2020 Jaguar XE
2020 Jaguar XE
The 2020 Jaguar XE is the British brand’s sport sedan, and a rival to some of the best-known four-doors on the planet.
This year it gets a mild facelift that includes slimmer LED headlights and squared-off taillights. Powertrain options, which previously included a turbodiesel as well as a supercharged V-6, have been pared down to just two turbo-4 models. Numerous active-safety features have been made standard. The interior benefits from new door panels, more soft-touch materials, and a conventional shift lever that replaces the old rotary-dial unit.
The cheaper and less potent version of the 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 247 horsepower. The high-output spec has 296 horsepower at the ready. Both mate to an 8-speed automatic and send power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is available on the less powerful engine.
Pricing for the XE ranges from about $40,000 for a base model to $60,000 for one loaded up with nearly every option.
The NHTSA and IIHS have yet to crash-test an XE.
Standard-issue active-safety equipment for all XEs includes front and rear parking sensors and active lane control, as well as automatic emergency braking. Buyers willing to pay more can get adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and automatic park assist.
The XE is an efficient sedan in any guise. The most parsimonious models, which are rear-wheel drive and come equipped with the 247-hp engine, are rated for 25 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. Upgrading to all-wheel-drive sees the city rating drop by 1 mpg.
The high-output 296-hp turbo-4 only comes in rear-drive guise, but that doesn’t do much for its fuel economy. It’s rated for 22/30/25 mpg.
All prices include a $995 destination charge.
The XE is down to just two models. The cheaper of those is the base P250 ($40,895 for RWD, $42,895 for AWD), which comes with features like a 10-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 12-way power seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Stepping up to the R-Dynamic ($47,290) brings a dose of added style by way of a more aggressive front bumper, a body kit that brings a more sporting look, and sport leather seats with contrast stitching. It also has gearshift paddles and sportier 18-inch wheels.
The sporting looks of this sport sedan are evident on first glance. Fenders flare out in the subtlest way. Wheels are pushed out about as far as they could be. The long hood has a slight power bulge that suggests more than the top output of 296 hp. The rear-drive architecture gives the sedan eye-pleasing proportions that provokingly suggests performance notions.
The overall result from all this careful design work does more than just align the XE with the rest of the Jaguar lineup: it also gives it a just-right dose of performance pedigree. That goes a long way in establishing street cred in this brutally competitive segment.
Jaguar’s latest cars are all business on the inside, and we find the lack of character rather sterile.
That’s not to say the interior is poorly screwed together. On the contrary, material quality is top-notch. All surfaces that are seen and felt come off as appropriately luxurious for the price point. We couldn’t say the same for last year’s model, which used more hard plastics throughout the cabin. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.
The standard leather seating is firm, well-bolstered, and comfortable, fitting the sport-sedan bill. With its standard 12-way power adjustment, drivers of any build should have no trouble finding a position that works for them. For even more choice, there’s 16-way power seats available that are heated and cooled.
Stretch-out is ample for front passengers, and a big glass area lends an airy feel to a cabin that’s otherwise a touch short on head room. Rear legroom is on par with the class leaders. Narrow door openings in the back can make ingress and egress rather difficult, but once situated we found a 6-foot passenger can sit back there fairly comfortably.
The back seat is also split-folding, which is important because there’s just 14.5 cubic feet of trunk space, about what Jaguar’s own F-Type sports car offers in coupe form.
All XEs get a 10-inch touchscreen running Jaguar’s latest infotainment software. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, as is HD radio. There are two each of USB and 12V sockets.
With the economical diesel and potent V-6 out of the picture, engine options have been whittled down to just two different versions of a 2.0-liter turbo-4. Luckily, both variants are torquey and smooth, even if they don’t have the firepower of the previously available V-6.
The 247 hp made by the base turbo-4 might not sound like much these days, but its 269 lb-ft of torque is available early on in the rev range and sticks around to 4,500 rpm. That’s enough grunt to keep the XE from ever feeling strained. A 0-60 mph run happens in 6.2 seconds.
The 296-hp variant lowers the 0-60 mph time to just 5.4 seconds, which is quicker than a turbo-4-powered BMW 330i. The XE’s high-output engine is just as smooth and unperturbed as the 247-hp version.
Both engines in the XE are fitted with an 8-speed automatic, with the high-output model getting paddle shifters for manual control. Multiple drive modes change the programming and shift points of the transmission; Sport will hold gears longer, while Eco races for top gear in the name of efficiency. Comfort is right in the middle and is the happy medium most drivers will prefer.
As for handling, all XEs notably come with brake-based torque-vectoring, which automatically brakes the inside wheels during cornering to reduce understeer. The tech contributes to the fluid, neutral handling that sets this sport sedan apart from the competition.
The XE enjoys suspension tuning that keeps the ride composed and comfortable. The standard setup works well enough, but there’s adaptive dampers available that provide an even nicer ride. Splurge on the dampers and you also get customizable drive modes, red brake calipers, and a decklid spoiler.
The 2020 Jaguar XE is a fine sport sedan, deftly blending the best of luxury and sport to make one well-equipped, fine-driving four-door. We’d get the R-Dynamic because we like the more aggressive look and extra power.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection