I drove a $47,000 Jaguar XE to find out if this British sports sedan could take on BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Alfa Romeo
- The Jaguar XE is Jag's entry-level sedan, taking on segment leaders such as the BMW 3-Series, the Audi A4, and the Mercedes C-Class.
- My tester was the Jaguar XE P300 R-Dynamic S, with all-wheel-drive. It stickered at about $47,000.
- The refreshed sedan has lost its supercharged V6 but gained a pair of punchy, turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
- Combining style and joyful driving, the Jaguar XE is held back by a weak infotainment system, but it's still worth a look.
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Do sports sedans matter anymore?
It's an important question for luxury automakers because sporty "saloons" have for decades defined an important part of the vehicle segment. BMW built it's "ultimate driving machine" reputation on the success of its four-doors. For years, the competition has followed, minting fun-to-drive cars that pushed the market away from soft freeway cruisers.
But now the sedan is in trouble, as BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and others embrace the crossover SUV. While the four-door might be the superior driving platform, customers want fancy trucks.
In this context, Jaguar finds itself in an awkward position. The brand has always excelled at sedans, and in recent years it's produced a singularly gorgeous SUV in the F-PACE (not to mention a snappy electric crossover in the I-PACE).
The Jaguar XE launched in 2015, throwing down a gauntlet for the BMW 3-Series. The vehicle sold reasonably well, but after a few years, deliveries have declined by about 5,000 units annually in the US, so Jag refreshed the car for the 2020 model year, sadly dropping the supercharged six-cylinder for turbocharged fours.
I borrowed the beefier trim level, with the P300 engine, and drove it around the New York/New Jersey area for a week. I've typically been a fan of Jag's saloons, so I wondered earnestly how the XE would stack up.
Here's how it went: