Oakville Drives: 2017 Jaguar XE R-Sport AWD

A Professional Driver's Perspective

2017 XE R-Sport AWD
Oakville Drives: 2017 Jaguar XE R-Sport AWD
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The Jaguar XE is the smallest of all of the Jaguar sedan family and can best be described as a small “luxury” sports sedan. It is available in three models – Premium, Prestige and R-Sport each with a choice of two engine options; a four-cylinder 2.0L turbocharged diesel or a gas 3.0L supercharged V6.

2017 XE R-Sport AWD

2017 XE R-Sport AWD

Handling characteristics

My test 2017 Jaguar XE R-Sport all wheel drive came equipped with the 340 horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. Maximum speed is rated at 250k with 0-100k at 5.4 seconds. Similar to my experience with the F-Type, starting this car results in a similar engine rush to high rpm before settling down to idle. Quite disappointing though was the absence of the familiar very loud F-Type exhaust, replaced on the XE by a very average non-sports car like tone. There is more than sufficient power available for spirited highway driving and the suspension is excellent. Not the same can be said for the 8-speed transmission that I found annoyed me with its noise and busyness especially while accelerating. I would have much preferred a six-speed manual (not available with the XE). It does have the use of a “sport” mode that allows for the use of the car’s paddles. In this mode, you need to up-shift when approaching redline but don’t expect any timely or useful deceleration on downshifts.

On the open road, the XE handles quite well with good steering response and predictable stability. Once up to speed on a twisty piece of road, you can actually start to enjoy the nicely tuned suspension and responsive brakes. Jaguar uses something called “Torque Vectoring” to maximize stability through tight corners. The net result of this technology is the use of independent braking on the inside wheels to reduce under-steer in even the sharpest of corners. A nice feature for those drivers with sufficient experience to respect the car’s cornering limits. The car handles equally well in city driving with excellent responsiveness and reasonable suspension damping for the more rougher city roads.

Jaguar

Model: 2017 Jaguar XE R-Sport AWD
Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V6
Base Price: $57,500 (before HST)
Price as Tested: $70,172 (before HST)

Comfort

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My test vehicle came equipped with 10-way adjustable electric and memory premium leather sport seats that are standard with the R-Sport model. Leather heated adjustable steering wheel with sensible multi function controls as well as an adjustable steering column also comes standard. The drive selector is Jaguar’s center console rotary dial that presents once the engine is started. This model was equipped with the 10” screen that is a needed improvement over the 8” version. This touch screen includes controls for audio, climate, Bluetooth® telephone connectivity and navigation. The optional technology package adds Jaguar’s “InControl Pro” services as well as an upgraded 825W 7.1 channel digital surround system with 17 speakers. Many of the now expected connectivity features are included as standard equipment. Most of the driver’s controls are well positioned and intuitive. Completing the front interior, is a leather wrapped dash with optional carbon fiber veneer finish. The rear of the car is equipped with folding 40/20/40 folding seats that include individual headrests and a center armrest with cup-holders.

2017 XE R-Sport AWD

2017 XE R-Sport AWD

Despite all of these features, I was disappointed in the quality and presentation of the interior finish. Recognizing that this is a small sport sedan, it is definitely not a comfortable vehicle for larger folks. As a 198cm. (just under 6’6”) driver, I found it not impossible, but a challenge to get into and exit this car with its low roofline and seemingly small door. Once inside, I had no problems in placing the seat sufficiently back and adjusting the telescoping steering column to place the steering wheel in a correct position. However, despite the “auto retract” option on the steering column, I found it necessary to fully retract the steering wheel in order to exit the car. Another surprise was that with the seat positioned furthest back, I could no longer comfortably reach the driver’s window control switch without leaning forward a fair bit. Finally, the seat belt latch receptacle is buried too far into the side of the seat making it difficult to buckle up. As a friend can attest, even a passenger of a larger size will have to experiment to get into the car for the first time – and without hitting their head on the roofline while getting in. The rear seats are skimpy on leg and headroom and really not suitable for long distances with adult passengers.

Safety

The Jaguar XE R-Sport comes equipped with just about all of the modern electronically controlled safety features now common on higher end vehicles. Of these, the “driving control” features are impressive with torque vectoring, dynamic stability control, engine drag torque control, ABS, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane assist, adaptive cruise control with queue assist, blind spot monitoring, reverse traffic detection, tire pressure monitoring, park assist and surround cameras. Driver and passengers are protected with a full array of belts, airbags and side cushions.

Things to consider

The Jaguar XE R-Sport is a nicely designed smaller sport sedan with just about all of the features one could ask for. Exterior styling of the front end is consistent with Jaguar’s unique look. Then the rear of the car is more like that of some non-sport sedans and takes away from the overall sporty look of the car. Despite its good handling characteristics, it remains short on style, finish and overall comfort, especially for the larger person. Also to consider is the 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine with 318 lb.ft. of torque.

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