Jaguar XE 20d in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Jaguar XE 20d tested
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We'll catch up on the start right away, with telling about how it used to be, with the Queen, all the trimmings . But, friends, we must first tell you how terrific this X E drives. You can tell when you pull out of a parking space that it was developed on the most demanding roads in the world. Not on race tracks, but on real country roads. Those in Wales. Framed by hedges and pointed stone walls, they wind their way over hilltops, crouch in depressions and cling to cliffs.

In order for a car to be fast here, it has to convey grip, precision and, above all, trust. The Jaguar XE 20d can do all of this. It celebrates curves with a grandiose steering that does not respond as poisonously as in a 3 Series, not as sterile feedback as in an A4 and not as leisurely reacts as in a C-Class. The Jaguar XE 20d steers smoothly, but Determined, fluent, but precise, motivating but not cocky. Most importantly, it doesn't drive like any other car. It drives like only a compact Jaguar sports sedan should drive. And before we test out that the Jaguar XE 20d is not a perfect car, not one that will get five stars, we have to say: Is that a brilliant Jaguar!

The Queen also drives a Jaguar

Off with Ford. Another Jaguar

When Tata took over the company in 2008 takes over,it is clear to everyone that not only Jaguar has to be on the cars, but only Jaguar should be in them. With the XE, the developers adhered to this very fundamentally. Everything is new: drive, chassis, the complete basic architecture. It is of course modular and characterized by intelligent lightweight construction (it would be refreshing if someone would admit that a new platform would have been rather inflexible and that the lightweight construction would have happened so by accident). The body of the Jaguar XE 20d consists of 75 percent aluminum and weighs 342 kilos. That doesn't change the fact that the test car weighed 1,638 kg and was exactly 89 kg higher than the last BMW 320d automatic that was with us.

The not-so-light Jaguar XE 20d is not even that so spacious. Even compared to its already tight rivals, the XE looks more cramped. The 450 liter trunk cannot be used really well because the flap is small and the loading floor is uneven. This is just as unsurprising as the rather meager reserves of space in the somewhat dim rear. Even the narrow entrance suggests that it shouldn't be that cozy there. So two sit comfortably on the well-formed bench of the Jaguar XE 20d, but with little knee and headroom.

Pilot and Co. are also, we call it deep and precise, integrated into the cockpit the lines of the dashboard swing into the door trim. The few shelves are to be criticized here, the sometimes cumbersome operation via the touchscreen, the poor all-round view or the sometimes economical material quality. Then you see the bump on the bonnet, behind it the horizon. And think about whether you should grapple or drive around. Just. Come on.

Jaguar XE 20d with new two-liter diesel

The starter button glows in pulsating red. One push and in two and a half seconds the control dial for the automatic has risen from the center console and the four cylinders, whizzing into gray cast iron bushings, have sorted their idle. The two-liter diesel also completely redeveloped by Jaguar meets Euro 6, but even in rough idling does not quite meet the expectations of running manners that one places on a Jaguar. The automatic smoothes its small power dent under 1,500 tours with converter slip. It's the ZF 8 HP, the eight-stage box like in the BMW 3 Series. In the Jaguar XE 20d, too, she selects her gears accurately and gently in normal mode. Out in the country they are sometimes plagued by a hectic pace or indecision, because then it's better to flip through the aisles with the gearshift paddle.

In eco mode, the Jaguar XE 20d hums out of town at low speed. Time to find out that he has a comprehensive assistance arsenal, from a head-up display with laser projection and adaptive cruise control to blind spot monitoring. Traffic sign recognition accesses the stereo camera (well, here is more of aTraffic sign advice), the hysterical lane departure warning and the emergency braking system. So, we would have clarified that. It fits, there is the highway. The diesel heaves forward, talented and robust, it easily drowns out the wind that gently sweeps over the Jaguar XE 20d (cw 0.28). The XE with its adaptive damping (1,100 euros) is good at the long distance, bounces smoothly over long waves and gently handles short bumps. And engine power? Always enough there. 200 hp petrol engine? V6 compressor? Let's think about it ... no.

Be embraced, curves

Then we are there, on this wonderfully winding route, of which we will never reveal where exactly it is. We have been there hundreds of times, with VW Up to Bentley Continental. We know every pothole, every curve apex, we know where deer or hiker could break out of the thicket. Nothing can surprise us here. And then the Jaguar XE 20d can do it.

We have to explain that, first its chassis with the complex multi-link rear axle, the balanced weight, but above all the front axle. It comes from the F-Type. On a rainy November day, which is so typical of late British summer, Jaguar's landing gear chief Mike Cross stood with us on a race track and explained the front axle. It has double wishbones that guarantee a constant camber. Aluminum steering knuckles and hollow-drilled anti-roll bars reduce the unsprung masses. It's about stiffness, so that the driver can feel the front wheels through all the suspensions, joints and gears on the steering wheel. The more compatible Jaguar XE 20d is also supposed to establish this close connection between road and driver, and was the first Jaguar to have an electromechanical power steering instead of a hydraulic one.

Everyone talks about the steering

If a car comes along to us for the test, it is driven by one or two dozen colleagues. When we sit together and talk about it, one person speaks to the navigation system, the other to the engine, the third to the double loading floor and the fourth to the Isofix. Not with the Jaguar XE 20d. Everyone is talking about steering. It characterizes the XE. Because it doesn't just drive like the other Jaguar models, only in a smaller size. No, much better: it drives the way you always wanted a Jaguar to be. With safe, smooth, yet dashing handling. How determined he gives in, how neutral he stays because the front axle has so much grip. It fends off any tendency to understeer, and when you step on the gas at the apex, the Jaguar XE 20d pushes its rear end (and the torque vectoring simulated by braking intervention) closer into the bend, then vehemently out. It sounds banal, but it's one of the biggest compliments you can give a car on this route: the Jaguar XE 20d drives simply beautiful.

On the cost: Jaguar pays for three years of maintenance XEis well equipped, consumes 6.2 l /100 km - you can not only find it beautiful, but also make it beautiful. After many setbacks, Jaguar is back at the top of the class. That enables us to close with Oscar Wilde: “Everything will be fine in the end. If it doesn't turn out well, it's not the end. ”


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