Engine2.0L Turbocharged I4
Power296 HP / 295 LB-FT
0-60 Time5.4 Seconds
Top Speed120 MPH
Curb Weight3,560 LBS
Seating2 + 3
As Tested Price$63,125
The 2020 Jaguar XE in P300 R-Dynamic S trim is the quickest and most aggressively styled version of the XE available after its 2020 update. We lost the characterful and punchy supercharged V6 (and diesel), and in its place we found two turbocharged four-cylinder gas-engine options. The P300 is the high-output version of this engine, producing 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to ZF’s excellent eight-speed automatic transmission and sends the power to all four wheels.
There's an updated interior for 2020, adding in a few extra tech features and upgraded material quality. The cabin is typical Jaguar fare. It looks great, but can be overly complex in ways other cars aren’t — take the confusing climate/seat controls as one example. But Jaguar also spent some time improving its exterior looks. Our red tester was striking and classy with the wider grille, sculpted front bumper (exclusive to the R-Dynamic S) and thin new headlights. All this pageantry comes at a price, though.
This particular XE starts at $47,290, which is already fairly expensive for this class with its level of performance. However, a number of options caused this car’s price to climb up to $63,125. Yowza. No single option or package was to blame, as this car has a number of expensive extras on it. The $1,950 Technology Pack added the digital rearview mirror, dual stacked touchscreens, head-up display and wireless phone charging. A $1,700 Drive Pack tacked on blind-spot warning, high-speed emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. The $1,365 Connected Navigation Pack added navigation, traffic sign recognition and internet connectivity. Then, a $1,315 Dynamic Handling Pack added in the adaptive suspension, configurable drive modes, red brake calipers and a spoiler. It also had 20-inch optional wheels ($1,700), 16-way heated and cooled front seats ($1,500), carbon fiber trim ($1,100) and a Meridian surround sound audio system ($800), among many other options.
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer: Jaguar simplified the XE greatly for the 2020 model year, and while I’m sad to see the supercharged V6 go away, this turbocharged four-cylinder is still a good little mill. There’s a slight pause as you wait for boost to build, but it’s quick enough to have some fun on the commute back and forth to work. Its forward thrust is comparable to others in the class with four-cylinder turbocharged engines — I’d place it about midpack on the butt dyno. I wasn’t impressed by the muted noise the engine made, but there was also no obvious sound fakery going on either. The ZF eight-speed is quick to react when in Dynamic mode, but it’s happy to get into a higher gear after taking it out of the sportier settings. Just like every other car with ZF’s eight-speed, daily driving is smooth, and shifts come quickly and imperceptibly.
The XE is a good handler, but I don’t think it’s one of the best anymore. An Alfa Romeo Giulia or BMW 3 Series are both more composed and enjoyable to toss about. The Jag is damn good; it’s just not at the level of these other luxury sport sedans, as it features a little more lean and not as much polish in transitions. A Giulia has more steering feel and turn-in is quicker. And while the XE loses a bit in handling prowess, it gains in on-road refinement. Our crumbling roads were soaked up nicely by the XE, making this car a good compromise for somebody that wants something fun and super comfortable.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I'm a big fan of the steering. It's satisfying, responsive and enjoyable. It's light when you want it to be but offers more feedback when needed. The steering wheel itself is quite nice. It's the right size and has three thick spokes with various controls mounted for easy use. While it's not the best pure athlete in the class, the XE offers a sporty feel that will satisfy most enthusiasts.
Then there's the looks. The XE is gorgeous. It's understated and handsome, with just the right amount of design flourish. It does look better in red. We had a long-term XE a few years back, and in silver the car blended in with other sedans. It vaguely looked like the Ford Fusion, which is very nice, but if you're Jaguar, you don't want to have that confusion. While I would opt for the Giulia in this class, the XE is right up there for me.
The @JaguarUSA XE is one of the best looking cars in its class. @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/fbSqv16Kqm— Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) February 14, 2020
Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder: Underwhelming. The powertrain isn't very engaging — the soundtrack is lacking as is any visceral or emotive aspect to acceleration. It's a bit anesthetized in both suspension and steering, though it still feels capable in both. It's more fun to drive at less than highway speeds. On the highway, it wants to drift quite a bit in its lane.
This is yet another Jaguar with tech issues. It takes a good long while for the infotainment to boot up at start. Even the digital HVAC panel is sluggish to wake — it feels like an eternity when it's 2 degrees and you just want to turn the defroster and seat heater on. The push-pull dials to switch between seat heater, HVAC temperature and fan adjustment is unnecessarily unintuitive. As for the infotainment, like with other Jaguars, I've found it to randomly stop streaming audio from my phone — though it still shows itself as connected via Bluetooth — and seems to only fix itself with an ignition cycle.
Heated windshields are great in theory, but I still get eye strain trying to focus at a distance through the tiny squiggles in the windshield (our long-term F-Pace was the same way). Paired with a HUD, focal depth is a constant struggle. Despite that, I do like the digital rearview mirror. I found it to offer a clear image, even with the rear window frosted. I also like that you can adjust the image. When I felt it was aimed too high, a couple button presses put it right where I wanted it.
News Editor Joel Stocksdale: As I've mentioned on the podcast, I'm a big fan of the Jaguar XE. Unfortunately, a big part of that was the the XE's available supercharged V6. That engine was brilliant, offering amazing throttle response and strong power all the way to redline. This high-output four-cylinder is not an adequate replacement.
Besides making about 80 fewer horsepower, the turbo-four is laggy in throttle response. Turbo boost comes on smoothly, but slowly. It also doesn't feel like it has as strong of a top end. As for sound, the four-cylinder does have a growly intake, but like John said, it's not charismatic.
There's also one other surprising knock against the high-output four-cylinder: it's not much more efficient than the old V6. Comparing rear-drive to rear-drive, the 30t four-cylinder gets 24 city and 32 highway, while the V6 gets 21 city and 30 highway. That's not nothing, but that small sacrifice would be worth it for the V6, which was sadly discontinued this year.
Other than the engine, I still really like the XE. It feels solid, quiet and comfortable, but it also handles well with excellent steering (something I disagree with John about), and of course it looks great. I'd still happily consider one, but maybe not as much as I did when the V6 was available.