2016 Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 i4 240PS Auto Buyer’s Guide

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio

Jaguar XE?

For 2015, Jaguar introduced a car to compete against the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi’s premium mid-sized saloon category. That’s an incredibly tough sector, and it would have to be something really very good to even have a chance at a slice of the market. I was sent the 2016 Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 i4 240PS Auto to see if it has…

Exterior. Butt-ugly or beauty?

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio exterior

The 2016 Jaguar XE is yet another triumph for Ian Callum (Jag’s director of design). I could leave it at that to be honest. I mean, just look at it! I’ll not be lazy though.

What we have here is a bona fide beauty, and if you’re probably thinking it’s looks rather similar to its bigger brother – the XF – you’d be right, but that’s no bad thing.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio

Some facts to start things off: The XE is in the premium mid-size saloon class, and is the smallest, lightest (using a first-in-class aluminium-intensive monocoque), stiffest saloon Jag has made to date. It’s also the most aerodynamic too, with a drag coefficient rating of 0.26.

This XE was awarded ‘Most Beautiful Car of 2014′ at the 30th Festival Automobile International’ in Paris, and for good reason. It is a spectacularly handsome car, and I genuinely couldn’t find a bad angle, no matter how much I tried.

Something that struck me immediately was just how dynamic and stylish the XE appears, and for a while I was stuck on just why it looks so good, but a quick read of Jag’s description sums up why: the XE was designed using the ‘fundamental principles of perfect proportions and aerodynamic efficiency.’

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio rear

I love the front end of the XE, with its narrow, eagle-eye-like lights staring out below the strong, thick lines of the bonnet. Rather than go the way of other manufacturers, the XE has a relatively small grille, but it is in proportion with the rest of the front end, and is therefore still striking whilst not overbearing.

The front bumper houses ducts which channel laminar airflow over the surface of the front wheels to reduce drag, while underneath lightweight under-floor panels run back to the rear silencer, creating an almost perfectly smooth surface, also significantly reducing drag.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio side

A side view of the XE shows a simplistic – yet effective – affair, but the more time you take in the exterior, the more you appreciate the little things that go a long way to making the XE so elegant. One example is around the C-pillar and back, where a prominent swage line juts out and thins towards to the boot. A wonderful bit of design work.

The optional (£800) 19-inch, fifteen-spoke Radiance wheels spec’d on the Portfolio version I was sent suit the XE’s profile perfectly, and serve to further the elegant-yet-sporty look of the car.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio badge

Optioned on my XE Portfolio was the £1,400 full-width opening Panoramic glass sunroof, which gives a beautifully airy feel to the cabin (more on that later), and – I believe – makes for a more expensive-looking car.

If you’re travelling behind the XE, you’re probably going to be envious of that rear end. The large leaping Jaguar badge looks as classy as ever, and sits below a small bootlid spoiler on this model. The rear lights sport a bright horizontal line intersecting a roundel within them – almost like a set of daytime running lights at the rear – which give them the appearance of eyes, mimicking those at the front.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio

 

The XE Portfolio gets an exhaust each side too, adding a powerful and purposeful aspect that makes you think it’s got a fair lump of get-up-and-go under the bonnet. Overall, there’s nothing I dislike about the XE’s exterior. It carries itself with confidence and vitality, while exuding a cool, contemporary style and personality – something rarely found in cars now – and stands out from the masses.

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

As this is the second-from-top Portfolio spec XE, this is one I’ll be talking about. Other models may not have the features described here. 

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio front interior

Open the door, slide behind the XE’s steering wheel, and you’re greeted with what you’d perhaps expect, after viewing such an agreeable exterior. If you’ve experienced the previous generation of Jaguars, then the interior will be comfortably familiar in some ways, and yet there are also some much-needed updates too, which will no doubt trickle down into the 2016 XF and XJ models.

The first thing I noticed was the new 8-inch touchscreen system, which was something that the previous-gen Jags needed replacing badly. You can option the larger 10.2 inch screen, which eliminates the buttons you’d normally get at the side. Personally, I’d have that as it gives the dash a cleaner look.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With the new system, it feels more like a tablet or smartphone to use rather than a normal touchscreen. For instance, you can pinch-to-zoom on the, and flick through menus.

The slick graphics are bang up to date, the menus highly user-friendly and both iOS and Android smartphones can be linked in via the Jaguar InControl Apps, which enables you to book hotel rooms, find parking, access online radio stations and more. There’s also the option of having a WiFi hotspot in the XE, which multiple devices can connect to.

A cool feature is the Jaguar InControl Remote, which means you can use your smartphone to unlock the doors, check the fuel level and – something I really like – set a 7-day timed climate control, so your XE is at the perfect temperature when you enter. Very neat indeed.

The satellite navigation – which is a standard feature on all XE models – has graphics that are also much-improved, with sharper graphics, easily-read road layouts, intuitive menus and good voice guidance.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio satellite navigation

The test car Jaguar sent had the optional £1,540 Advanced Parking Assistance Package with Surround Camera, which includes 360º camera views, and the one that always blows people’s minds – the above-car viewpoint. It also has the Park Assist feature, which will self-park (almost – you need to brake) in both bay and parallel spaces. It’s an incredibly good system, and I recommend it simply for the fact that you’ll never have an excuse to dint your bodywork again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A spectacular feature of the XJ I tested was the curved dash, which swept around at the base of the windscreen, and gave a kind of panoramic feel to the view – if that makes sense. The XE has the same curved trim, and it really is a lovely thing. The rest of the thickly-padded, soft-touch dash also curves and flows around the vents and driver binnacle, and there are no harsh, squared-off edges in sight.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio dash

The XE’s steering wheel is thick in diameter – but by the right amount – and finished in leather for a premium feel. For £185.00, you can option the steering wheel to be heated, which I thoroughly recommend, as it’s something that once you get used to, is hard to do without. And at that price, why not eh.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio steering wheel

Jaguar have kept the instrument dials as the traditional analogue type, but they’ve been nicely designed with a simple and readable design. Another extra was the heads-up display, which is fantastic as it shows what gear you’re in, your speed, sat nav directions and more. However, I do think £1,000 is rather steep for this feature, as good as it is.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Controls for the climate adjustments are situated on the dash below the touchscreen, and they are as you’d imagine; ergonomic and easily readable, and they also light up smartly in blue when the headlights come on. One thing I would point out is that instead of being silent when pressed, they make a rather loud click.

Perhaps this was something customers wanted – an audible check they pressed a control – and although in the video I stated I liked this, I’m actually still half-and-half about it. It seems insignificant, but when you’re pressing them a fair amount, it can almost be annoying. At the same time, it’s nice to have a positive ‘click’ to let you know you’ve done something. Still torn on those.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio centre console

I mentioned the XE would be familiar to those who had driven Jaguar’s other last-gen versions, and that’s because there’s still the drive select dial, which rises from the centre console when the engine starts. Behind that are the drive mode buttons (which I’ll talk about in the driving section), and then there’s the electronic parking switch and drinks holders, all of which is a similar layout to other Jag models. Nothing wrong there though.

Up front, the XE’s seats are as comfortable as one might expect. Initially I believed them to be a little snug (I’m fairly broad at the shoulders), but after a few days it isn’t noticeable, and overall they are supportive and pleasant.

On the Portfolio spec version I had, these come as standard with 10-way adjustment, but a £235.00 tick of the option box provides you with a 14-way adjustable driver seat. For another £800 you can have heated and cooled front seats, with heated rear seating.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio rear seats

The rear seats are also decently comfy, and angled enough so you can rest a little on longer journeys. There’s adequate leg room too – a surprising amount, in fact – and I like that fact that you can push your feet up to your ankles underneath the fronts, which gives better space.

An issue I found though, is that when you drop the arm rest does push into the side of your leg. This is because it’s wide and also sits lower down to the cushion, rather then sitting up high. Another small negative is that I found the rear side seat belts did sit a little awkward against my neck, as the come from somewhere past the c-pillar rather than being up high. Not a big matter, but worth pointing out.

From a safety aspect, the XE achieved a reassuring  5/5 star award from Euro NCAP, and as standard includes front, front side and full-length curtain airbags, lane departure warning, emergency brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control & Traction Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent Speed Limiter.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio power opening boot

As a saloon, the XE’s boot has 455 litres to stow your gear, which loses out to most of the competition. My test car came with 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats, but this is a £400 option. In comparison, the Lexus IS 300h has 450 litres, the BMW 3 Series saloon has 480, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon up to 480 too (depending on spec), the Infiniti Q50 450 – 500 and the Audi A4 saloon 480 litres.

All said, the XE absolutely delivers on build and material quality, style, comfort and with an ergonomic layout of the controls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Engine & transmission

Jaguar offer the XE with engines which are part of their new Ingenium family, which were designed from scratch, as Jaguar wanted a clean sheet start for the XE. They’re also the new generation of engines that will power Jag’s new models. These will be more fuel efficient, more environmentally-friendly, have enhanced performance and more. If you want more information on the Ingenium engines, visit this page.

Only the diesel unit in the XE will sport that tech for now though. The entire engine range is a 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel with either 163 or 180PS (160 & 177bhp), a 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol with either 200 or 240PS (197 & 237 bhp) and a supercharged petrol 3.0 litre V6 with 340PS (335bhp) – the same one as the F-Type.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio engine

Depending on the engine and spec of the XE, it can be had with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The XE drives through the rear wheels with any of the engine and transmission choices, but you can also have it with all-wheel-drive (AWD) – only with the 180PS diesel automatic though.

The clever all-wheel-drive system – which is Jaguar’s own design – makes for an interesting read, if you’re into a bit of car geekery (as I am). Click here and scroll about a third of the way down  the page to see how it works.

I was sent the 2.0 litre i4 turbocharged petrol in 240PS guise, with the eight-speed gearbox. It produces 237 bhp at 5,500 rpm, and 250 ft lb (340Nm) of maximum torque at 1,750 to 4,000 rpm. The 0 – 60 mph run is achieved in a highly respectable 6.5 seconds, and it’ll max out at 155 miles-per-hour.

Fuel economy for this models is quoted as (UK mpg): urban: 27.7, extra urban: 47.1, combined: 37.7, with 179 g/km CO2 emissions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Personally, I achieved averages of 39 mpg on a mixed run of sixty miles-per-hour country roads and motorway routes, and 22.5 mpg in the city. The XE has an eco display on the main screen to tell you how you’re driving, which marks you for smoothness and efficiency on acceleration, speed and engine use and braking.

It’s actually very useful, as it gives you a much better idea of what you can realistically achieve on the mpg on different routes and in different amounts of traffic. For example, with the figures above that I got, I had a mark of 81% for the 39 mpg, and 79% for the 22.5 mpg average returns. It also provides a points system to mark your driving individually in the different areas mentioned above. I don’t normally like those type of eco feedback systems, but the XE’s in actually quite useful, and simply laid-out too.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio driving

From the off, I really really enjoyed the way the XE 2.0 i4 240PS drives and handles. Although it’s Jaguar’s smallest saloon, it still has that same cocooning, safe and luxurious feel that you get with the XF and XJ.

The four-cylinder petrol engine fires into life eagerly, and with a slight rasp from the exhaust too. Jaguar have put thought into this – it’s likely going to be bought by those who want something with a bit of go, and noise to go alongside that. While the exhaust note isn’t obvious at lower speeds or cruising, as the revs climb a nice growl greets your eyes. At a standstill, a blip of the throttle rewards you with a few pops from the backboxes as the rpm needle drops down again. Nice.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio driver binnacle

A twist of the selector dial around into drive sees the XE pulls away smoothly and quietly, the electronic parking brake releasing with zero judder or hesitation – something that happens on other e-parking brakes. The ZF 8-speed transmission slips through the gears seamlessly in fully automatic mode, only adding further to the experience that you’re driving something luxurious.

You certainly do not get the feeling that because the XE is less expensive than the XF or XJ it loses out, or feels cheaper – like a poor-man’s version – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s like Jaguar wanted you to have a similar experience to their bigger models, but in a more affordable way.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio drive selector

My XE test car had the optional £800 Adaptive Dynamics added on, which constantly monitors and analyses acceleration, corning, throttle and brake pedal activity, adjusting the dampers accordingly. It works well, and provides a comfortable ride over low-speed bumps imperfections in the road surface, while providing sharper handling when you want or need it. Actually, I found the ride to be ever-so-slightly firmer than expected at lower speeds, but some of that is likely to be from the 19″ wheels and low-profile tyres. My advice is to stick with the 18″ Arm alloys that come with the Portfolio 240PS as standard. They look better anyway, and it’d save £800 in the process.

If you’re heading onto the motorway for a longer journey, know that the XE provides a quiet, refined and relaxed drive, and I found it gives a strong impression of being much like its larger and even more luxurious siblings in that area, and I certainly didn’t expect it to feel quite as much of an executive car as it does.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio 19-inch Radiance 15 Spoke wheels

JaguarDrive Control comes standard on the XE, and it’s a brilliant system. It has four driving modes to choose from; Normal, Eco, Dynamic, Rain/Ice/Snow. It’s not gimmicky either, for the modes genuinely change the driving experience, and I found myself using them on a day to day basis.

Eco suited my city driving and allowing smooth, easy acceleration when heavy throttle use wasn’t needed. I used Normal when the road opened up a little and traffic was flowing more freely, and during the time I had the car there were a couple of severe rain storms where the road was made up of standing water, in which case Rain/Ice/Snow gave me much better grip away from T-junctions and roundabouts.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio JaguarDrive Control

The XE’s drive becomes so much more lively once you click into Dynamic mode too, and I absolutely loved giving it a good hammering through the gears once it’s engaged. The moment it’s in, the dials turn red for a more sporty look, the throttle suddenly becomes super-responsive and the steering more weighted.

Shift the dial selector to Sport, and in full automatic mode the gears will be held for longer before changing, but why do that when you can use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel? Using them opens up a whole new world of play time, thanks to a gearbox and computer that doesn’t limit the rpms up or down the gears.

The acceleration isn’t brutal or scary in any way – more fast-flowing – but there’s easily enough punch to get you grinning as you blat the XE down the straights. Through tight corners the XE remains really very composed, and that 240PS gives an adequate rush – especially between 4,000 to 6,000 rpm – without getting you into trouble.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio

Something to keep you in line when you’re pushing it is the Torque Vectoring by Braking system (TVBB), which controls each inside brake at the front and rear, enabling the car to be stable on sharp corners. Although it’s probably working its socks off, you’d be hard pushed to feel it physically working, which is good as the XE still feels very natural to drive.

I’ve got absolute admiration for the way the Jaguar XE handles, and the more I drove it the more I realised that the car seems like it’s pivoting around you as you turn in, making you feel in total control of what’s happening. Rather than making the XE electronically numb and computerised, the XE allows a manual – almost old-school – vibe to come through, and puts that all-important slice of joy back into simply driving for driving’s sake.

2016 Jaguar XE 2.0 i4 240PS Portfolio driving

It’d be interesting to see if Jaguar will offer the XE as a drop-top at some point, because it would thoroughly suit this car, especially if you had that 3.0 litre V6 Supercharged motor up front. In summary, I’d say the XE 2.0 litre 240PS is an absolute pleasure to drive, and I love it.

Price

(Figures correct Feb. 2016) The 2016 Jaguar XE starts at £26,990 and tops out at £44,995. The Portfolio 2.0 i4 240PS auto I had was £33,740, but a whole load of options pushed it up £43,908.

Did it feel like it was worth that kind of cash though? Yes, but personally I’d knock a couple of options off that list to make that sum more appealing – I’d do without the panoramic sliding roof to save £1,400, and the head-up display seems steep at £1,000 and I wouldn’t really miss it, and for comfort (and to save £800) I’d stick with the 18-inch Arm alloys, which look better anyway.

Similar-sized and priced rivals in the premium mid-sized saloon category include the BMW 3 Series saloon, Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon, Infiniti Q50, Audi A4 saloon, Lexus IS and the Volvo S60.

2016 Jaguar XE i4 240PS Portfolio front

 

2016 Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 i4 240PS Auto verdict & score

It’s pretty easy for me to sum up the XE 240PS. It’s a brilliant car which puts joy back into driving, while keeping refinement, luxury and character at its core. The only things I’d like to see improved are the rear armrest which digs into your leg, and the rear side seat belts which sit awkwardly against your neck.

Aside from that, I highly recommend taking one for a test drive if you’re in the market for a premium mid-sized saloon – you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Do you own a Jaguar XE, or have questions about it? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below! Read more of our Jaguar reviews here.

Exterior  9.5
Interior  9
Engine  9
Transmission  9
Price  8
Handling  8.5
Drive & Ride  8.5
Overall Score  9.0 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested)  2016 Jaguar XE Portfolio 2.0 i4 240PS Auto
Spec includes  18″ alloy wheels, Bi-function HID Xenon Headlamps with LED Signature daytime running lights, Electric Parking Brake (EPB), Soft Grain Windsor leather seats with Herringbone perforations, 10-way electric adjustment on front seats, Cruise Control with Automatic Speed Limiter (ASL), 8” Capacitive Touchscreen with DAB, InControl Remote Premium, Bluetooth and satellite navigation. See website for more detail
Safety  5/5 star award from Euro NCAP, front, front side and full-length curtain airbags, lane departure warning, emergency brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control & Traction Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent Speed Limiter
Options you should spec

 14 way Electric Driver Seat (£235), Heated Steering Wheel (£185), Adaptive Dynamics (£800), Advanced Parking Assistance Package with Camera (£1,540)

The Competition  BMW 3 Series saloon, Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon, Infiniti Q50, Audi A4 saloon, Lexus IS and the Volvo S60
Price  (Feb. 2016) £26,990 – £44,995. As tested: £43,908
Engine  Petrol, 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Power, Torque  Power: 237 bhp @ 5,500 rpm | Torque: 250 ft lb (340Nm) @ 1,750 to 4,000 rpm
Drive, Transmission (as tested)  Rear wheel drive | 8-speed ZF automatic
Boot capacity  455 litres
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph  Max speed: 155 mph | 0 – 60 mph: 6.5 seconds 
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 27.7, Extra urban: 47.1, Combined: 37.7 | CO2: 179 g/km
Weight (kerb)  1,520 kilograms (3,351 lbs)
Websites  Jaguar UK, Jaguar USA, Jaguar worldwide

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

Leave a Reply