2015 Jaguar XE Australian launch road test and review.
Jaguar Land Rover is planning an planning a revolution of the Jaguar brand and it starts with the 2015 Jaguar XE sports saloon.
I was sent up to North Queensland to have our first look at the Jaguar XE variants which we drove around the Atherton Tablelands between Cairns and Port Douglas.
The big cat has had a more recent reputation of being unreliable although owners of iconic models of yesteryear are a proud and exclusive bunch.
Jaguar says they hopes the introduction of the model will be the start of an evolution returning the brand to what it should be in the mind of consumers – a quality luxury brand worthy of its pedigree – by targeting a younger buyer.
They are also optimistic about the Jaguar brand taking up more share of not only JLR overall sales but in the luxury class market.
So how are they going to achieve this?
Customisation, price point, technology and after-sales support are the enticements.
The Jaguar XE is available in four trim selections and four engine types. The trim ranges from Prestige, to Portfolio, R-Sport and the S.
Engine choices are the 20d, 2L turbo diesel (132kW/430Nm); 20t, 2L turbo petrol (147kW /280Nm); 25t, 2L turbo petrol (177kW/340Nm) or the V6 3L petrol (250kW/ 450Nm).
The 20t, 20d and 25t are all available in the luxurious Prestige or sportier R-Sport while the 25t also comes in the Portfolio styling but the V6 is only fitted with the S trim.
All variants come with an 8-speed auto transmission, parking sensors and reversing camera, auto park assist, blind spot monitor, keyless start and entry, electric folding mirrors, driver seat/mirror/steering column memory, dual climate control, leathers seats, 8” touch screen, 11 speaker Meridian sound system and All Surface Progress Control – all terrain tech borrowed from Land Rover.
Too many features to mention here but some of the extra specs in the upper grades are things like matching bodykits, different alloys, appropriate branding badges and various seat inserts.
You’d expect to pay a fare bit for this level of inclusion but for a Prestige 20t the entry price is a remarkable $60,400 with most variants starting out between 60-70k. If you’ve more dough to splash around there’s always the optional features to add on or you can go with the S V6 for a cool $104,200.
As you can imagine, Jaguar has a catalogue of optional extras to choose from including alloy wheels, metallic paints, veneers, minor internal and external highlights, HUD and seat trims with several striking dual-tone leather or fabric combinations.
I’m personally a big fan of the two-tone upholstery and stitching that was matched to the exterior paint job (eg. red or blue). The interior styling too, though probably not as classy as other luxury models, was swish, unpretentious and function.
Bounds in safety have also been made with window mounted stereo camera for autonomous emergency braking and lane departures warning system, however, the XE hasn’t yet been tested by ANCAP.
On the road the Jaguar XE performed as specified. Jaguar is hailing the XE as being lighter and more aerodynamic, and the first to possess electric power assisted steering.
I got round in the diesel, V6 and the larger of the two petrol engines.
With dynamic steering and perfectly weighed suspension, the car handled well particularly around corners, tested on the bends of mountain roads. Bonus marks as this was done in the wet.
Control was direct and the transmission was responsive despite having eight gears to get through.
Definitely the most fun was the V6, a considerable jump up in performance. You’ll have to hold on to your hat if you slip it into dynamic mode.
Though the V6 does drive like one, it doesn’t sound like one from inside the cabin with no big engine rumble probably due to the improved insulation (NVH).
Points were docked for a couple of things like road noise from inside the cabin which wasn’t as quiet as I’d expected while door closures weren’t as solid as in European competitors. And there was some slight rattling from the plastic fittings on the centre console and passenger side dash after the vibration from a long highway drive.
Interior space isn’t squishy but there’s limited rear headroom and legroom is not generous. The boot too is only average and you may struggle to fit the clubs in.
Once again, there’s quite a lot to asses with the number of variants and we’ll make a closer inspection of the XE drive in future reviews.
Jaguar is also trying to attract new devotees with fixed-priced servicing up to five years from just over a thousand dollars which equates to every 12mths/16,000km for the petrol models, an extra 10,000kms on top of that for the V6 and 24mths/34,000km for the diesel.
This is an appealing offer in conjunction with an extended warranty of 2 years/100,000kms for $2500, on top of the 3 year warranty, as well as guaranteed future value to buy them back (provided you don’t clock up more than 20,000km per year).
Coming up against the might of the Germans is a tough ask especially ones that have a vast range and a well established status. But for those who like something unique and different in a luxury car, the 2015 Jaguar XE may be your answer.
Let’s hope this is the start of something bigger and better for the classic British brand.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Jaguar XE
Engine: 2.0L turbo diesel producing 132kW and 430Nm
2.0L turbo petrol producing 147kW and 280Nm
2.0L turbo petrol producing 177kW and 340Nm
3.0 litre V6 petrol producing 250kW and 450Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed sports automatic
Warranty: 3 Year Unlimited
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: From $60,400