Why you need a Jaguar

Jaguar’s new direction is Electric SUVs, but you can’t beat a Jag saloon for class and charm

By Shahzad Sheikh

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar may have seemed like a crusty old brand proffering cars infused deeply with the pungent aroma of pipe tobacco and a bowler hat permanently in residence on the rear parcel shelf, but in the last few years it’s been leap-frogging rival premium brands to embrace a dynamic and youthful 21st century persona.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace Review

It’s fast-forwarding into the future with SUVs such as the F-Pace, terrific new E-Pace (review below) and the fascinating all-electric I-Pace crossover Tesla-beater.

Jaguar I-Pace

All good, but thank goodness the Big Cat has not forsaken its forte – cool coupes and slinky saloons. I love the F-Type, and was even impressed with the latest 2.0-litre version – which I think is perhaps even better balanced than the larger-engined cars and makes for a great sportscar to compliment the grand tourer V6 and supercar-baiting SVR.

Plus this XF estate, or wagon if you prefer, is a rather handsome beast and more practical than an SUV I felt when I reviewed it.

But the car I want to talk about here is the XE R Sport I had for 10 days during my recent stay in the UK. I didn’t do a review on it because I’ve already reviewed it locally in both four- and six-cylinder guises, and for 2018 the only changes are a refreshed interior as well as improved and updated infotainment systems. Plus this car was a diesel so not really relevant to our market.

Spending time with this car, away from having to focus on the thought processes normally employed in review mode, I could just enjoy it and get to know it on a daily-driver level. And in this manner its strengths shone through brightly.

The cosseting ride beats off London’s pothole-infested streets, the comfy cabin keeps everyone happy, the all-wheel drive ensures sure-footedness in wet conditions, the torquey performance keeps it quick from the lights, but easily restrained in traffic, the sweet seating is more sports car than upright saloon, and the extensive level of kit and options to play with, as well as an excellent Meridian sound system, will keep one and all happy.

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Externally, the size is ideal for London – substantial enough to give it road presence, but compact enough to deal with the tight roads, slim parking spaces and width restrictions. And talking of road presence, in the R Sport trim with the contrasting black alloy wheels and mean styling, it looks both Executive Express and Back-Street Bruiser.

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

And yet here’s the thing – it’s completely inoffensive. The trouble with a lot of the German premium cars is that people either love them or hate them – this is particularly in the context of the UK. You’re either seriously cool and worthy of respect for your achievements in life, or you’re a complete tosser (to use a colloquialism) who’s just a show off and can’t drive either. Well there is no justified logic to blind rage and hate is there?

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

The Jag on the other hand, doesn’t seem to rub anyone up the wrong way. You may even catch the occasional envious glance or rare nod of approval. I remember driving a press XF-R through Central London some years back and finding myself on a busy street on a nice summers day. As I passed a crowded pub, three gents raised their pints to the car. I kid you not!

The Equalizer

Then there’s The Equalizer – no not the Denzel Washington movies, but the original TV series they are based on. Robert McCall drove a Series III Jaguar XJ6 saloon – suave, sophisticated and serious but not in-your-face or overly aggressive – perfectly suited to an admirable character with guarded strength and guile, but also a sensitive do-gooder that could not pass by a hard-luck case.

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

So whilst I fully understand and endorse Jaguar’s charge into the future, I do hope the marque never dismisses its heritage of sexy sportscars and sublime saloons. I’d have an old XJ6 and an XJS and I’d definitely have a new XE or an F-Type because class and charm are rare qualities these days.

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Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

Jaguar XE 2.0 Diesel R Sport UK

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