Jaguar's latest -- or is that first? -- compact sedan is here as a 2017 model to take on sport sedan stalwarts like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS. Looking, unsurprisingly, like a baby version of the handsome mid-size XF, the XE brings British style to a segment that has long been dominated by European and Japanese cars, and has seen Cadillac make more recent inroads.
In its first appearance in North America (the car has been available overseas since 2015 when it went on sale as a 2016 model) the XE features powertrain choices including a 2.0L turbodiesel four-cylinder that makes 180 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque in 20d trim and a 3.0L supercharged V6 that cranks out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft under the hood of the 35t model. While Jaguar said it would offer the XE with a manual transmission, we haven't seen any proof of that yet; what we do know is all XE's for sale here have a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive.
Launching a sport sedan in North America with a choice of a frugal diesel and a supercharged V6 is either a brilliant decision, or a completely wacky one; what's missing in this initial offering is an entry-level four-cylinder gasoline motor to compete with the 2.0L turbo units offered by just about every one of Jaguar's established competitors. Jag says there's just such an engine on the way, but we'll believe it when we see it, with is the same way we feel about Jaguar North America's late-2015 announcement the XE would be available with the manual transmission that has yet to materialize. But that entry-level gas engine is more important, as without it there's a gaping hole in the middle of this car's range where the bulk of buyers are likely to look.
Trim lines include Premium, Prestige and R-Sport, and all three can be had with either diesel or V6 power. Prices start at $45,000 for a diesel-powered Prestige model to $57,500 for an R-Sport with the V6. Jaguar hasn't published fuel consumption estimates yet.
Premium trim comes with 16-inch wheels (upgraded to 17s with the V6), driver seat memory, 11-speaker stereo, garage door opener, auto-dimming/power-folding side mirrors, engine auto stop/start technology, sunroof and 10-way power front seats.
Prestige trim adds leather seats, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, Jaguar InControl apps, front seats with four-way power lumbar, electric steering column adjustment, mood lighting, intelligent keyless entry and navigation.
R-Sport models build on Prestige trim and add R-Sport badging and body kit, metal door sill finishers, adaptive HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, lane keep assist with driver condition monitor, blind spot monitor with closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic detection, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking and satellite radio.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed