The XE was Jaguar’s attempt to take on the category dominated by the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class.
It was launched at a time when sales of saloons were dipping as buyers opted for SUVs instead.
That said, the XE was a great looking car with a dynamic drive that wasn’t far off the class leading 3 Series.
A brand new XE is due out shortly but Jaguar sent me one of the last of the outgoing models – an all-bells-and-whistles Land Mark special edition.
Based on the R-Sport model, it comes with a sporty front bumper, rear lip spoiler and side skirts to lend a more aggressive look to the exterior.
It’s further set aside from other XEs by unique multi-spoke 18in alloy wheels as well. The interior has fancy sports seats finished in perforated leather.
My model came with the 240hp version of Jaguar’s 2.0 litre diesel, coupled with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. While standard XEs are rear-wheel drive, my car came with all-wheel drive – very handy for the tail end of a Scottish winter.
Price wise, all these features push it into the uppermost branches of the XE tree, costing a little over £43,000.
With 240hp pushing a lightweight body, the XE is quick. It gets from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and top speed is 155mph.
On a drive from Dundee through Fife, it cruised nicely in eighth gear on the A92 and offered up sporty handling on some quiet backroads around Kinghorn. The intelligent all-wheel drive system sends power where it’s needed most, ensuring there’s always plenty of grip.
Jaguar have set up the suspension to favour handling over ride comfort – it’s fine on smooth roads but bumps and potholes are not its favourite. If a magic carpet ride is more important than razor sharp handling, look to Audi or Mercedes.
The interior feels as special as a Jaguar’s should. Taller rear passengers will feel head and legroom a touch pinched but the 455 litre boot will swallow a couple of sets of golf clubs.
I like the XE a lot. It’s a superb looking car that stands out from the German triumvirate that dominates the compact executive market.
Many buyers might want to hold on for the new version of the XE. The outgoing model is still a very capable car, however, and with dealers looking to clear their forecourts for the upcoming model there may be some bargains to be had.