Jaguar XE 20d Prestige: A sporty sedan with good ride quality
The arrival of the XE diesel fills a gaping hole in Jaguar’s India line-up. The carmaker may have positioned the petrol XE variant as the sporty choice among luxury sedans, but in a segment where diesels still reign supreme, it needed something to take the diesel-powered Audi A4, the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-class head on. The XE 20d is the car for the job. It comes powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, Ingenium turbo-diesel engine in its 180hp and 430Nm torque ratings. The power and torque figures are 10hp lower and 30Nm higher, respectively, on what the A4 35 TDI and 320d’s engines make. The Mercedes C 220d makes less power, but the Jaguar is not even close to the twin-turbo C 250d’s 204hp and 500Nm figures.
We have experienced this Ingenium diesel on a Jaguar before on the XF, but the punchy nature of the engine is more in keeping with the XE’s sporty pretensions. The engine feels quicker than the 9 seconds it takes to get from 0-100 kmph would suggest and the kick-down acceleration is good too. The engine bunches up its power for release at 2,000 rpm and till 4,000 rpm, the progress is strong. You can drive hard and even hold on to the gear at the 4,900 rpm limiter in manual mode, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox does such a nice job of things on its own, that you will be happy to let it do its thing. In the Dynamic drive mode, the gearbox gets the best out of the engine by selecting the ratio that keeps revs near the 2,000 rpm mark. As a result, there’s no delay in the build-up of power and the XE just lunges forward as and when you need it to. For more relaxed city driving, the gearbox keeps engine revs low. It’s just that the engine isn’t as quiet as it ought to be. Inputs at the throttle are usually accompanied by a grumble from the engine. You just won’t get the same sense of calm in the cabin as you would in the beautifully insulated Audi A4 35 TDI, though a BMW 320d is noisier still.
It’s actually the 320d that the Jaguar XE 20d can be best clubbed together with. Both cars are designed to put the driver at the heart of the action. And like its petrol siblings, the XE diesel succeeds in this quest. The steering is straight up incredible and there is a very natural balance in the chassis that makes the XE a joy to drive on curvy roads. The ride quality is good too. There is a great balance between body movement-restricting firmness and ride-enhancing suppleness in the suspension setup, and only on occasion will the XE thud on really bad roads.
The weak link in the overall package is the rear seat comfort. The legroom and headroom are at a premium so you just can’t stretch out like you can in the rivals. The best seat in the house is the one behind the steering wheel. The XE’s base Pure and mid-spec Prestige versions get rather drab all-black interiors, while the fully loaded Portfolio trim’s dual-tone combo is more premium in appearance. Opt for a lower trim and you will have to compromise on a smaller touchscreen and sound system, aside from a few comfort features. You will be best off extending your budget and splurging on the Portfolio, at Rs43.21 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
But if you are willing to do so, why not just go for the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol XE 25t Portfolio version, that actually costs about Rs1 lakh less. A sporty sedan like the XE needs a fitting engine, and in our books, it is the 240hp petrol.