The XE premium compact sedan is an all-new model from Jaguar, ready to pounce on the well-established premium compact sedans produced by Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
There are three models in the Jaguar XE lineup: 20d, 25t and 35t. Each of these is available in four different trim levels: XE, XE Premium, XE Prestige and XE R-Sport.
The 20d is powered by a 180-horsepower diesel engine, the 25t has a 240-horsepower four-cylinder turbo, and the 35t rocks a 340-horsepower V6.
All models are rear-wheel drive, but 20d and 35t models also offer the option of all-wheel drive.
Base prices, including a $995 destination charge, are $35,895 for the XE 25t, $37,395 for the XE 20d, and $42,695 for the XE 35t.
I tested the XE 25t Prestige model, embellished with $4,888 worth of optional features. The only four-figure item among those options ($2,400) is a desirably functional Vision Package adding adaptive Xenon headlights with Jaguar’s signature J-blade LED daytime running lights, a power washing system for those headlights, front and rear parking assist, reverse traffic detection, and blind spot monitoring.
Two other options on the test car, both deemed necessities by this driver, are Wi-fi and SiriusXM satellite radio — $300 and $350, respectively. Except for wheel locks, the remaining options are cosmetic.
Power, performance and handling are unquestionably the star attractions of the 2017 Jaguar XE. That’s not to say it isn’t a beautiful car. It is. But good looks are subjective, and someone else might say the XE is outstyled by one or more of its competitors. The XE 35t’s V6 is a screamer, no doubt, but anyone dissatisfied with the XE 25t’s power probably has some aggression issues.
The XE’s interior looks and feels plenty upscale, but it doesn’t emit the rock-solid build vibe of the German brands that dominate the premium car market. Jaguar’s advantage here is over the non-German premium brands that also lack the rock-solid build vibe but don’t have the passionate aficionados nor the storied history of the Jaguar brand. That Big Cat logo on the steering wheel still impresses, and for good reason.
All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) is standard on the Jaguar XE. It’s a new stability system developed from decades of Jaguar Land Rover expertise in off-road traction control. Functioning like low-speed cruise control at speeds between 2 mph and 19 mph, ASPC precisely operates the brake and powertrain systems to provide optimum traction when road conditions are dicey.
The all-new Jaguar InControl infotainment system has an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen and supports Bluetooth, audio streaming and USB connectivity. Voice control using plain speech gives access to any level of the system, so drivers don’t have to look away from the road ahead or navigate through menus. For those who want a traditional infotainment interface, Jaguar XE systems feature a user-friendly map that can be operated by touch using simple pinch-to-zoom commands like many smartphones.
2017 JAGUAR XE 25t PRESTIGE
Base price, including destination charge: $42,395
Price as driven: $47,283
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.