It's hard to discuss the Jaguar XE sedan without at least mentioning the BMW 3 Series. So here we are doing it. The XE was built to compete with the 3 and the likes of the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's the smallest Jag sedan in a long time, and it's poised to be one of the brand's best-selling vehicles.

We're putting one in our fleet for half a year to see how it is to live with.

What we got

For the detail-oriented, this is a 2017 Jaguar XE 20d AWD Prestige painted Ammonite Grey with a Jet and Latte interior. Translation: a midlevel trim with a diesel engine, all-wheel drive, dark gray paint, and a cabin with light tan leather seats and a black dashboard. It's a handsome combo.

Base price for the model is $46,395. This one has plenty of options, which raise the price to $55,485. For $2,400, the Vision Package includes things to help you see and some more that help the car see for you: xenon headlights with washers, auto high beams, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitor, and cross-traffic detection. The $2,100 Comfort and Convenience Package adds heated and cooled front seats, heat for the rears, a power trunk lid, and an electric rear sunshade. A 10.2-inch wide-format touchscreen, navigation, WiFi, and an 825-watt sound system are included in the $2,700 Technology Package. And then there's the little stuff: metallic paint for $550, a head-up display for $990, and $350 to get the SiriusXM working. Other details include an eight-speed automatic transmission, engine stop-start, and some nice 18-inch wheels.

What we skipped

This XE most notably lacks a place to put gasoline – we didn't get the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder or any of the tunes of supercharged V6 in the pricier models. We also skipped the upper trim levels, which for 2017 included R-Sport and Portfolio (an S model is new for 2018). The only other big item you can put on a Prestige is the $360 Black Design Package; it swaps out the shiny grille, vent trim, and window surrounds for – you guessed it – black parts.

Why we got it

It's a completely new model in a popular segment. Sport sedans are fun. And Jaguars are pretty. There are likely to be some mini comparisons between the Jag and our succession of long-term A4s.

What's next

On the other end of the new-Jaguar spectrum is the F-Pace, a crossover that has a lot in common with the XE. So we're going to spend some time with one once the XE leaves. We ordered one pretty different from the XE to get a feel for the spectrum these cars offer: It's the top trim (an F-Pace S), with a 380-hp supercharged gas V6, it's red, and it will have the Black Package. Yes, it will have standard all-wheel drive, so no variation there. Regardless, we'll put winter tires on it and see how it handles a Michigan winter. But first, summer in the XE.

Questions?

We want to know what you want to know about our XE long-termer. Ask us in the comments.

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