IT’S BEEN dubbed the ‘baby Jag’ – but there should be no mistaking the fact that, in many ways, Jaguar’s XE model is as grown up as any of its garage mates.

While it may be quite compact – it is, crucially, quite a bit shorter than the popular XF model, 282mm to be precise and 30mm less wide – and while that might give some limitations to its passenger carrying capacity in the rear seats, it does make for sharper handling. And, it is 200kg lighter than its big brother, which also adds to the sharpness.

If you’re moving down to this model from any of the bigger Jags, like the XF or the F-Pace, you will be instantly familiar with the interior layout and many of the controls, including the turn-buckle gear selector, which rises from the centre console on start-up.

The usual Jag refinement in the cab, includes, as you would expect a veritable trailer load of cow hide taken to its most attractive degree, with the sporty-style front seats featuring perforated leather – ideal for the heated and cooling facility built in.

But, there was one thing that the model on test had that was quite un-Jag-like hidden under my feet – it was a four-wheel-drive traction system. I hope this is a foretaste to come for the next generation of this popular saloon which is due out later this year, because the surety added by AWD really does set this apart from the crowd.

The Landmark special edition – as it is known – comes with a snazzy front bumper, small rear spoiler and side skirts to make sure it looks as good as it handles.

This model also had 18-inch alloys with which to put the 237bhp produced by Jaguar’s 2.0-litre diesel down on the tarmac. Matched to an eight-speed auto gearbox, this produced some quick, but assured handling, from the lightweight body, which is pretty much standard across all Jags these days.

That allows a time of 6.1 seconds during the timed run of 0-62mph – yet it will still get within a whisker of 50mpg on normal driving conditions.

Likely to follow through to the incoming version of the XE will be three ratings for the petrol-powered models of 188bhp, 247bhp and 296bhp engines, while the diesel range comprises 161bhp, 178bhp and 237bhp. Standard fitment to the two lowest powered diesels is a six-speed manual, while an eight-speed is standard across the rest – though it is optional with the two smaller diesels.

Four-wheel-drive is optional on the 178bhp diesel auto and standard fare with the 237bhp diesel and 297bhp petrol.

It’s not cheap at £44,130 (for the model tested), but with a new version sitting in the wings that doesn’t look substantially all that much different, there may be some deals to be done on the garage forecourts.


Price: £44,130

Engine: 1997cc, four-cylinder turbo diesel with 237 bhp

Performance: 0-62 mph in 6.1 secs, top speed 155 mph

Economy: 49.6 mpg (combined)

CO2 emissions: 152 k/gm