6 - spectacular..!!

05/24/2016 - 09:26 |
44 | 2

I agree. I’d say if you can get the XE S than that’s definitely the best car in its class. But it doesn’t seem right with, say, a 2.0-litre diesel.. If that has to be the engine choice, than you’d probably be better off getting the C-class or the new A4

05/24/2016 - 10:48 |
8 | 0

XE S is an amazing car

05/24/2016 - 10:47 |
6 | 0

why everytime I hear more about the XE I like it less and less, and I think its really not as good looking as everybody says it is.

05/24/2016 - 11:52 |
2 | 2
Luke 21

DAB Radio 😂😂

05/24/2016 - 13:24 |
0 | 0
DIY Or Die

“Keeping up with a Miata” It actually didn’t, it lost! xD

05/24/2016 - 20:02 |
6 | 0

Like I said though, it’s not sitting in a puddle of its own oil 500 miles from home, so I think we all know the real winner here ;)

05/24/2016 - 21:03 |
14 | 2

They’ll eventually stuff a V8 in there right? Right..??

05/25/2016 - 01:18 |
2 | 2
Albin Nygren

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Imagine if they put the F-Type’s V8 in there, with that sound…

05/25/2016 - 07:38 |
2 | 0
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Almost certainly. Apparently it’s actually easier to fit a V8 in than the Ingenium diesels, since a V engine isn’t quite so tall.

05/25/2016 - 10:33 |
2 | 0

For 6., same “cheap” material such as some of the plastic stuff in the interior is present for the 2017 XE in USA. I’m guessing it is more in terms that the XE is the “lower” in the luxury ladder compared to F-Pace and XF which is why it is built the way it is.

05/25/2016 - 04:50 |
0 | 0
Diego Calcagno

“ Is it a proper Jag ? “ (James May)

05/26/2016 - 13:04 |
2 | 0



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