Jaguar XE 5.0 Supercharged V8 SV Project 8 Touring 4dr Auto
Where the XE has never put a foot wrong is dynamically, and so it remains. The way Jag’s engineering folk find a way of balancing ride and handling – in other words, comfort and fun – is simply unmatched.
I’m not sure a C-Class can ride this well, nor a 3 Series exhibit such fine balance, yet the XE manages to beat them both with a side order of wonderfully old-fashioned steering feel for good measure. Whether you’ve gone RWD or AWD, this is an exemplary car to drive. You can choose the biggest, prettiest alloys with no concern for how it’ll affect the ride, which is high (and rare) praise indeed.
There’s no longer a manual gearbox but we really don’t mind; this auto’s a belter, and with longer, aluminium paddles exhibiting properly sharp responses, you really are inclined to use manual mode quite a lot of the time, especially when its eight ratios are so shortly stacked.
What’s less satisfying is the bunch of engines it comes attached to. It’s a capable but uninspiring range of four-cylinders, and when the 296bhp petrol in the range-topping P300 sounds uncannily like a diesel at low revs, you might as well have the cheaper to buy and run engine it accidentally imitates.
Happily even the most powerful engines fall completely silent when you’re not driving hard, though, and the XE proves as refined as an XJ at a cruise. The gearbox is smooth and intelligent when left to make its own decisions, too, sharpening up sweetly when you prod it into Sport (or take full control yourself).
In short, it’ll make the dull motorway grind painless, but has a chassis so satisfying you might genuinely avoid the 70mph slog and use a longer, more interesting route instead.
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