Jaguar XE R-Sport 20t combines delectable driving dynamics, turbo punch and genuine luxury
When we tested the Jaguar XE Prestige 20d a little while ago we were impressed. The XE was Jaguar’s first true attempt at tackling the small compact luxury sedan segment – ignoring the X-Type – and competing against established and proven rivals such as the venerable BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.
And the folk at Jaguar succeeded. The XE Prestige had a true fiscal presence, and exuded luxury, whilst forging its own path and simultaneously offering a true rival to the Germans. That diesel engine offered ample performance and efficiency, too.
This time around we’re testing the Jaguar XE R-Sport 20t. The R-Sport trim level bestows the XE with a racier look and feel, and R-Sport models are exclusively equipped with an R-Sport branded multi-function softgrain leather steering wheel, black radiator grille with Satin Chrome surround, etched aluminium trim finishers along with R-Sport badging and a mild bodykit.
The Jaguar XE R-Sport is available with three engine choices: the base XE R-Sport 20t from $64,400, the XE R-Sport 20d from $66,800 and the XE R-Sport 25t from $68,616.
Our test car boasted a raunchy athletic persona, from the red and black interior trim that included the perforated Taurus leather sports seats ($2220) that complimented the Italian Red paintwork ($1340), that bodykit and those alloy wheels, the overall effect was a restrained but tantalizing sort of aggression throughout.
Inside, the XE R-Sport’s cabin was snug, fitting for a car with athletic aspirations. However, whilst the cockpit is on the intimate side, some passengers may find head room and rear legroom a little too tight. All seats are very comfortable, and the front two chairs were heated in our car, as was the steering wheel.
The rear bench is a nice place to be too, although it’s only really suitable for two passengers. And if said passengers are over six feet tall, their heads are going to become rather well acquainted with the headlining, especially if their XE is fitted with the optional enormous panoramic sunroof ($1850) like the one in our test car.
Passengers can also enjoy the excellent Meridian Hi-Fi system ($3,760) which is probably one of the best factory in car sound systems that we’ve ever sampled. The sound was rich, clear and powerful.
So the XE R-Sport 20t looks good, is nice to sit in and has a nice (optional sound system). So what’s it like on the road? That 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine develops 147kW @ 5500rpm and 280Nm @ 1750-4000rpm. That engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels, and Jaguar says the XE R-Sport 20t will complete the 0-100km/h dash in a respectable 7.7 seconds.
We found the engine to be smooth willing, and flexible. That broad powerband means that you’ll have plenty of overtaking punch in virtually any gear, and we were never wanting for more power. It seemed just right. Jaguar claims an average combined fuel consumption figure of 7.5 litres per 100 kilmometres, we managed around 8.5.
Ride and handling are just right. Ride comfort is taut, without ever being comfortable, and when we took the XE up to the Black Spur, around an hour’s east of Melbourne and one of the state’s most challenging driving roads – one we also highly recommend – packed with lots of flowing twists, turns and gradient changes. Feedback through the steering wheel was excellent, notifying the driver of where the wheels are pointing at any given time and overall chassis balance is satisfying.
That turbo engine also has the power and torque to help you up and through said bends. On the open road, progress is quiet and hushed, and that optional adaptive cruise control with queue assist ($3520) is responsive, and takes the monotony out of lengthy motorway driving.
Sale or no sale?
Yes, the Jaguar XE R-Sport 20t is one capable and very appealing package.
InControl Touch Pro Pack (InControl Touch pro (SSD) Navigation & Meridian Digital Sound System (825W)) – $3,760 Road Technology Pack (Head-Up Display, Infrared Reflective Windscreen, Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist) – $3520 Perforated Taurus Leather Sport Seats – $2220
Sliding Panoramic Roof – $1850
Italian Racing Red Metallic Paint – $1340
19” Star 5 Twin-Spoke Silver Wheels – $1240
Cold Climate Pack (Heated Front Windscreen w/ Heated Washer Jets, Heated Steering Wheel & Heated Front Seats) – $1080
Lane Keep Assist w/ Driver Condition Monitor – $940
Powered Boot Lid – $880
Black Pack (Gloss Black radiator grille w/ Gloss Black surround, Gloss Black Blades in R-Sport Front Bumper, Gloss Black side power vents w/ R-Sport Bade) – $730
DAB+ Radio- $560
Jet Headlining – $470
$82 990 plus on-road costs