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First drive: Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S. Image by Jaguar.

First drive: Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S
The supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol XE might not be a big seller, but it's really rather good.

 



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Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S

4 4 4 4 4

The accountants at Jaguar will no doubt gleefully watch the money pouring in from 2.0d XE sales in the UK. This 3.0 S variant is unlikely to add much to that, but it's a very impressive flagship for a hugely competitive range.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Jaguar XE 3.0 S
Price: 44,870
Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: four-door saloon
CO2 emissions: 194g/km (Band J, 265 per year)
Combined economy: 34.9mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Power: 340hp at 6,500rpm
Torque 450Nm at 4,500rpm

What's this?

A car that will, in sales terms, have very little impact in the UK. That's not to say it's not a credible - and very impressive - car, but as the current sporting flagship of a range of models set to take on the BMW 3 Series - and by default the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class - the volume will be in the middle-management 2.0-litre diesel models with their tax-friendly CO2 emissions. So sales don't count for the S, but bragging rights for drivers of the XE 2.0d do, especially if it's got the measure of its obvious German foes.

How does it drive?

This car is one of 600 pre-production prototypes that Jaguar has built in the ramp-up to full production models. However, a few interior trim pieces aside it's 99 per cent representative of what Jaguar's customers will be able to buy in showrooms in a few short months. The 3.0-litre V6 engine is supercharged, giving the S an output of 340hp, enough for the XE S to reach 62mph in 5.1 seconds from rest, its performance and price putting it between BMW's 335i M Sport and the M3. Indeed, the Jaguar sits a touch uncomfortably among any of its class rivals, being more expensive than Audi's S4 as well.

Nothing wrong with doing your own thing though, and the Jaguar XE S demonstrates that all that balance and poise that's evident in the volume models isn't corrupted by the addition of extra power. Being the range-topper means there's adaptive damping, even if the standard setting never left us wanting more control, though the steering could use a touch more feel. There's little complaint about its weighting or accuracy though, the XE's turn in quick and faithful. Traction is impressive too; even with the electronic stability and traction aids turned off the XE is approachable and enjoyable, the engine's hunger for revs matched by the gearbox's ability to dish out one of its eight ratios quickly and smoothly.

It's fast then, deceptively so, the XE very much defining the concept of a Q car, which is down to its remarkable ability to shrug off poor road surfaces yet retain tight control at the same time. The engine's refinement helps too - if anything Jaguar could do with turning up the intensity in that department a touch.

Verdict

We drove a prototype, so this is a verdict with provisos, but on evidence of this early drive the XE 3.0 S is a supremely capable and composed performance flagship. If anything it's a touch too dignified; Jaguar could do with putting a few rough edges back in, but then there's always time for something above it in the range, too.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 28 Jan 2015









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2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Patrick Gosling.



2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 

2015 Jaguar XE 3.0 V6 S prototype. Image by Jaguar.
 






 

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