The BMW 3 series has always dominated the small luxury sedan market. Jaguar challenges that with the 2020 Jaguar XE. Jags have always been known for three things: driving feel, prestige and presence. In a market saturated with big players from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Genesis, JLR had no choice but to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the XE. 360 Magazine examined the changes to see if they produced.
Known for its dashing looks, Jaguar has been making subtle but effective updates to the current generation XE. In 2020, notice the head and tail lights have been sharpened slightly to give the vehicle a wider and lower impression. These upgrades make the car look more aggressive and imposing. LED lighting is standard in the rear and optional up front. Wheel options are formidable throughout the lineup with sizes ranging from 18” to 20”. In addition, it possesses puddle lights which differentiate it from other compact European vehicles within its class.
The interior is perhaps the biggest improvement of the 2020 XE. Dominating the center console is the twin screen infotainment/HVAC controls pulled from all other Jaguar Land Rover products. Remarkably, the modernized system brings a new level of intuitiveness missing from prior model years. Quality is a mixed bag, some soft materials and some cheaper with uneven gaps, as usual with the group. An excellent attention to detail is the half-metal stalks coming off the steering wheel. Otherwise, the Jag is mostly unchanged on the inside compared to the outgoing model. Additional features include power adjustable leather seats, dual zone climate control, and a huge panoramic sunroof for an airy experience. Talk about sunshine on a cloudy day. Light shines through to amplify the size of the car.
First enter the sedan at night for an eyeful of bright and colorful ambient lighting that highlight the contours throughout. Drivers can expect a head up display, 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 360 team appreciated a new rear view mirror with a built-in camera similar to GM’s.
Jag delivered as promised on the most important aspect of a small luxury sedan – performance. As with what seems like every other vehicle nowadays, a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine is standard. In the base XE S trim, the engine outputs 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft torque which is good for a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds. Step up to the R-Dynamic S trim and the 2.0L engine kicks out 296 horsepower, 295 lb-ft torque, and a 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds. Both trims are built on a lightweight aluminum architecture with a curb weight of 3,385 and 3,560 pounds, respectively. The base trim pushes power to the rear wheels standard with AWD as an option. Engineers also considered aerodynamics heavily while developing this car and have fine tuned it for this model year. The XE has a drag coefficient as low as Cd0.27, which is slightly more than the BMW at 0.26 but still very impressive. This leads to the friendly MPG numbers.
R-Dynamic vehicles come standard with AWD. Standard performance and handling features include brake vectoring, double wishbone front suspension and integral link rear suspension. Optional features include Configurable Dynamics with adjustable steering weight and throttle response, Adaptive Dampers, and bigger brakes and aero treatments. Combine everything and you have a dream handling machine. Fuel economy numbers stand at 25/34 city/highway for the Base trim and 22/30 for the R-Dynamic.
The XE comes standard with emergency braking, standard cruise control, driver condition monitoring, rear view camera and lane keep assist. The LKA is the variety that nudges the vehicle back into the lane rather than keeping it centered in the lane. Gearheads may not feel comfortable taking hands off the wheel in this vehicle. This is the opposite of most BMW vehicles as their LKA is much more confidence inspiring. With that being said, we are excited for Jaguar’s next generation XE and its updated LKA as it should be top notch. Optional features for the XE include Adaptive Cruise Control with start/stop, High Speed Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Assist. The comprehensive suite of advanced safety technology makes this cruiser feel very sturdy and safe.
To top it off, the XE has powerful brakes and six airbags spread out throughout the cabin in the front, side and rear curtain. This Jag comes in at approximately $40,000 base with the R Dynamic Trim starting at $46,000. After an extensive drive, it’s apparent Jaguar built a real competitor in the true driver’s car market.