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Jaguar's XE sedan purrs into SA

Published Aug 25, 2015

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By: Jason Woosey

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Cape Town - Jaguar is hoping that its latest ‘baby’ will prove to be something of a cat among the compact executive pigeons, but buyers lured by its sleek lines and cutting-edge tech will have to pay a premium.

Launched in South Africa this week, the new Jaguar XE rivals the likes of BMW’s 3 Series and Merc’s C-Class but it does command a quite a premium, with the least expensive version, the 2.0 Diesel Pure, starting at R534 800. Consider that you can have a 320d for R472 000 or a C220d for R482 000. Perhaps we could cut the Jag some slack here, given the strong pound, and in all fairness the base price is lower than it is in the UK, which works out to R340 000 before on-the-road costs, but either way this British protagonist is going to have to work hard to woo buyers from its less expensive locally-built rivals.

So besides the exclusivity factor what could set it apart? Jaguar reckons its new XE is “the driver’s car” in its segment and the maker went as far as using a first-in-class aluminium-intensive monocoque structure to make it the lightest and stiffest Jaguar ever made. Let’s not forget the advanced suspension design - double wishbone upfront and Integral Link at the back – to give the rear-wheel drive sedan truly agile road holding and a cushy ride.

NEW TURBODIESEL

As far as engines go, the base model is fitted with Jaguar’s brand new Ingenium 2-litre turbodiesel, credited with 132kW and 430Nm and with (claimed) consumption as low as 4.2 litres per 100km. The mainstream petrol option is the already-familiar direct injection 2-litre turbopetrol, good for 177kW and 340Nm while the heavy-hitter in the range is a donation made by the F-Type, in the form of Jaguar’s 250kW/450Nm 3-litre supercharged V6. This one, says Jaguar, will leap to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, versus 6.8s for the 2.0 petrol and 7.8s for the diesel. While the diesel base model is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, the rest of the range comes with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, with flappy paddles in the case of the S.

There’s a fairly broad range of model options in the four-cylinder versions, starting with the Pure, which is only available in diesel form. This one might seem a little bare by luxury vehicle standards as it comes with cloth seats and even lacks cruise control, but it does at least have an eight-inch touch-screen audio system and dual zone climate control while the pricier Prestige, Portfolio and R-Sport grades allow you to climb to loftier heights on the spec ladder.

Watch out for our full report with driving impressions in The Star, Mercury or Cape Times next Thursday.

JAGUAR XE PRICES

2.0 Diesel Pure - R 534 800

2.0 Diesel Prestige - R590 400

2.0 Diesel R-Sport - R614 000

2.0 Diesel Portfolio - R654 600

2.0 Petrol Prestige - R638 900

2.0 Petrol R-Sport - R662 600

2.0 Petrol Portfolio - R703 200

3.0 SC Petrol S - R908 100

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