First Drive Review: Jaguar XE

Independent review by John Murdoch

5-minute read

Jaguar XE

First Drive: Jaguar XE

Explore the key features of the Jaguar XE in our expert first drive review

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Sharp looks, impressive performance, and extremely comfortable, the latest Jaguar XE is ready to compete with more popular German rivals.


  • Top-level equipment
  • Sleek design
  • Refined feel
  • Excellent to drive
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With a fantastic new cabin, a handsome new-look exterior, and crammed with the latest technology, Jaguar’s XE is now good enough to take on the best of the German opposition.

Jaguar’s Scottish design director Ian Callum is delighted with the new XE and quickly admits that it is now the car he always wanted it to be.

The competition in this sector is fierce with Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW all having a major presence, but the revamped XE offers more style, equipment, and tech at a cheaper price.

Engines and Performance

Jaguar has taken this opportunity to simplify its range by reducing the number of engine and trim choices in order to make things easier for buyers.

There are multiple engines available including a choice between petrol and diesel to reflect the current buying trends, while trim levels include the likes of S, SE, and HSE.

The new XE is even better to drive on the road, and that should help it appeal to a much younger audience. I spent hours in the South of France driving the most powerful petrol version, the P300 with AWD, which has 296bhp on tap.

It sprints to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 155mph if you can find anywhere legal to do it.

On the twisting mountain roads above Nice and Cannes, the XE excelled, providing a sporting ride with great handling and superb steering. It is really agile and is more than a match for any of its main rivals.
John Murdoch

Apparently this engine can also return up to 38.7mpg, but you can expect less than that when you push it as hard as I did.

The 8-speed transmission moved between gears smoothly, and when you wanted a bit of fun you could use the paddles to do your own thing.

I also had a shorter drive in the diesel version, which was still as enjoyable and very economical. It was no slouch and reached 62mph in 8.1 seconds with a top speed of 142mph.

Quiet and smooth, it is good for up to 57.6mpg and has emissions of 130g/km. It is certain to appeal to fleet and business users, as well as private motorists who do a lot of miles.

Design and Practicality

There is no change in the size of the XE, but this facelift makes it look bigger and more assertive.

It looks wider and lower, and features a new grille and slim LED lights at the front and rear. The front and rear bumpers are also a new design, and they make the car look more sporting.

Step inside, and you will find the huge changes. Sadly there is no extra space and rear room is still quite tight, but there is a massive leap in quality, design, tech, and materials.

Equipment and Technology

Alternative alloys are also available, and standard equipment is generous throughout the range. The entry-level model offers automatic transmission, 18-inch alloys, signature LED lights front and rear, electric leather seats, front and rear park aid and lane keep assist.

Much of the improvements have been lifted from the excellent I-PACE and so there is now 10.2-inch touchscreen for the navigation and communication systems, plus another display that controls lesser functions like the climate control. This means that you can adjust temperature and settings without having to take your eyes off the road.

The new steering wheel is lifted from the I-PACE, and an F-TYPE gearlever adds to the sporting feel.

You can also charge your phone via a wireless charging pad, and all inferior materials have been dumped and replaced by quality woods and soft-touch plastics to give the cabin a true Jaguar feel.


The XE received a striking facelift in 2019 which added luxury, a huge leap in quality, and extra technology, making it one of the leading vehicles in the executive car class.