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£35,545 when new

Car specifications

Budget
£35,545
Brake horsepower
163bhp
Fuel consumption
55.4mpg
0–62 mph
8.30s
CO2
135g/km
Max speed
132Mph
Insurance Group
24E

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We know about the glamourpuss XE, the petrol 3.0 S. But all the ones we see in the UK will be the diesel. How does it do?

First things first, it does the one thing a diesel must: compete head-on with a BMW 320d and Merc C220 on both CO2 and company-car tax. The 163bhp Jaguar XE with manual box snakes its way down to 99g/km CO2, despite fielding a 0-62 time of a respectable 8.4 sec. I’m in the 180bhp edition with the eight-speed auto. Its numbers are 109g/km and 7.8sec. They’re both Euro 6 clean. Very clever.

These things just keep getting better don’t they?

A decade ago, Jaguar’s X-Type diesel was competitive with its contemporaries as a 130bhp job that took over ten seconds to 62mph, and spewed out 149g/km plus a load of black smoke. Talk about progress…

Is it any fun, this new engine?

For a four-cylinder diesel, it’s an agreeable thing. There’s audible jabber as it starts from cold, but that soon subdues. Floor it and you get a ready surge over a wide range of revs.

Mind you, to begin with I’m not getting quite the sense of urgency that the power and torque (317lb ft) numbers suggest. But then I look at the speedo. The XE gets along with so little commotion I’m consistently travelling more quickly than inward signs suggest.

Does diesel propulsion have much effect on ride and handling?

The test car is a trim called R-Sport, which means sports suspension but passive dampers. The handling isn’t as much fun as the V6 version, because when there’s less power delivered less sharply, you can’t play with the balance so much. And without damper adaptation, the secondary ride is more sharp-edged, though still pretty slickly done. Nothing surprising there.

This’ll be the new Ingenium engine?

Yup, a new engine from the ground up, built in a new factory in Wolverhampton. One more stat: it has an aluminium block and weighs about 25kg less than the similar-power diesel engine used in the XF.

The Ingenium family will, in a year or so, spawn petrol versions too. In a few years most Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be powered by the family, whether petrol or diesel, with a huge range of outputs.

Anything else to report about the bottom end of the XE range?

It looks strong value. Every car has the decent new satnav system. The base 163 SE model sneaks under £30k and gets cloth on the seats, but that’s no hardship. Strangely, you have to climb a couple of trims to R-Sport to get LED running lights. Second-level Prestige (leather) with the 180 and manual box would be £31,275.

What do you think?

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