A new performance push has begun at Jaguar as an updated XE sedan roars into Australia.
Anything bland or boring from the original XE series has been culled in a clean-up that cuts the local roster down from a dizzying 11 cars to just two, while diesel engines have been completely eliminated.
What remains is a pair of Jaguar XE R-Dynamic models, each with a punchy turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and an improved list of standard equipment from a bolder cabin with the 12.3-inch infotainment screen already seen in the all-electric I-Pace to LED headlamps, electric leather seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Minor visual tweaks make the cars look a little tougher, while a major upgrade of the cabin provides more luxury and the wow factor that’s so important in showrooms.
“It’s a mid-cycle facelift," Jaguar Australia spokesman James Scrimshaw tells Australian Business Traveller. "It’s a full interior change, exterior work, and we've refined the line-up."
The two new XE pacers are dubbed the R-Dynamic SE, which starts at $65,670; and the R-Dynamic HSE, which boasts 19-inch alloys, radar cruise control, high-speed emergency braking, 18-way adjustable electric front seats and a classy Meridian sound system from $71,940.
Jaguar believes overall value is improved by around $8,000 against the outgoing XE. “We think these two cars hit the sweet spot," Scrimshaw says. "They are the cars that people want."
Ian Callum, design director at Jaguar, calls out the XE changes as painting the crosshairs on extra impact. “We don’t do 'ordinary', and (the) new XE personifies this,” he says.
The XE make-over comes at a pivotal moment for Jaguar, as the British brand becomes more heavily focussed on its SUVs than the sedans and sports cars which have been its traditional fare.
It’s also putting more effort into electrification, with a battery-powered XJ limousine tipped to join the I-Pace SUV as its new-age flagship later this year.
The E-Pace SUV is now the best seller globally and in Australia, with the XE and larger XF taking the back seat despite competing in the engine room of the prestige car business against rivals including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series., Mercedes-Benz C Class, Lexus IS and the upcoming Genesis G70.
Timing for the arrival of the XE is good, as it comes just ahead of the local launch of the all-new 3 Series – which BMW promises will take it back to its roots as ’The Ultimate Driving Machine’ – and the delayed debut of the Genesis G70 which promises to park more luxury in more garages around Australia.