Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: November 1, 2017
We’ve had a go at several Jaguar XE models, including the 180-hp diesel variant and the 340-hp R-Sport model. But this is the first time we’ve driven the XE with the full beans, the XE S. That means the same supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine as the 340-hp model, but with an added boost up to a neck breaking 380 horsepower. Torque stays the same as a healthy 332 lb-ft, and all is mated through a 8-speed ZF transmission to all four wheels via a rear-biased AWD system.
Even on the base models, the Jaguar XE is a fantastic sports sedan with an incredibly rigid chassis that bestows it with agility and composure. The 340-hp version we experienced was plenty potent, but the 40 horsepower disparity with our XE S was instantly noticeable when hammering down the straights.
As long as you’re in the right gear, the relationship between the gas pedal and forward thrust is almost synaptically quick. At wide open throttle, all 380 horses are alive and kicking and rockets you forward with a bit of neck snapping action. It’s almost unnervingly potent - the BMW 340i certainly doesn’t feel this quick and explosive off the line. It’s hard to really want more power when it can go from 0-100 km/h in a blistering 5.2 seconds, but we’re still hoping for a BMW M3 competitor some time soon. It’s just too bad the limited-run 592-hp XE SV Project 8 costs as much as a Mercedes-AMG GT R. The XE S sounds pretty good too. It delivers a unique exhaust note, like the high-pitched sonic whine from the F-Type but without all the dramatic pops and burbles.
The rest of the XE S is standard fare, which isn’t a bad thing. The electric power steering really stands out to us, providing consistent, appropriate, and reassuring weighting, offering a lithe feel during rotation but with enough feedback to boost driver confidence. I would have preferred a slightly tighter and quicker steering rack, though. It feels like I have to rotate the wheel a considerable amount just to get the tail swinging out, which the rear-biased all-wheel drive system will gladly assist with.
The transmission could use some retuning. Gear shifts aren’t as quick or as smooth as the BMW 340i’s, and low speed lurching is readily apparent. The chintzy and plasticky paddle shifters don’t lend the XE any favours, neither does the uncomfortably concaved steering wheel that feels nearly impossible to snuggle your palms into. We’re not too convinced on the teal coloured button lights either, which frankly remind us of old GM models.
Other gripes include build quality: during low speed maneuvers up and down parking garages, we couldn't help but notice multiple shimmies and chassis flexing throughout the vehicle. The rear seats are fairly cramped as well. I’m also not sure why there are so many levels and layers on the front door panels. It makes it confusing to find the right switch, as the top layer is the door sill, second layer for mirror and window controls, and the bottom layer for memory seating and door locks. It’s odd, because I can rest my arm on all three floors, but neither of them feel comfortable.
Most of these vices are easily forgiven after a few glances of the daring and sexy sheetmetal design. It’s hard not to fall in love with those J-Blade headlights and feral stance. The elegant Caesium Blue does the XE wonders, and doesn’t seem like a shade of blue that would age very quickly - unlike BMW’s Estoril Blue that feels like is now twenty years old. Not really sure what happened out back though, but the overly dilated taillights and atrociously bulbous trunk lid force me to park with the back against the wall.
A few standout features that we appreciated was the electrically heated front windshield, adaptive headlights that shine in the direction you’re turning, phenomenal Meridian Surround audio system, and rear sunshade. The infotainment system has been heavily improved as well, becoming much more user-friendly, lag-free, and intuitive with big menus and prompts. Shame that you still can’t use voice command to input navigation points.
The XE S is a charming four-door sports sedan that is a breath of fresh air from the overly Teutonic and now trite competition. That supercharged V6 engine is the star of the show and the pearl of the oyster in the XE S. It convinces us to forgive the Jaguar’s many shortcomings, and instead leaves us tranced by its playful chassis and delightful steering. Our only concern is the almost inevitable defeat of superchargers in place of more fuel efficient turbochargers and hybrid technologies in the future. Jaguar has even gone and replaced the 340-hp XE model with a smaller 296-hp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder. For the enthusiast's sake, let’s hope the superchargers are here to stay, because it is what truly defines the Jaguar XE S.
型号 Model: 2018 Jaguar XE S
顏色 Paint Type: Caesium Blue ($670)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $61,500
試車售價 Price as Tested: $71,320
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,835
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,672 / 1,967 / 1,416
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,721
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 380 hp @ 6,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 332 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli Cinturatio P7 All-Seasons; 225/40R19