2017 Jaguar XE 20d Quick Spin
Jaguar's Different Take On The Base Model Has Plenty Of Appeal
EngineTurbodiesel 2.0L I4
Power180 HP / 317 LB-FT
0-60 Time7.4 Seconds
Top Speed142 MPH
Curb Weight3,417 LBS
MPG43 MPG (est)
Yes, the volume model of the Jaguar XE is a diesel, at least for now. A turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine, wearing the 25t badge, will arrive after the XE's early 2016 on-sale date. Oil-burners and volume are not a thing in the United States, except for heavy-duty pickup trucks. Despite that apparent contradiction, the XE 20d could find some converts.
- The biggest clue to the engine's fuel source is the tachometer, which only counts to 6,000. But you wouldn't know from the fast throttle response or the way revs climb when you mash the accelerator. All 180 peak horsepower come at 4,000 rpm, and the 317 pound-feet of torque are available from 1750 to 2500 rpm.
- Really, this engine is smooth. Credit the low 15.1:1 compression ratio, which also helps make the engine's aluminum construction possible. The surge of power from the turbo builds steadily instead of kicking in all at once.
- Jaguar's engineers focused on friction reduction with a fanatical devotion, all in the name of efficiency. One key feature is the offset crankshaft. That is, the crankshaft is located to the side of the cylinder centerline. This reduces the side load forces during the firing cycle.
- In the manual transmission the gears are cupped to reduce mass. A pump sprays oil directly on the cogs, which cuts back on the total amount of fluid and cuts back on friction loss due to windage.
- No, the manual transmission isn't coming to the US. And yes, it's really good. Not just in the cliché journalist love for the diesel-manual combo, but objectively good. That smooth responsive nature of the engine is amplified when you get to choose your own gears.
- So we make due with the eight-speed automatic, the 8HP45 version of the ubiquious ZF box. The coolest trick here is a pendulum-style damper in the torque converter instead of a typical spring damper. When the torque converter is locked up this cuts down on torsional vibration between the engine and transmission. And that enables low-rpm cruising and higher mpg.
- Ignore the ridiculous European-cycle fuel economy numbers, which go as high as 75 miles per gallon. They don't translate to our EPA test. But Jaguar representatives say to expect a highway figure above 43 mpg. We saw 37 mpg on the trip computer during our drive through Spanish wine country.
- Everything we liked about the XE 35t is present here, except for the exhaust note and endless power. Sure, those are big losses, but we still like the XE in this version. The steering is still excellent, the chassis is poised, and the cabin is comfortable and luxurious.
We, and the rest of the pundits of the world, have made much about the XE's claim to dethrone the BMW 3 Series as the best driving small luxury car. The XE is a legit contender, but not in terms of volume. The 3 Series, and every other compact luxury car, outsold all of Jaguar in April. Even if the XE is a huge success it won't win any sales crowns anytime soon. But that also means two things. First, Jaguar isn't pushing diesels beyond the limited customer demand. And second, the XE's customers will be an exclusive bunch. Based on our short drive, they'll be a happy bunch too.
Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.
- Biggest automotive sales disappointments
- Fastest-depreciating cars in the United States
- Find and compare 2017 Models