Jaguar XE


Debut: 2015
Maker: Jaguar
Predecessor: X-Type



 Published on 19 May 2015
All rights reserved. 


Undoubtedly, XE is the most ambitious project taken by Jaguar since the unsuccessful X-Type. It intends to lift Jaguar from a niche brand to a mass production premium brand like BMW, Audi and Mercedes. To this end Jaguar Land Rover invested heavily into an all-new aluminum platform and Ingenium 4-cylinder engines, as well as to modernize the Land Rover Solifull plant for its production. The new assembly lines have a maximum capacity of 180,000 units a year. If everything goes according to plan, the XE sedan and its sportwagon variant will occupy about half the capacity, while the remaining will go to a new compact SUV (F-Pace) that is to be derived from the same platform. By 2018, the company is expected to build 230,000 vehicles a year, a 3-fold increase from last year's 80,000 units. Therefore, the XE project is a big gamble to JLR.

Bearing so much pressure, it is understandable that design chief Ian Callum played safe this time around. The XE lacks the creativity and wow factor of XF, which is probably the most beautiful sedan presently. Although its face is still easily recognizable as a Jaguar, the rest of the body is not remarkably different from a BMW 3-Series. Compared with the BMW, it might be slightly sportier, with a slightly longer, wider and lower proportion as well as faster windscreen and rear window, but given the more restricted dimensions and the need to provide adequate interior space, it could not get as sleek as we expected. The nose and bonnet are the squarest among the current generation of Jaguars. Although they don’t affect aerodynamics, whose drag coefficient is a highly competitive 0.26, they lose the aesthetic for which modern Jaguars are famous. To me, it's a slight disappointment and a missed opportunity.



The baby Jaguar runs a 2835 mm-long wheelbase, exceeding BMW 3-Series by 25 mm. However, its cabin space is slightly tighter, because its aluminum construction is inevitably
more space-engaging than the high-strength steel construction of BMW. Yes, the Jaguar is the first mass production D-segment saloon to employ a chassis largely made of aluminum. Some 75 percent of the monocoque is this lightweight material, compared with 48 percent in the case of Mercedes C-class. The dashboard cross-beam is made of magnesium (a popular solution seen on many cars), while the remaining is steel, including the rear floorpan, boot lid and doors. These help achieving a 50:50 front-to-rear balance on the lighter petrol 4-cylinder model (or 53:47 for supercharged V6). As usual, Jaguar's aluminum chassis uses rivets and adhesive bonding to join aluminum parts together, unlike Audi which prefers welding. Progress in manufacturing technology allows the bonding time on each station to be reduced from 210 to 78 seconds compared with the XJ.

Despite that, the XE does not show any weight advantage over its rivals. For example, an XE with 2.0 turbo petrol engine and automatic transmission is 5 kg and 55 kg heavier than a BMW 328i auto and Mercedes C250 respectively. The gap between XE S with supercharged V6 and BMW 335i auto is even wider at 70 kg. Why does it not shine on the scale? Part of the cause is its high-spec suspensions. While its rivals employ MacPherson struts up front and mulit-link setup at the rear, the XE opted for more sophisticated double-wishbone suspensions up front and so-called "Integral link" rear suspensions. The double-wishbone front suspension is derived from F-Type sports car. It is preferred over MacPherson struts because the steering is less affected by suspension setup thus improves steering precision and feel. The “Integral link” rear suspension consists of a knuckle, a lower control arm, an upper camber link, a vertical toe-control link and, most special, a short vertical integral link. The last one helps separating lateral cornering forces from vertical forces, thus enables the use of 30% softer vertical bushings for better ride quality and harder lateral bushings for better handling. Besides, the suspensions employ dual-raised springs, whose spring rate increases as they compress, so to provide a softer initial impact absorption and harder roll resistance under stress. Theoretically, its more sophisticated suspensions should bring better ride and handling combo than its rivals (we shall see later on). As expected, most of the suspension components are made of aluminum to save unsprung weight. Bilstein adaptive dampers are standard on XE S or optional on lesser models.



For steering, the XE is the first Jaguar to employ electric power steering. Like its German rivals, it’s an ZF system with rack-mounted motor, but Jaguar’s engineers invested a lot of time on its software tuning to find the optimal setting.

Jaguar made a lot of noises about its new Ingenium family of 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol and diesel 4-cylinder engines (sounds like Volvo's Drive-E). However, at the launch of XE only the diesel is ready. Its design is thoroughly modern, if not groundbreaking. It features aluminum head and block, vibration-reducing balancer shafts, friction-reducing roller bearings on camshafts and balancer shafts, on-demand coolant and lubrication pumps, acoustically damped solenoid injectors and emission-cutting variable exhaust valve timing. The lower tuned version, rated at 163 hp and 280 lbft of torque, achieves an incredible 74 mpg combined and CO2 emission of 99 g/km when mated with the new ZF 6-speed manual gearbox, thus is extremely tax friendly. The higher power version produces 180 hp and 317 lbft. It’s not as green though, at 109 g/km, when mated with either the manual or ZF 8-speed automatic.

Before the petrol version of Ingenium arrives, the XE employs Ford’s 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine with 240 hp, as found on Mondeo/Fusion. Meanwhile, the 335i-rivalling XE S is powered by the same 340 hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that serves the base F-Type. It is capable to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and top a regulated 155 mph.

On the Road

Open the doors, you will find a modern interior design and up-to-date touchscreen infotainment system. As in XJ, the whole dashboard architecture is recessed below the shoulder line to deliver a sportier and airier feel. It is more stylish than BMW 3er, if not Mercedes C-class or Lexus IS. The steering wheel and center console look classy, ditto the now famous rotary gear selector (for the auto). The perceived quality is high, but ultimately it can’t quite match the consistency of BMW or the outstanding quality standard of Mercedes (the next Audi A4 is sure to beat it, too). You can find some cheaper plastics or leather at less significant places, while some switches do not operate with the same quality feel of its German rivals. The touchscreen is clear and its software is responsive, but without a hardware control knob like i-Drive or Comand it is inevitably more difficult to access while the car is moving.



Space-wise, the Jaguar is fine for front occupants and less so for rear passengers, as headroom is limited by the swooping roof line. Shoulder room and legroom are also a bit tighter than the BMW. The same story can be said for the boot, which measures 450 liters only, or 30 liters less than BMW and Mercedes.

If the XE can’t beat its rivals in cabin comfort, it must win in driving dynamics. Fortunately, this is exactly the case road testers found out. This car is really an all-rounder. It corners as good as Cadillac ATS (that means better than BMW), and simultaneously rides as refined as Mercedes. The sophisticated suspension and steering tuning pays off. Although adaptive dampers offer a wider scope of usage, it doesn’t need them to shine. The passive suspensions are already good enough. There are 2 passive setups to choose from, one softer and one stiffer. Either way, the driving character is not vastly different. The XE is always eager and responsive to turn. The nose feels pointy and the front tires seem to offer remarkable grip. The electric steering is light yet precise and consistently loads up in corners. It is not truly feelsome, but when the car reacts so keenly to the steering you can forget about that. The XE is also very well balanced in corners, but most impressive is its outstanding composure, thanks to a firm but surprisingly supple ride. The suspension does a great job to iron out road irregularities and bumps, keeping the body stable in corners and allowing you to exploit its excellent balance and grip. Small premium sedans have never been so fun to drive and so versatile.

The Ingenium 2.0-liter diesel offers decent power and good refinement by class standards. On the one hand there’s little diesel clatter on the startup, on the other hand the engine settles to a smooth whisper when cruising on highway. Refinement is also aided by low level of wind noise. The 6-speed manual gearbox paired with the diesel is a little disappointing, blame to a long throw and slightly imprecise gearshifts. Comparatively, the ZF 8-speed automatic is near perfect. Its gearshift is smooth and responsive, nearly as good as the installation on BMW.



Although the Ford-sourced 2.0 petrol turbo is only an interim solution, it is still a highly competitive engine. Its 240 horsepower enables a performance brisk enough, while its refinement at high rev is clearly superior to the Ingenium diesel. It revs smoothly and willingly. I wonder how much the forthcoming Ingenium petrol could improve on it.

The XE S with supercharged V6 doesn’t feel as quick as its 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds suggested. On paper, its maximum output of 340 hp beats BMW 335i’s 306 hp, but perhaps due to its more linear power delivery or the additional weight it carries, it feels slower than the BMW. That said, for a 90-degree V6 it is pleasantly smooth, and the exhaust note is pretty delicious, not troubled by supercharger whine. The problem is, this car is considerably pricier than its rival.

As a whole, the 3-Series is still a more complete car, offering more space, slightly better interior build, equipment and a stronger engine lineup. Mercedes C-class is perhaps more stylish and finished with higher quality. The Jaguar beats them on driving dynamics. It's not perfect, but what it has accomplished is already remarkable enough to wash away the memory of X-Type and puts it at a strong market position.
Verdict: 

 Published on 7 Jun 2018
All rights reserved. 
XE SV Project 8


It is not only the most powerful in its class but also the most powerful production Jaguar ever...


A compact saloon fitted with the largest engine possible. We have seen many AMG C-class since the 1997 C43 (the first V8 in its class) up to the mighty 6.3-liter model, but this Jaguar offers even more: a 5-liter supercharged V8 accompanied with 4WD system. It is not only the most powerful in its class but also the most powerful production Jaguar ever, with 600 horsepower on offer. That’s 25hp more than the same engine serving F-Type SVR and XJR 575, thanks to modified induction and exhaust. Big engine, small car, must be very fast. Yes, it is very fast indeed. Top speed is a neat 200 mph, while 0-60 takes 3.3 seconds. The V8 is mated to the usual ZF 8-speed automatic, but it is remapped to shift faster.

Apart from powertrain, the car features many other modifications as well. To accommodate the big engine and its cooling parts, the nose has been extended slightly. To accommodate the 305/30ZR20 Michelin PS Cup 2s, wider fenders are adopted. The bonnet, fenders, boot lid and bumpers are made of carbon-fiber, as is the adjustable rear wing and diffusers. Pronounced front splitter and flat underbody contribute further to downforce, which amounts to 122 kg at 186 mph.

The suspension is also overhauled with new knuckles made of machined billet, racing-style lightweight ceramic wheel bearings and (manually) adjustable springs for 2 ride heights – the lower of which is obviously designed for track. Front and rear tracks have been widened by 24mm and 73mm, respectively. Continuous adaptive dampers are retained but the springs are 4.5 times stiffer than those of the regular XE. The rear subframe is rigidly mounted. The rear upper control arms switch to rigid ball-joints, while other bushings get stiffer. Unsprung weight is cut by the aforementioned ceramic bearings, 20-inch forged alloy wheels and standard fitted Brembo carbon ceramic brakes. Mind you, the tires are Michelin PS Cup 2s, like many supercars.



It keeps gripping, gripping and gripping...


Now it goes without saying the SV Project 8 is not just a hotter version of XE in the same breath of M3 or C63 or RS4. Built by the SVO (Special Vehicle Operation) and limited to 300 units worldwide, it is actually an extreme road and track car, more so than the M4 GTS I would say. It might be strange to see it as an alternative to 911 GT3 RS, but Jaguar is not shame to say so. Otherwise, it would not have offered a Track pack that turns the front seats to carbon-fiber racing buckets and replaces the rear seats with a half-roll cage, saving 12kg in the process. The pack costs £10,000 extra, but it sounds nothing compared with the car’s base price of £150,000, which is even harder to swallow than the £120,000 price tag of M4 GTS (whose production has finished, by the way). In fact, it is more expensive than bespoke sports cars like Audi R8 V10 Plus, Porsche 911 Turbo S, McLaren 570S and the 911 GT3 RS. A new 911 GT3 at £110,000 sounds bargain next to it.

So how does it perform on track? Does it have the measure of a GT3 RS?

Not quite, of course. The supercharged V8 has a linear and responsive manner not unlike that of the naturally aspirated Porsche. It offers significantly more torque low down, but the flipside is a tamer top end, as its rev is limited to 6500 rpm. The V8 soundtrack through the titanium exhaust is as loud and raw as a race car's. For a car capable of 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, the ZF automatic seems a little lazy. Gearshift is not quite as quick and incisive as the rivalling DCTs, so the latter remain safe in the supercar world. The Project 8 is undeniably powerful, but hauling its ridiculous 1745 kg kerb weight it feels suitably fast rather than explosively so. A GT3 needs not to fear.



if you can pay so much money for a track car, why do you want a heavyweight saloon instead of a thoroughbred junior supercar?


Surprisingly, installing a heavyweight engine into a compact chassis does not result in poor balance or endless tire-smoking moments. In fact, the handling is exceptionally good for a performance saloon, more so than anything else we can think of – Alfa Giulia QF might be close, but it is not quite as extreme. The fact that it lapped Nurburgring in 7min 21sec, 7 sec faster than M4 GTS and 11 sec less than Giulia QF, shows how good it steers, balances, grips and stops, despite that excessive weight. Its rear-biased 4WD system (taken from F-Type SVR AWD) does not corrupt the XE’s faithful steering. It works in conjunction with the Cup 2 tires to offer incredible roadholding, Even on a track you need to push it extremely hard to see its limit of adhesion. The nose of the car turns with swiss watch precision. Understeer is almost non-existent. Tuned to optimize track performance, it is not prone to oversteer either, unlike an M5 or E63 S. It keeps gripping, gripping and gripping. It feels very stable and predictable until its extremely high limits, by then it will most likely demonstrate a rally-style 4-wheel drift before regaining traction. The body control is exceptional, too, with almost no roll to speak of. This is a precise driving tool, a race car in saloon clothes. No other performance saloons come close to its handling. Admittedly, none of them are so close to a track car in design.

What about its ride quality and refinement? Well, the suspension is certainly stiff, but the damping is effective enough to make back roads livable. It feels a match for the GT3, and more comfortable than a GT3 RS for daily road use. Less tiring to your ears as well.

Nevertheless, if you can pay so much money for a track car, why do you want a heavyweight saloon instead of a thoroughbred junior supercar? As quick as the Project 8, it is no match for a GT3 (7:12.7 in Nurburgring), let alone a GT3 RS (6:56.4). The same for driver engagement and sheer desirability, too. Driving next to them you can feel the weight of Jaguar as well as the limitation of its gearbox. In isolation it is a big achievement to the SVO division, but nothing at this price level deserves less.
Verdict:
 Published on 16 Jul 2018
All rights reserved. 
XE 300 Sport


Can a 300hp 4-cylinder fill the vacancy left by supercharged V6?


In Europe, Jaguar has quietly killed off the supercharged V6 from the lineup of XE and XF (it still lives elsewhere, and now in 380hp form), blame to the new WLTP test cycle adopted by EU, which would have pushed its corporate CO2 emission level too high. While the larger XF has the very powerful diesel V6 to fill up the gap, the smaller XE has no choice but to introduce a more powerful version of its Ingenium four-cylinder petrol engine. In fact, this engine was already available to F-Type last year. It is rated at 300hp and 295 lbft, outstanding for a mass production 2-liter. For comparison, the most poweful alternatives from BMW and Audi manage only 252hp. The new Mercedes M264 engine produces 299hp, but it is not going to be available to the C-class any time soon. This means, the closest rival to Jaguar will be Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, whose 2.0 MultiAir Turbo provides 280hp and 295 lbft. Consequently, the XE 300 Sport offers class-leading performance, with 0-60 mph done in a claimed 5.4 seconds. These days you should not underestimate four-cylinder engines.

The 300hp Ingenium engine has one additional feature not found on its 250hp sister: a sophisticated variable valve lift system. Its mechanism is somewhat copied from Fiat's MultiAir. The intake camshaft does not actuate the valves directly. Instead, each cam lobe acts on a roller finger follower which pushes a small hydraulic pump. The latter pumps oil to push the intake valve. At the other end of the oil path, there is an oil chamber with integral solenoid valve. When the solenoid valve is closed, the oil cannot enter the chamber, thus it flows straight to the valve actuator and realizes the maximum valve lift (11mm). Conversely, when the solenoid valve is opened, oil enters the chamber instead of pushing the valve actuator, resulting in zero lift or a complete valve closure. By controlling the timing of the solenoid valve opening, the engine can achieve fully variable valve lift. It goes without saying that the addition of VVL to DVVT improves torque spread further. The engine produces peak torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm, even though it achieves a high specific output of 150hp per liter.

Moreover, the Ingenium employs DOHC, unlike the SOHC MultiAir. This allows it to rev higher and produces more top end power. Not just power, the VVL also cuts fuel consumption by regulating the engine output in place of throttle butterfly, like BMW Valvetronic.



New Jaguar engine features MultiAir-style variable valve lift system


Enough theories. In reality, it is a little disappointing to find the XE 300 Sport not quite as fast as expected. The car's hefty, 1615kg kerb weight is mostly to blame, but it might be also due to the engine's lack of character. Its power delivery is linear to the extent of unexciting. Its exhaust note is also too quiet to stir your soul. Don't assume it as a direct rival to BMW 340i or Audi S4. Those six-cylinder rivals feel much faster and, especially in the case of BMW, plays musical exhaust notes. What the Ingenium succeeds is that it doesn't feel too rough beside a six-cylinder.

Admittedly, part of the weight is contributed by the standard-fitted AWD system. I guess the 300 Sport would have been more agile with RWD, but Jaguar considered AWD to be more adequate to manage 300hp, even though we never thought a 340i wanting xDrive. On the plus side, the Jaguar has retained all the merits of the outgoing XE S, with a class-leading steering and impeccable combination of ride and control. If anything, it feels even more agile than the V6 model, thanks to the 34kg weight saving over its front axle.

That said, without a stronger engine it is still not good enough to compete with 340i, especially when the Jaguar is embarrassingly more expensive to buy. Yes, it has a better chassis, unquestionably, but will you pay more for fewer cylinders? Cost is still the biggest headache of JLR.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
XE 2.0D
2015
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
Inline-4 diesel
1999 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
VTG turbo
CDI
180 hp
317 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
-
225/45R18

1490 kg
143 mph (c)
7.4 (c) / 8.4* / 8.8**
24.3*
XE 2.0T
2015
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
Inline-4 (by Ford)
1999 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
240 hp
251 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
-
225/45R18

1460 kg
155 mph (c)
6.5 (c)
-
XE S
2015
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
V6, 90-degree
2995 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
340 hp
332 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 225/45R18
R: 245/40R18
1590 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.9 (c) / 4.5* / 4.5**
11.5* / 11.1**




Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
XE 2.0T (AWD)
2017
Front-engined, RWD (4WD)
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
Inline-4 (Ingenium)
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
250 hp
269 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
-
225/45R18

1536 kg
155 mph (limited)
6.2 (c) (6.6*)
(15.3*)
XE 300 Sport AWD
2018
Front-engined, 4WD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
Inline-4 (Ingenium)
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
300 hp
295 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 225/40R19
R: 255/35R19
1615 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.4 (c)
-
XE S
2017
Front-engined, RWD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Aluminum
4672 / 1850 / 1416 mm
2835 mm
V6, 90-degree
2995 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
380 hp
332 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 225/40R19
R: 255/35R19
1655 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.9 (c)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
XE SV Project 8
2018
Front-engined, 4WD
Aluminum + steel monocoque
Carbon-fiber, aluminum
4713 / 1954 / 1436 mm
2835 mm
V8, 90-degree
5000 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Supercharger
DI
600 hp / 6500 rpm
516 lbft / 3500 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
F: 265/35ZR20
R: 305/30ZR20
1745 kg (Track pack)
200 mph (c)
3.3 (c)
-




















































Performance tested by: -





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General models


XE 300 Sport


XE S


XE SV Project 8



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