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Jaguar XE S 2017 review

There’s now more power and extra kit for the flagship Jaguar XE S supercharged saloon

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Gifting the Jaguar XE S with an extra 40bhp does just enough to whet our appetite before the raging SVR version arrives. It’s fast, characterful and great to drive, yet offers all the comfort and refinement we’ve come to expect from a Jaguar. However, despite the added kit, it is expensive, and rivals from Audi and Mercedes are not only cheaper, but also faster.

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Two decades ago, a small saloon with 380bhp would have represented the pinnacle of automotive firepower. Today, this Jaguar XE S is merely a stepping stone to a forthcoming SVR model with 500bhp.

While that car is still a little way off, JLR is maintaining interest in the current XE flagship with a power boost and extra kit. As a result, the supercharged V6 S model now develops an Audi S4-beating 375bhp from its uprated 3.0-litre V6.

The revised engine is from the F-Type S, and it helps to shave a tenth of a second off the XE’s 0-62mph time, as it now completes the benchmark sprint in five seconds flat. The less powerful Mercedes-AMG C 43 manages it in 4.7 seconds, although that car benefits from four-wheel drive, compared to the rear-drive Jag. The sporty set-up doesn’t come at the expense of grip; the XE turns in sharply and corners with remarkable poise. It drives beautifully, in fact; the standard XE was a great base to start from, and the flagship S takes things up a notch.

There’s so much control in the chassis and the steering is full of feel. Plant the throttle, and the saloon picks up pace at an impressive rate – despite losing out to its two main rivals for peak torque. Still, with 450Nm on tap, there’s no lethargy from the raucous supercharged V6.

Without the F-Type’s lairy sports exhaust it doesn’t feel quite as characterful, but for many buyers that’ll be just the ticket; the XE’s dual personality is part of its appeal.

The S has 19-inch wheels (our car’s 10-spoke design is a £420 option), plus a sports bodykit, S badging and subtle boot spoiler. Elsewhere, the XE is now available with Jag’s optional 10-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment and digital 12.3-inch dials. It lifts what was a slightly old fashioned-feeling interior, but the fit and finish is still excellent, and everything is easy to use.

The 2018 model year XE also features a suite of new safety kit, including Blind Spot Assist, Forward Vehicle Guidance and Forward Traffic Detection technologies. The car’s automatic emergency braking now works at up to 37mph, too.

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