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Jaguar XE

Jaguar moves XE production from Solihull to Castle Bromwich

Jaguar XEJaguar is moving production of its XE junior executive saloon from Solihull to Castle Bromwich to help boost volumes of the Solihull-built F-Pace SUV.

The Solihull ‘factory within a factory’ – a new Jaguar production facility built within the Land Rover Solihull plant’ – will now be used only to build the in-demand F-Pace SUV for Jaguar.

In moving the XE to Castle Bromwich, Jaguar will construct it alongside the larger XF executive saloon: the two cars use the same aluminium architecture so the process should be straightforward. To facilitate the move, Jaguar is investing an extra £100 million in Castle Bromwich.

It’s quite a turnaround for Castle Bromwich, which faced closure in 2008. Since then, Jaguar has invested heavily in it: £500 million has gone into it in the past two years alone.

Castle Bromwich currently builds the Jaguar XF plus the low-volume XJ and F-Type, and so is arguably underutilised. In contrast, the Solihull line builds the high-volume XE and ultra-successful F-Pace: it also, oddly, builds the Range Rover Sport on the same line, another in-demand machine.

Moving the XE to Castle Bromwich will fill capacity at the huge plant next to the M6 motorway, leaving Solihull to concentrate on the F-Pace – which has already become the fastest-selling Jaguar of all time.

So far this year, Jaguar sales are up 72%, to 85,726 – and in August, with the F-Pace fully on stream, they rocketed 104% to 10,868. The Jaguar XE was launched in the United States this summer.

Solihull will continue to operates 24/7, with three shifts running around the clock during weekdays.

Video: Jaguar XE at Castle Bromwich

Stratstone Jaguar Lightweight E-type

Ultra-rare Jaguar to become ‘the people’s Lightweight E-type’

Stratstone Jaguar Lightweight E-typePremium car dealer Stratstone has bought one of the six Jaguar Lightweight E-types recreations and the firm’s enthusiastic CEO Trevor Finn has vowed to use the car to ensure as many people see it in action as possible.

It will not be locked away in a museum and will be used as Jaguar originally intended when it first created the 18-car ‘Special GT E-type’ race car programme back in 1963.

Only 12 of the 18 cars were built back in the 60s: 50 years on, the missing chassis numbers were rediscovered and a plan was hatched to build the missing six cars using period machinery and original Jaguar E-type craftsmen and engineers.

Stratstone Jaguar Lightweight E-type

The Stratstone Lightweight E-Type is the only one that’s going to be based in Britain and Finn has promised to make sure this car – chassis number 15 – literally is the star.

“I want the car to be a celebrity in its own right,” Finn told us. “It’s going to have an ambassadorial role for us – I don’t want it to be all about who’s driving it, but about the car itself.”

Finn and his team plan to showcase the #15 Lightweight E-type at all the big automotive events, such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but will also take it to events outside the usual automotive calendar. It’s a car that reaches out beyond petrolheads, explained Finn, and so will be showcased there so many more people get to see it.

It may even be raced: all six Lightweight E-types have been built with full FIA historic racing homologation.

The Stratstone Lightweight E-type even has its own hub on Stratstone’s website, and social media activities are being planned for it.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this a year ago,” said Finn, “but media continues to evolve so quickly, it’s now possible to give special cars like this an enormous reach across multiple channels.

“This is why we’re not keeping it locked away and unused: this car is going to become a celebrity and I’m determined as many people as possible will get to see it and to experience it.

Jaguar XJ-S

Jaguar XJ-S V12: Retro Road Test

This was the last Jaguar created under the watchful eyes of design legend Malcolm Sayer and ‘Mr Jaguar’ Sir William Lyons. This pair oversaw the creation of the E-Type – ‘the most beautiful car ever made’ (Enzo Ferrari’s words, no less). Yet the XJ-S, the E-Type’s replacement, didn’t have quite the same welcome.

This was a car described as ‘controversial’ at best, ‘downright ugly’ at worst. Some blamed US legislation, but the simple truth is that Jaguar thought buyers were moving away from outright sports cars such as the now-aging E-Type, and into cross-country tourers. After all, motorways were now a thing, and the increasing popularity of cross-channel ferries meant people were more likely to take their cars across to Europe.

The result? A quick (if not sporting) four-seater with wonderfully opulent leather seats and enough wood to build a fort. Although unappealingat the time (particularly as it was launched in the wake of the fuel crisis, and demand for thirsty V12 grand tourers was low), we reckon it’s aged rather well. Firming prices suggest we’re not alone in giving the XJ-S more than just a passing interest.

Many thanks to Great Escape Cars for loaning us this XJ-S, which is available to hire.

What are its rivals?

The move away from the open-top sports car dynamics that made the E-Type so popular was a result of Jaguar attempting to predict 80s trends and head off competition from Germany. This period saw no shortage of luxury coupes coming out of Deutschland – and a customer considering an XJ-S the year ‘ours’ was built (1988) would also have been likely to consider a late E24 BMW 6 Series (probably in hot M635 CSi form) as well as a Mercedes-Benz W124 coupe, or even a Porsche 928.

What engine does it use?

Great Escape’s Jaguar XJ-S is powered by a constant in the model’s 20-year lifespan – Jag’s 5.3-litre V12. By 1988, it was the HE (high-efficiency) version of the V12, while later cars were available with the same engine bored out to 6.0-litres. A straight-six was also available.

In the form reviewed here, the V12 Jaguar XJ-S produced 295hp that, in road tests at the time, was found to accelerate to 60mph in 7.5 seconds and return early-teens MPG figures.

What’s it like to drive?

It’s not a sports car, but even by today’s standards it feels fairly quick. The benchmark 62mph comes in less than 7.0 seconds, and it’s good for a top speed of more than 150mph. That was supercar performance back then.

You sit low down, in a rather cramped interior (especially for the car’s relatively bulky dimensions), looking out over a long bonnet. Move the slightly bizarre, very 1970s gear selector into ‘D’ and enjoy the burble of the V12 as the car edges forward. It’s a surprisingly easy car to drive around town – visibility aside. Manuals are rare (only available in the early days as the gearboxes were left over from the E-Type), and being an automatic suits the XJ-S. The first thing you notice when maneuvering is how exceptionally light its steering is. This is perhaps an American influence, and arguably makes sense in a car obviously designed to make life easy for the driver.

Up the speed, and the steering doesn’t get any heavier. We’re used to light, lifeless steering in modern cars, but this takes it to another level. We’d love some sort of feedback and just a bit of heft – exactly as you’d expect from a V12 Jaaaag. But it just doesn’t come and, although it’s a cliche, threading the XJ-S along B-roads in a hurry is a bit like trying to hoon a canal boat. It’s kind of fun, but rather unnerving.

Steering aside, the XJ-S is a lovely car to drive. The V12 burble doesn’t get boring, and there’s plenty of poke when overtaking opportunities arise (they will, regularly). With disc brakes all round, it’ll stop as well as it goes, while the ride is a good balance between magic carpet and sportiness.

Reliability and running costs

This is where things start to go wrong. Even when it was new, the XJ-S had a reputation for unreliability. One period review in CAR magazine described the XJ-S as ‘£20,000 worth of trouble’, and it’s not a reputation that’s improved with age. We’ll cover more on what to look out for below, but essentially be prepared to spend money keeping the V12 in tip-top condition, and be wary of rusty examples.

It’s not all bad news. There are plenty of Jaguar specialists out there to relieve you of cash when the inevitable happens, and the 15mpg (if you’re lucky) fuel economy means you probably won’t do many miles, reducing the chance of a breakdown. Specialist insurance should be reasonable, too – despite its performance, it’s not exactly a boy racer’s car.

Could I drive it every day?

That brings us onto the subject of using an XJ-S as a daily driver. You certainly could use it every day. When it’s not leaving you stranded, a well-sorted XJ-S is a lovely companion. The interior will spoil you in a way that even very expensive modern cars don’t. And remember, the XJ-S was in production as recently as 1996, so it’s not actually that old.

But should you use an XJ-S every day? It’s not a very good idea, unless you have AA platinum membership and a full-to-bursting bank account ready to keep your local specialist in business. But that’s the charm of an XJ-S – it makes for a lovely car to smoke around in at the weekend.

How much should I pay?

A few years ago, the unloved XJ-S could be picked up for a three-figure sum. But times are changing, and you’ll need to spend at least £4,000 for a useable example. We often advise buying the best example of a classic car you can find, but this is especially true for the XJ-S. Buy cheap and it could be a whole world of hassle. Pay more for a well-maintained example and hopefully it’ll prove to be a slightly more sensible purchase. Avoid examples that have barely been used in recent years – this is very much a car that could throw up problems if it’s shocked back into life.

What should I look out for?

The V12 engine needs looking after – regular servicing is a must, ideally at a specialist. It’ll break down for fun, and being such a large engine cramped into a small(ish) engine bay, it’s not easy to access for the DIY mechanic. Make sure it’s got a stack of paperwork to prove it’s been looked after, otherwise the engine could create a whole world of pain.

And that’s just V12 gremlins. As per most British cars of that age, rust can be an XJ-S killer. If you get to the stage of looking at one with a view to buying it, give it a thorough look all over. Check the jacking points, floorpans, wheelarches, where the wings meet the sills – and any areas where stainless steel (disguised as chrome) meets bodywork.

On the test drive, it’s pretty standard stuff – check it drives and brakes in a straight line. Worn bushes are a common, and it might be easier to factor in the cost of replacing them, rather than trying to find an XJ-S that drives perfectly.

Should I buy one?

You’ve got to go into Jaguar XJ-S ownership with your eyes open. It’s not something you should do on impulse, and something we’d struggle to recommend objectively. But it is the car from recent Retro Road Rests that got this particular reviewer searching the classifieds more than any other. It feels hugely special, and its reputation means they’re actually a bit of a bargain.

Pub fact

American health and safety legislation meant convertibles were expected to be banned, so it was 13 years into the life of the XJ-S before Jaguar introduced a soft-top version. Although aftermarket conversions were available earlier, the official XJ-S convertible arrived in 1988. It weighed 100kg more than the coupe and was only available with the V12 engine. It attracted criticism at the time from journalists who disliked how it drove, but buyers weren’t put off. By 1989, more than half of XJ-S sales were convertibles.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

2016 Jaguar F-Pace review: right on pace

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)The new Jaguar F-Pace SUV would have caused controversy a decade or so back. Not today. The question has long been when will Jaguar make its first SUV, rather than should it make one at all. At the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the F-Pace finally arrived: now, ahead of deliveries beginning in the spring, we’re driving it for the first time.

Porsche Macan, watch out: engineers admit that, after being surprised by how impressive it was, they targeted benchmarking focus on it. They tried a BMW X4 too, but soon dismissed it; the Audi Q5 is another alternative, simply because it sells so well, rather than because the ageing five-seater is a particularly standout benchmark standard.

Can an SUV be beautiful? The F-Pace gives it a good go. This is an Ian Callum triumph, despite him never having done one before. “It’s a Jaguar that’s an SUV,” he says, “rather than an SUV that’s a Jaguar. It’s a subtle but important difference.”

So we have a well-proportioned, well-formed machine with a sleek roofline, elegantly formed bodysides and beautifully sculpted rear haunches. It’s a tall SUV, but not a square and boxy one. The detailing is terrific, not least the power bulge in the bonnet and the F-Type rear lights.

Callum’s secret? They were struggling early on, he admits, until he told them to put more F-Type into it. The cues from Jaguar’s sports car are no accident – the thinking behind them is why the F-Pace is such a success. “We know F-Type so well,” said Callum, “and can genuinely say some of it has gone into F-Pace.”

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Jaguar’s offering the F-Pace with a 180hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that almost everyone will buy, plus a 300hp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and a 380hp 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol for top-10% bragging rights. There’s a rear-drive entry-level machine for tax-conscious fleets; the rest will be all-wheel drive.

It’s derived from the same aluminium-intensive architecture already used by the acclaimed Jaguar XE and Jaguar XF. The building blocks are good – and Jaguar created this scalable platform with an SUV in mind. It’s no compromised saloon-derived machine, this.

Prices are what puts the cat amongst the pigeons. Well, sort of. They start at an impressive £34,170 for the fleet-friendly Prestige diesel, although they then build: £2k for AWD, £1,750 for the default automatic gearbox, £2,500 for the sporty R Sport trim Brits so love.

It means the 2.0D 180 AWD R Sport diesel that’s the core of the range costs £40,360. A Macan diesel starts at £46,182, but admittedly has a 258hp 3.0-litre V6 – Jaguar’s 300hp twin-turbo V6 diesel costs £51,450. But then, an Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 190 S line Plus quattro S tronic costs £39,595; the F-Pace is part price star, part on-market par.

Jaguar is confident the F-Pace will become its best-selling car ever. It’s almost as if the Jaguar revolution was warmed up with the XE and XF saloons it knows how to do so well, before the big bang of the Jaguar SUV was rolled out. Now, it’s here, and the stakes are high. Is this the car to make Jaguar firmly grab a share of the modern premium car sector?

On the road

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Does a Jaguar SUV handle like a Jaguar or like an SUV? Pleasingly, the former. You step up high and look down upon the bonnet bulge (and normal saloons), and high sides with broad shoulders mean you’re not sure what to expect: but the great Jaguar driving dynamics we like so much in XE and XF are still present here.

A super-stiff structure and levels of lateral suspension stiffness measurably greater than the Macan give the F-Pace excellent fundamentals. It feels reassuringly like a solid, premium machine on the move. It’s also very precise, with the familiar Jaguar steering accuracy and ease of placement through bends (once you’re used to the quick steering gearing, that is).

The front axle is very strong and direct, encouraging you to lean on it without suffering squishy, lollopy body roll as a reward. The F-Pace flows as finely as all modern Jaguars, changing direction with little effort, sending back lots of reassuring road feel, generally feeling light on its feet. Steering doesn’t have any particular feel but it does weigh up in bends and the rear-biased AWD feels great when deploying heavy-foot torque out of bends.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Predictably, the fruity 380hp petrol V6 S is a lot of vocal, wailing fun: it is an F-Type engine, after all (the exhausts’ bark can be felt through the floorpan, for heaven’s sake!). The hushed 300hp twin-turbo V6 diesel is preferable though, with a cultured timbre and monumental torque. 516lb-ft from 2,000rpm makes light work of the diesel S’ chunky 1,884kg kerbweight.

The surprise engine is the 2.0D. in a good way. In the XE, this is too noisy and clattery. Here, it’s been silenced considerably. Jaguar’s taken away the gruff rattle, left the mechanical whine (generally nicer than the usual diesel drone) and, most importantly, made it far smoother and more cultured.

180hp and 1,775kg sounds a losing battle but 316lb-ft of pulling power flat from 1,750-2,500rpm does a better job of hauling it than you may expect (0-62mph takes 8.7 seconds) and, so long as you have 2,000rpm showing, the entry-level F-Pace diesel is perfectly fine. You will feel the mass (and have to wait a couple of seconds) if you ask for full beans at sub-2k rpm though…

The Montenegro launch roads were, in places, atrocious. Enter another F-Pace strength, ace ride quality. Long-travel suspension and expert spring and damper balance give it compliance without softness or wallow, meaning it can be thrown down scarily broken and undulating roads at a heck of a lick without fearing a crash, bang or stomach-churning lift.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Body control is superb and the F-Pace is unruffled by almost everything it’s thrown into. It even works on 22-inch wheels, amazingly: they’re the biggest-ever factory-fit mid-size SUV wheels and Jaguar pulls it off without turning the ride awful (although engineers will privately admit 20”s are optimum: we’ll do it publically).

A class act then, beyond its SUV payscale? Not quite. It’s not quite a Macan-beater and is best up to eight-tenths: push it more than this and you’ll feel the mass, sense the nose start to heave and the front end push. Brakes will also wilt when embracing its Jaguar-ness (no fade-free carbon ceramics here). Still, being more fun than a Q5, almost as good as a Macan and riding better than both of them isn’t bad, is it?

Just one proviso: all the launch cars were running on Adaptive Dynamics suspension, the adaptive dampers that are standard on S models, a cost option on the 2.0D. Will steel-sprung cars have such a broad spread of talents, such well-controlled body compliance over challenging roads? We’ll have to wait and see: our advice: tick the option box.

On the inside

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

The simple, neat F-Pace interior delivers the Ian Callum modern Jaguar look that the XF and, in particular, the XE somehow fail to. A high centre console makes it feel more coupe-like than its steup height suggests and the neat detail touches all blend in well.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

The centrepiece is the InControl touchscreen infotainment. Typically, it’s at its most impressive in optional InControl Touch Pro guise, whose fast-acting widescreen functionality so impressed on the launch: even standard cars get navigation included though, albeit from SD card rather than the Pro’s ultra-fast SSD hard drive. Wi-Fi internet for passengers is also standard.

Normal F-Pace get the same cowled dials as an F-Type but even better is the electronic ‘virtual’ screen option, which even includes an Audi TT-style full-screen sat nav screen option. Choice R Sport cockpits have sports seats and steering wheel, leather-look dashboard and black roofliner.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

All F-Pace have plenty of space for five. You read that right. In the rear, it’s broad, boasts ample headroom and abundant legroom. Goodness, it’s even fuss-free to step in and out of, with wide openings and Land Rover-style sill-covering panels that keep mud away from trousers. The rear bench is perhaps a bit flat, but hey: give rear occupants four-zone climate control and reclining rear seatbacks to compensate.

The boot is the biggest in the class. A massive tailgate (power operation is standard) reveals 650 litres of space (there’s more usable space than a BMW X5, claims Jaguar) that’s 1 metre wide and can carry loads 1.8 metres long. Jaguar decided from the very start to insist the F-Pace would be practical, and wouldn’t compromise on it: this shows.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Practicality extends to its SUV abilities. With greater wading depth (525mm) and ground clearance (213mm)than any rival, plus an arsenal of off-road electronics trickery that Land Rover would be (is?) proud of, the F-Pace will off road, and not just the soft road type.

Not only will it tow a 2.4-tonne braked horse trailer out of a muddy field, it will also safely drive up and down hillsides, crawl across rocky roads and even traverse mountainsides. That it does this while also handling with such precision – on the very same tyres – is quite remarkable.

Running costs

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

The F-Pace is a winner here, says Jaguar: it has the figures to prove it. One industry firm that works out whole life costs says the F-Pace will be £240 cheaper than a comparable Audi Q5 after three years and 60,000 miles. It will also be £3,107 cheaper than a BMW X4. And a whopping £10,734 cheaper than a Macan (and that’s despite the Porsche’s superb 53% retained value: the F-Pace is next-best on 50%).

Jaguar wants to attract fleets with this car and knows low cost of ownership is critical. That’s why there’s a tax-break model that emits 129g/km CO2 (and all key models have lower CO2 than direct rivals – a Q5 struggles to get below 150g/km), that’s why all models are so well equipped and have such a focus on practicality.

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Half of all F-Pace customers will be coming from competitor SUVs and so being cheaper than the incumbents is clever. But the other half will come out of saloons, estates, crossovers and coupes: keeping the running costs hike under control here is vital. Almost across the board, from cheapest servicing bills to the lowest insurance group, the F-Pace promises competitive running costs.

The biggest running cost is fuel consumption. The best F-Pace diesel returns 57.7mpg; add AWD and it’s 54.3mpg, add an auto and it’s 53.3mpg. The peachy V6 diesel returns 47.1mpg and even the F-Type-engine’d 380hp V6 petrol isn’t bad on 31.7mpg.

Verdict

Jaguar F-Pace (2016)

Land Rover makes SUVs, Jaguar makes sports cars. Land Rover hasn’t stopped Jaguar making an SUV though, just so long as it doesn’t ‘do a Land Rover’. It doesn’t. Just as the Macan is a surprisingly authentic Porsche mid-size SUV, so too is the F-Pace.

It drives pleasingly well, almost as much fun as an XE or XF but with a huge amount of extra ability (and more comfort on give-or-take roads). The volume 2.0D engine is shown in the best light yet and both refinement and composure will make it a super car for high-mileage motorists. Only in extremes will the SUV compromises show up; most drivers will rarely experience them.

And, would you believe, it’s practical. The cabin is roomy, flexible, the boot’s voluminous, it’s easy to use and the whole interior has a premium solidity that’s better than any Jaguar before it. The kit count is decent and prices are on the money.

By Motoring Research star rating logic, it’s a five-star car: it’s the best car in its sector, the most appealing all round, and certainly the best looking. Jaguar’s biggest challenge now may be making enough of them, but what a nice problem to have.

2016 Jaguar F-Pace: 5 rivals

  1. Porsche Macan
  2. Audi Q5
  3. Mercedes-Benz GLC
  4. BMW X3
  5. BMW X4

2016 Jaguar F-Pace: specifications

  • Model tested: 2.0D 180 AWD R Sport
  • Engine: 2.0-litre I4 turbodiesel
  • Price: £40,360 (Prices from £34,170)
  • Power: 180hp
  • Torque: 317lb-ft
  • 0-62mph: 8.7secs
  • Top speed: 129mph
  • Fuel economy: 53.3mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 134g/km
Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport (2016) road test review

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

You can already get a four-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type and XE, so it was only a matter of time before the firm offered its XF executive saloon with an on-demand all-wheel-drive system. We drove one back from the French Alps to give it a thorough road test.

What are its rivals?

The XF’s obvious rival is the Audi A6 Quattro. Unlike the Jaguar, the Audi comes with a range of engines, including a powerful 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel – meaning anyone looking for a powerful, 4×4 executive saloon will continue to default to German rivals.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Which engine does it use?

If you want an XF with four-wheel drive, you can only get it with the 180hp 2.0-litre Ingenium turbodiesel. This combines with an eight-speed auto ’box to offer 317lb ft of torque.

What’s it like to drive?

Under normal day-to-day driving, it’s difficult to tell the four-wheel-drive XF apart from the regular model, besides from ever-so-slightly blunted performance. The extra 105kg over the rear-drive model is only really noticeable during foot-to-the-floor acceleration (it takes 8.4 seconds to hit 62mph – compared to the standard car’s 8.1 seconds).

During cornering, the two-wheel-drive XF is fairly surefooted, so it’s only when you really start to push it that you notice power shifting between the axles in a bid to keep you on the road. The intelligent 4×4 system, based on that first used on the F-Type, makes for a fun drive – more so than in the A6 Quattro – and gives you a great deal of confidence to make progress. In slippery conditions we’d imagine the XF AWD would be very competent.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Fuel economy and running costs

Naturally, the four-wheel-drive version of the XF is going to cost slightly more to run than the two-wheel-drive model. Officially, it returns 57.6mpg compared to the standard car’s 65.7mpg. Meanwhile, it emits 129g/km CO2 compared to 114g/km – equating to £110 a year in tax, compared to £30. You have to ask whether, for your driving, the efficiency penalties for opting for the four-wheel-drive model is a sacrifice worth making – but it’s not appallingly thirsty for an executive saloon.

Is it practical?

While Audi is generally seen as the master of upmarket interiors within this segment, Jaguar has done an excellent job of making the XF feel genuinely special. The seats are extremely comfortable (we put more than 800 miles on our test car in less than 24 hours), and there’s plenty of space in the front and rear. There’s 540 litres of boot space, too – that’s marginally better than rivals from Mercedes, Audi and BMW.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

What about safety?

The latest Jaguar XF scored a solid five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP last year, and the extra security of its four-wheel-drive system means the XF AWD is one of the safest cars you can use for carrying your family.

Which version should I go for?

Our test car was the R-Sport version, meaning it gains figure-hugging sports seats and unique exterior body styling but, unlike the two-wheel-drive version, goes without the firmer sports suspension. If budget allows, we reckon the more luxurious top-of-the-range Portfolio model might be better suited to the relaxing nature of the 180hp diesel engine and four-wheel-drive setup.

Jaguar XF AWD 2.0d R-Sport: Two-Minute Road Test

Should I buy one?

We really rate the Jaguar XF, and the four-wheel-drive version makes sense if you need a car that’s capable in slippery conditions such as snow. It’s a shame that you can’t spec the AWD model with the more powerful 3.0-litre diesel, so if you’re wanting performance, you’ll have no choice but to look at the Audi A6.

Pub fact

The Jaguar XF AWD benefits from Land Rover’s off-road know-how. Developed from Land Rover’s Terrain Response, the XF’s Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) technology optimises the mapping of the throttle, automatic transmission and DSC system to suit the type of surface the car’s being driven on.

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar: ‘the F-Pace is our Evoque’

Jaguar F-PaceJaguar F-Pace programme director Andy Whyman believes the new SUV will be as transformational for the firm as the Range Rover Evoque has been for Land Rover.

“The ingredients are there,” he said at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. “The vision has been clear from the start and it’s a logical new car for us in a fast-growing segment.”

The Evoque heralded the start of the current boom in Land Rover sales and even today, five years after launch, the factory is still operating around the clock to build more than 100,000 units a year.

Jaguar, which last year sold 81,570 cars, feels the F-Pace will deliver a proportionally similar lift – and will mean the entire brand should no longer outsold by the smash-hit Range Rover Evoque.

No crossover with Land Rover

Whyman says there was never any concern that the first-ever Jaguar SUV would step on the toes of Land Rover.

“Both brands are very different and are positioned separately: our research shows there’s likely to be little cross-shopping between the F-Pace and Land Rover models.

“It’s first and foremost a Jaguar: it handles like a Jaguar, has sports car proportions and, while it can tackle mixed-road conditions, is a road-biased vehicle.

“It’s obvious to customers that the Jaguar and Land Rover brands are different: we don’t expect Range Rover Sport customers to start looking at F-Pace.”

Whyman also said the firm is comfortable with its first SUV. “It is natural to us – we don’t think of it as an SUV: it ‘feels’ like a Jaguar.”

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace SUV revealed: Jaguar has made a 4×4!

Jaguar F-PaceJaguar has revealed the new F-Pace SUV on the eve of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Its first 4×4, the sporty-looking new ‘performance crossover’ goes on sale in 2016 priced from £34,170.

Jaguar F-Pace SUV revealed in World Record stunt

The new Jaguar F-Pace is a sporty five-seat crossover that has one car in its sights – the Porsche Macan. Jaguar says the standard-setting Porsche is the best car in this sector for driving dynamics – and is the one it’s focused on beating…

Jaguar F-Pace

Built in Britain at Jaguar’s Solihull plant, the F-Pace is targeted with bringing a whole new sector of customer to the Jaguar brand. 4 in 5 buyers will be new to the brand and, of all the firm’s new cars, it’s the F-Pace that will “forever change perceptions of the brand”.

The idea of designing an SUV, admits Jaguar design director Ian Callum, was something “I never dreamt of doing”. Jaguar, after all, owns Land Rover, which only makes… SUVs. However, the market now demands SUVs in all shapes and guises – so Jaguar had to respond.

The Jaguar F-Pace is thus designed as a performance crossover SUV, one that takes direct influences from the Jaguar F-Pace (hence the name).

Unlike Land Rovers, you’ll rarely see F-Pace off-road; but you will, hopes the brand, see them in high streets across the world – the medium-sized SUV sector the F-Pace competes in is set to grow 50% between now and 2020…

F-Pace: concept car to production

Jaguar F-Pace

The Jaguar F-Pace is the production version of Jaguar’s stunning C-X17 concept car, revealed two years ago at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. This was the first clear signal that the brand wanted to make an SUV…

Jaguar F-Pace

Since C-X17, Jaguar’s been working hard to productionise it, says Callum. “Every millimetre has changed since the concept – but not so you’d notice.” Can you tell the difference?

“The F-Pace is true to the spirit of Jaguar,” says designer Callum. “It has elegance, a sense of speed and motion that most SUVs don’t have.” Size-wise, it’s similar to the Porsche Macan, and will also compete with the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

Callum uses descriptions such as strong proportions, sweeping rooflines and strong haunches to describe the F-Pace. “I could be talking about the F-Type, and this is no coincidence – there’s a lot of that car in the F-Pace.”

The tail lights are similar to the Jaguar F-Pace – which, said Callum, are influenced by the E-Type. Most won’t realise this but “I know where it came from,” he said…

It’s a five-seat SUV – you wouldn’t be able to get that sweeping roofline if it was a seven-seater. Jaguar has no plans to make a seven-seat version: it’ll leave that market to Land Rover.

Callum’s given the F-Pace a simple look inside, in contrast to the ‘fussy’ interiors of some rivals. Once cool feature is the illuminated smartphone holders on the centre console – after all, says Callum, who wants to store smartphones in cupholders…

Jaguar says the F-Pace has the world’s most advanced infotainment system, with more computer processing power than a Boeing 777. It’s called InControl Touch Pro and uses a 100GB SSD, Ethernet networking and a quad core processor.

The F-Pace even debuts a new piece of wearable Jaguar technology – the Activity Key. This is a waterproof band you can wear when swimming, that unlocks the car instead of a key. It’s a Jaguar first.

It’s built on Jaguar’s aluminium-intensive architecture also used by the new XE and XF. It has double wishbone front suspension and Integral Link rear suspension that are sold in three grades – two of them the same as on the sporty F-Type.

Most F-Pace will likely be sold with the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, offered in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive guise. It also offers a V6 turbo diesel and the two V6 engines taken straight from the F-Pace – it currently thus produces up to 380hp, for 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds. Watch out, Macan…

The Jaguar F-Pace will cost from £34,170: that will buy you a 180hp 2.0-litre Ingenium turbodiesel with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive.

Deliveries of the Jaguar F-Pace will begin in 2016, although the firm says customers can head over to its website right now to start configurating the car.

The F-Pace will be sold in familiar Jaguar trim lines: Prestige (from £34,170), R-Sport (from £36,670), Portfolio (from £39,170) and the sporty S (from £51,450).

Jaguar has an extra range-topping model for the launch of the F-Pace, called First Edition. This has extras such as mighty 22-inch alloys, Windsor leather seats, LED headlights and a panoramic roof. It costs from £65,275.

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Jaguar F-Pace loop-the-loop

Jaguar F-Pace SUV revealed in World Record stunt

Jaguar F-Pace loop-the-loopThe Jaguar F-Pace SUV was revealed in dramatic fashion on the eve of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show – with a Guinness World Record for the largest ever loop-the-loop!

Jaguar’s first-ever SUV, the new F-Pace crossover goes on sale in 2016 priced from £34,710. It’s going head-to-head with the Porsche Macan and Audi Q5, and will also rival the BMW X3.

Jaguar F-Pace

It’s a crucial car for Jaguar, which the firm will give its public debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show this week. But, before that, it had a Guinness World Record to claim – for the highest-ever loop-the-loop!

Brit stuntman Terry Grant drove the new F-Pace around the 19-metre high 360-degree loop, experiencing forces of 6.5G in the process – that’s more than space pilots. Jaguar’s been planning the launch stunt for months…

Stunt driver Grant said: “Driving the world’s largest loop tonight was a very proud moment in my career… I am delighted to bring the Guinness World Record back to the UK and help Jaguar run rings around their competitors ahead of the motor show tomorrow.”

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Jaguar XF

All-new Jaguar XF review: 2015 first drive

Jaguar XFThe pre-launch hype about the Jaguar XE rumbled on for months, culminating with a car being helicoptered into a celeb-packed Earl’s Court, serenaded by pop princess, Emeli Sande.

There’s no such razmatazz for the XE’s big brother, the new 2015 XF. Just a flight to Spain to drive on mountain roads near Pamplona followed by track time in the range-topping 380hp XF S.

Fortunately, Jaguar’s luxury saloon doesn’t need the star-studded talents of Stella McCartney, the Kaiser Chiefs or, um… Gary Lineker to stand out. It may not look that different to the old XF (or indeed the XE), but it’s undeniably handsome, with squat, sporty proportions and a sweeping, coupe-like roofline.

Beneath the surface, the new XF’s body is built largely from aluminium to save weight. And new ‘Ingenium’ diesel engines promise big gains in fuel efficiency.

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There are four powerplants available at launch: 163hp or 180hp 2.0-litre diesel, 300hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel and 380hp 3.0 V6 petrol. The 2.0-litre diesels come with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes; the 3.0-litre engines are auto-only.

The entry-level 163hp diesel is the expected bestseller, particularly for company car drivers. It sprints to 60mph in 8.2 seconds and ekes out 70.6mpg with CO2 emissions of just 104g/km. That equates to £20 annual car tax at 2015 rates (figures for the 2.0 163 auto are 68.9mpg, 109g/km and £20 respectively).

At the opposite end of the scale, the 380hp supercharged XF S storms to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds and returns 34.0mpg and 198g/km (£265 car tax).

Buyers can choose from four trim levels: Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S. All come with Jaguar’s InControl Touch media system, with an 8in touchscreen, navigation and voice control. Optional InControl Touch Pro arrives later this year, with a larger 10.3in screen and ‘virtual’ instrument display – similar to the latest Audi TT.

XF prices start at £32,300 for the 2.0d 163 Prestige, rising to £35,100 for the mid-range 2.0d 180 R-Sport. The range-topping 3.0 V6 S is £49,945.

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2015 Jaguar XF:  On the road

Jaguar saloons used to be softly-sprung, comfortable and, for want of a better word, ‘wafty’. The original XF marked a shift away from softness to sportiness as Jaguar tried to shake off its ‘old man’ image.

The new XF is very much cut from the same Lycra. It’s a sports saloon in the mould of the BMW 5 Series, rather than a comfy cruiser like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

As such, its ride is on the firm side, especially at low speeds around town. The V6 we tried had optional adaptive dampers and was noticeably better in this regard, although still a little stiff on huge 20in alloys and rubber-band tyres.

Fortunately, the trade-off for a little wiggle and jiggle is secure and confidence-inspiring handling. The XF turns in eagerly, its standard torque vectoring system subtly braking the inside wheels to really tug you around tight corners.

The steering is direct and full of feedback, while the eight-speed automatic automatic gearbox adapts seamlessly to your driving style. Only a rather spongy brake pedal lets the side down.

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Frustratingly, the predicted bestseller – the 163hp 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel – wasn’t available to drive at the launch. However, we did try the 180hp version, which costs between £500 and £900 more to buy (depending on spec) and is only slightly less efficient.

The new engine is an impressive all-rounder: smooth, refined and decently quick (0-60mph takes 7.5 seconds). It’s all you really need. Just don’t drive it back-to-back with the 3.0-litre V6.

Ah yes, the V6. This flagship 380hp lump is lifted straight from the F-Type and transforms the XF into something very far from ‘old man’. Kick-down is downright savage with the gearbox in Sport mode, and the whine of the supercharger as this luxurious saloon gathers its skirts and charges for the horizon is addictive stuff.

We also sampled the – somewhat more sensible – XF 3.0-litre diesel, which occupies the middle-ground between these two extremes. Its muscular low-rev torque makes it feel almost as quick as the petrol V6 in normal driving, but you’ll pay a hefty price – nearly £11k more than the most expensive 2.0-litre diesel. And if you can afford £50k, you can afford the petrol car’s supercharged fuel bills, right?

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2015 Jaguar XF:  On the inside

The outgoing XF didn’t just ditch the soft suspension of Jaguars past. It also swapped trad walnut-n-leather for an interior more akin to a trendy wine bar. Aluminium detailing and cool blue lighting were the order of the day.

The new XF keeps the rotating air vents and rotary gear selector of its predecessor, but the rest is all new. A low seating position and wide centre console make the driver feel cocooned inside the car, while the sporty, three-spoke steering wheel feels great.

There’s good news for passengers, too. Rear legroom is up by 15mm, while headroom has increased by up to 27mm. Spend a little more and you can even treat the kids to heated rear seats and four-zone climate control.

Most XFs have conventional dials, but a 12.3in ‘virtual’ display is available, in conjunction with the new InControl Touch Pro media system.

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We tried a developmental version of this set-up, which isn’t available until the end of 2015. It’s bold, bright and very user-friendly, with iPad-style swipe and ‘pinch to zoom’ functionality on the central touchscreen. However, we were less enamoured with the virtual dials, which are harder to read than the old-fashioned physical type.

The XF comes with all the safety kit you’d expect, including automatic emergency braking. However, Jaguar has followed the German brands’ lead elsewhere, relegating many of the most desirable features to the options list.

Full-LED headlights, a laser head-up display, adaptive cruise control, auto parking and a ground-shaking 17-speaker Meridian sound system are all available, if your pockets are deep enough.

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2015 Jaguar XF:  Running costs

Right, ignore everything we said earlier about buying the supercharged V6 petrol. If you want affordable running costs, the four-cylinder diesels are the ones to go for.

Jaguar’s 15 years of expertise with aluminium has certainly paid off. Not only is the XF 2.0d 163 the lightest car in its class by 80kg (equivalent to ditching an adult passenger), it also boasts the lowest CO2 emissions of any non-hybrid model – at 104g/km.

That’s great news for company car drivers and means just £20 annual car tax at 2015 rates. Claimed fuel economy of 70.6mpg is not to be sniffed at either.

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The XF isn’t cheap to buy, though. Its starting price of £32,300 is around £1,500 more than an equivalent BMW 5 Series. However, residual (resale) values are forecast to be among the best in class and, according to Jaguar, that reduces whole-life running costs for the 2.0d to less than the Germans.

One question mark with the new XF is reliability. The marque has fared well in recent JD Power surveys, which focus on newer cars. But the – more in-depth and comprehensive – Which? Car Survey points to longer-term reliability issues across the existing Jaguar range.

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2015 Jaguar XF:  Verdict

The new XF isn’t a game-changer like its predecessor, but it doesn’t need to be. It builds on the strengths of the outgoing car, with added ‘grace, space and pace’ (to quote the famous vintage Jaguar ad). Oh, and a large dollop of extra efficiency, too.

If you’re looking for the last word in luxury, you’ll be better served by a Mercedes E-Class. The XF is unashamedly a sports saloon, and it rewards keen drivers with a chassis that matches the best BMW can muster.

Nonetheless, all its main competitors are very competent cars that we’d happily drive every day. Much of your choice essentially comes down to design – and here the XF excels.

Removing our objective road-test hats for a moment, we think the XF is comfortably the best looking car in this segment. It’s sleek and elegant, with a low-slung silhouette that hints at sportiness within. The fact that it looks very similar to the smaller XE hardly seems to matter – identikit cars have done Audi and Land Rover no harm.

The XF’s cabin is gorgeous, too. And quality feels sufficiently good to allay our fears about long-term reliability. Just go easy on those extra-cost options.

From frugal Ingenium diesels to fire-breathing V6 petrol, the XF has got most bases covered. If you’re in the market for a luxury saloon, it should be near the top of your shortlist.

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2015 Jaguar XF:  Specification

Jaguar XF 2.0d 180 R-Sport auto

Price: £36,850

Engine: 2.0-litre diesel

Gearbox: 8-speed automatic

Power: 180hp

Torque: 318lb ft

0-60mph: 7.7 seconds

Top speed: 136mph

Fuel economy: 65.7mpg

CO2 emissions: 114g/km

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 review

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 review: 2015 first drive

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 reviewJaguar vs BMW: it’s now a thing. Because the British-built Jaguar XE delivers, and how. It’s good enough to trade blows with the 3 Series. It might just now be the class-leader.

Richard Aucock | April 2015

The Jaguar XE should be the car that strikes fear into the 3 Series. And if there’s one variant that BMW should be particularly anxious about, it’s this one: the high-volume 2.0-litre turbodiesel, in optimum 180hp guise. For if Jaguar gets this one right, BMW really has got a fight on its hands. Game on, then.

Since we last drove the XE, Jaguar’s been busy polishing all the areas it promised to: engine refinement and interior finish in particular. Shorn of its prototype stickers and now fully on show to the world, the XE certainly looks interesting. Now we’ve got used to the fact it’s not going to be a styling revolution (nor did it ever need to be), it’s possible to appreciate the design for what it is.

Namely, a saloon car with alternative proportions to the three-box norm – the roofline really is coupe-like, window graphics bold and, in elegantly-formed aluminium and steel, body detailing simple and well judged. The stance is muscular, confident, more haunched and sporty than we’re used to in this sector, and people will like it when they see it on the road.

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 review

The interior was the bit we were worried about. Lacking its production-spec finishes, we felt it looked a bit plain. Panic over. Again, it’s different to the sector norm, purposefully with a more cockpit-like feel and cocooned sensation – you get this from the super-low seats (even dropping down so low when you get in feels good), the high centre console and the way the concave door panels seem to wrap you within it.

And the finish evident throughout, in the mid-range sporty-spec R-Sport, is impressive: the double-stitched dashtop, lustrous piano black centre console, precise aluminium detailing and even the fact it ‘sounds’ solid when you tap it (unlike the hollow rattle you get in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class) is reassuring. It looks premium, it’s a match for the 3 Series, Jaguar has achieved what it promised to.

The car we tested was, intentionally, a business user’s dream spec. The 2.0d 180 R-Sport retails at £33,025, emits 109g/km CO2, has touchscreen sat nav, cruise control and HID headlights as standard and even includes must-have 18-inch wheels. Add on must-have metallic paint and, for less than £34,000, you’ve a great-looking car that feels good to sit in and could topple the five-star 3 Series. Does it?

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 review

What’s the Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 like to drive?

Not a single excuse is needed. The XE delivers. It’s a great drive, with depth and ability across the board, has a front-running diesel engine, a modern-era infotainment system and plenty of surprise discoveries that delight and satisfy in equal measure.

The engine first: with the prototype, we were worried that, while smooth, it was maybe a bit too vocal and gruff. It’s cured here: apart from a bit of tickover shimmy, the all-new engine is very refined and easily a match for the new 2.0-litre diesel in the BMW; as such, it also topples Audi’s 2.0-litre TDI and the clattery, aged 2.1-litre Bluetec in the Mercedes-Benz. It revs particularly sweetly, with little diesel drone, and step-on response to the accelerator is both swift and smooth. We’re pleased to report how cultured and sweet it is.

It’s quick, posting 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, and 317lb ft of torque gives it guts. It blends particularly well with the smooth, satisfying eight-speed auto option, but also works nicely with the six-speed manual, the same ZF gearbox as used by BMW. With a meaty clutch, positive action and mechanical feel, the stubby lever’s action will please the enthusiasts.

As will the handling. We expected it to be good; with an ultra-rigid body, F-Type-stiff aluminium suspension pickup mounts, double wishbone front suspension and Integral Link rear, it exceeds even our heavily 3 Series-influenced expectations.

Handling is agile, confident, precise, full of bite when you press hard. It seems analogue, rather than force-fed; the harder you push, the more it gives back, in a linear and predictable way. Lean hard on it and it’s beautifully balanced; prefer fingertips and it flows with inch-perfect accuracy.

This is despite the steering being Jaguar’s first EPAS electric assistance setup – but you’d barely believe it from the on-centre feel, the precision and delicacy, the fact weighting is consistent and never feels like you’re steering through two opposing magnets doing strange and unpredictable things to the assistance. It also weightens consistently and naturally in dynamic mode.

The drive is complemented by a ride quality that surely leads the class. Even the standard passive-suspension car (adaptive suspension is optional) has a fluid, flowing ride but with proper control and not a hint of float when you’re chucking it about with commitment. We’re writing this and we still don’t know how Jaguar’s achieved what it has done with the ride.

We drove across ugly-looking broken surfaces at speed, yet didn’t feel a trace of excessive harshness or noise. Across fast B-roads, it remained poised and tightly controlled, but without the stiffly-sprung jitters you get in the more focused 3 Series. It was marvelously measured and flowing on the motorway, but nicely roll-free and responsive on bends. Thank the expensive suspension hardware, says Jaguar. Thank a magnificent amount of expertise in setting it up like this, we say.

But most important of all is the overall feel of the drive: it’s premium, expensive, benefits from high-level engineering and is far from mainstream. The XE feels special to drive, feels like you’d hope a baby Jaguar would – feels like a genuine, closely-matched BMW 3 Series rival, in fact. We can think of no higher praise.

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 review

Does the Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 beat the BMW 320d?

Has Jaguar really been able to do what no other member of the establishment has done, and topple the mighty BMW 3 Series? We believe it may well have done. And, as long-time current-shape 3 Series loyalists, we’re both amazed and delighted to be saying this.

It’s not just the drive, although obviously that’s a major factor – particularly the way Jaguar’s delivered pleasing, driver-focused handling with step-up ride quality over the 3 Series that offers more suppleness with no less control. It’ll take a back-to-back to make the final call, but these two drivers’ cars are neck and neck for which pleases drivers the most; they’re certainly well ahead of any competitor.

The diesel engine is, to our relief, thoroughly on the money, which it had to be given the improvements BMW’s found in its new generation 2.0-litre 190hp unit. Again, both are clear of the competition here (Mercedes-Benz needs to take a serious look at that oil-burner of its, and soon).

But then there’s the other important parts that make up car ownership. Styling: the Jaguar is the better-looking car and, once you’re familiar with it and see them side-by-side, we’re sure you’ll agree. The proportions are more pleasing, the shape and surfaces are more interesting and, well, it’s something different in a sector that’s traditionally rather conservative – without, crucially, being too different.

They’re neck and neck on interiors, and maybe the BMW’s got a bit more space, maybe its infotainment system is a bit more well-rounded (although we understand Jaguar has plans here – think InControl Touch Pro…). The Jaguar’s a nice place to be though, and has Germanic substance combined with British warmth – it’s a welcoming, pleasant place to be that, again thanks to the proportions and layout, feels different and unique.

The twin test between them is going to be fascinating but, if we had to make a call right now, we’d give it to the Jaguar. The drive is more rounded, the engine blends performance, refinement and economy very well, it’s nice inside and the shape really is growing on us.

There are two provisos: one, in a few weeks, BMW will have a facelifted 3 Series on show. Two, we need to get them back-to-back in the UK to decide which really is the best compact executive you can buy. But the fact it’s between the BMW and the Jaguar says it all: that’s how much Jaguar has achieved with the new XE.

Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 2015 review

Verdict: Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 (2015)

Jaguar’s done it. Jaguar’s delivered a genuinely competitive compact exexutive car. Jaguar’s done what Lexus and Infiniti have failed to do, and taken on the mighty three German brands, on equal footing.

We reckon the XE is so good, it’s already beaten the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. That’s how good it is. And it’s the fact we’re now wondering just who’s going to come out ahead when it meets the BMW 3 Series that tells you what a great car the XE is.

Jaguar vs. BMW: the fight is on.

Rivals: Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 (2015)

  1. BMW 3 Series
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  3. Audi A4
  4. Lexus IS
  5. Infiniti Q50

The BMW has been the five-star class act in this sector ever since its launch. It’s way ahead of the others, most significantly the dated Audi A4 (due for replacement at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show). Even the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class couldn’t topple it. Jaguar also sees the Lexus IS as a rival, but not the Infiniti Q50: neither do we, really.

Specification: Jaguar XE 2.0d 180 (2015)

Engine 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder

Gearbox Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

Price from £30,275 (R-Sport as tested: £33,025)

Power 180hp

Torque 317lb ft (430Nm)

0-62mph 7.4 seconds

Top speed 140mph

MPG 67.3mpg

CO2 109g/km