The interior of the XE has been thoroughly redesigned.
The Jaguar XE, a beautifully designed mid-size sedan by famed British designer Ian Callum, has garnered praise from automotive critics worldwide for its engaging driving dynamics, especially in the athletic S trim. Unfortunately, the XE has not been a particularly hot seller in a competitive segment, and for 2020, Jaguar Canada decided to drop the six-cylinder engine and give it a thorough mid-cycle refresh in hopes of streamlining the lineup and injecting some much-needed adrenaline to sales charts.
The refreshed 2020 Jaguar XE P300 R-Dynamic arrived in our garage, painted in a metallic Santorini Black colour. The new fascia features slimmer headlights and grille design that accentuates the sporty design. Changes to the side and rear profiles are more subtle, with the addition of LED taillights and a more sculpted rear bumper. Our tester sports the optional black 19-inch wheels, as well as a Black Exterior Package. Personally, I would retain the chrome accents on the side vents, grille and window surrounds for contrast, and a change to Firenze Red or Caesium Blue paintjob would allow the XE to really stand out.
As mentioned, the Jaguar XE is no longer offered with six-cylinder engines, and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is now tasked to power all models, with two different power levels. The standard P250 offers 247 horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque, and our tester’s P300 R-Dynamic trim has output increased to 296 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 295 lb-ft. of torque at 1,500 to 4,500 RPM.
The P250’s power figure is comparable to many of its rivals with base engines, such as the BMW 330i xDrive (reviewed here) and the Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC (reviewed here), but the P300’s modest power increase puts the XE in an awkward territory as it easily gives up 80-horsepower or so to its German counterparts’ six-cylinder powertrains. During city driving, the XE P300 R-Dynamic demonstrated plenty of oomph to get up to speed, but the power increase over its P250 sibling did not feel distinct and the 5.7-second 0 to 100 km/h sprint is a letdown when compared to its main rivals.
Good news though, is that the 2020 XE maintains its well-balanced driving dynamics. The all-wheel drive system does a good job maintaining traction in all situations, and the XE feels composed under all driving conditions. There is good feedback from the electric steering rack, and the standard eight-speed ZF transmission is quick and responsive. We would have liked to hear a bit more snap and crackle from the exhaust; after all, Jaguar is well known for making some glorious sounding systems like the F-Type.
Combined fuel economy is rated at 9.4L/100km, and over our week of mixed winter travel, we observed an average of 10.5L/100km. The figure is in line with our expectation given the cold weather, and we expect it to fall in line with the posted number in a regular setting. The XE P300 requires 91-octane premium fuel for its 63-litre fuel tank.
The interior of the Jaguar XE is thoroughly redesigned, with the most notable difference being a welcomed move away from the signature retractable rotary shift dial to a conventional lever. The console has also been reworked to accommodate an adaptation of Jaguar Land Rover’s InControl Touch Pro Duo system. The touchscreen infotainment is largely the same from previous year, and Jaguar has done away with the small buttons on the climate control in favour of a display screen. While the new system is more user-friendly and accommodative for more information, we observed on several instances where the system would freeze, requiring a restart in order to continue on with our journey.
The 10-inch Jaguar InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system is fairly intuitive; the touch response requires a firmer press than usual but the system is pretty quick to respond. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is supported, and our tester comes with an optional Meridian Sound System. The volume knob has been moved from below the climate controls, to an awkward location that is obstructed from the driver. Other changes include a wireless charging pad, and a Smart Rear View Mirror that displays live images from its roof-mounted camera, but we prefer the standard rear-view mirror that’s available by a flick of the switch.
Head and legroom is considered average in its class for the front occupants, and is below average for rear passengers due to the sloping roofline. The heated and 12-way power-adjustable front seats are supportive and comfortable, and finding a good seating position is not particularly difficult. There is good visibility all around, however the optional heated front windshield’s squiggly heater lines are a bit obstructive. Fortunately, they are practical for snowy climates to help defrost the windscreen quickly and efficiently. Trunk volume is measured at 410 litres.
Drivers assistance systems are in place for this model, with standard Autonomous Emergency Braking, Park Assist, 360 Parking Aid, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Condition Monitor, as well as Rear Traffic Monitor systems. Our tester was also equipped with the optional Blind Spot Assist system and the Head-Up Display that helps drivers keep focus ahead.
Pricing of the 2020 Jaguar XE starts at $49,900 for the standard P250 model, with our tested P300 model starting at $55,800. Our tester was equipped with options including a Cold Climate Pack ($640), Meridian Sound System ($350), 19-inch wheels ($900), Black Exterior Pack ($400), Technology Pack ($1,540), Blind Spot Assist ($500), and a 12-way memory front seats ($700), bringing the as-tested total to $61,630. The XE slots itself below the BMW M340i xDrive (reviewed here), and the Mercedes-AMG C 43. While it is underpowered compared to the aforementioned sports sedans, those who do not need additional power would certainly find value in the XE P300 R-Dynamic.
The 2020 Jaguar XE P300 R-Dynamic maintains its charming looks, as well as entertaining driving dynamics. While we do miss the departed XE S and its supercharged powerplant, the P300 serves to fill a niche for those not necessarily hungry for speed. The latest refresh keeps the XE modern enough to hold it over until the next generation, and allows it to be an interesting alternative to popular choices from Germany.