Two New Cats in Town To Feature Diesel Powerplants for MPG
Jaguar is determined to reestablish itself as one of the premier luxury brands. The company, now owned by Tata Motors since 2008, has worked through quality issues and this year (2016) will introduce two new models that will take it into the volume heart of the luxury market. The compact 2017 Jaguar XE is pitted against the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class while the 2017 F-Pace will be Jaguar’s first foray into crossover territory. Both will feature a shared diesel powerplant in their entry level trim, which will set them apart from the competition.
Clean Fleet Report had a chance to drive the 2017 XE R-Sport model (though not the diesel model) at a recent Jaguar event and the car acquitted itself quite well on a short jaunt down the streets of San Francisco. The diesel wasn’t available so we had to make do with the 3.0-liter, 340-horsepower supercharged gas V6. And it does very well.
With this top-of-the-line engine, the new cat starts with a low growl and doesn’t let up. The eight-speed automatic can be manually shifted. It has four drive-selected modes—Standard, Eco,
Dynamic and Rain/Show/Ice. We tested the first three and could feel the difference in the throttle mapping. We didn’t get a chance to run it up to freeway speeds, but the acceleration and cornering were respectable. With this engine the car weighs in at 3,605 pounds, lighter than a six-cylinder BMW 3-Series due to the aluminum body the Jag employs. Taking it around a tight (think–on a pier where a mistake puts you into a pole or San Francisco Bay) slalom course showed that the 2017 Jaguar XE definitely has the chops to go against the other sportsters in this very competitive class.
Waiting for the Diesel
The engine we’re waiting for wasn’t available at this test drive (Jaguar says it will be available at the car’s May 2016 launch)—the new 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. That engine will deliver 180 horsepower and 318 lb-ft. of torque. Jaguar promises 0-60 mph times of 7.5 seconds. Fuel economy numbers have not been finalized by the EPA, but they can be expected to deliver highway numbers well into the 30s. Prices for the diesel 2017 Jaguar XE will start at $34,900.
The third engine in the XE lineup is a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged gas four-cylinder. The XE will come in four trim levels—XE, XE Premium, XE Prestige and XE R-Sport
All-wheel drive will be an option across the board with the XE for all engines, at a price premium of about $4,000. The system’s software reacts to road conditions in a predictive as well as reactive mode with the ability to shift up to 90 percent of the torque to the front or rear as needed. Another feature of the Jag works in both the rear-drive and all-wheel drive models—Torque Vectoring by Braking—applies brakes the inside wheel while cornering and directs torque to wheel with the most grip.
Jaguar’s First Crossover
The 2017 F-Pace was not available to drive at the event, but we got a chance to crawl all over it and were impressed with the compact crossover. It will also offer the same three engines as the XE.
Prices will start at $40,990 with the turbodiesel. Our prediction, as Porsche found out, is that the F-Pace will likely become Jaguar’s best-selling model.
With both the XE and F-Pace, Jaguar is leading with the kind of styling the brand has always been known for—using distinctive character lines and lighting around the signature Jaguar grill. The goal is to impart a sense of motion even when the cars are standing still. Mission accomplished, but in motion it’s even more beautiful.
We can’t wait for the diesel XE and F-Pace to arrive as this taste shows Jaguar is serious about competing in the entry-level luxury market and intends to put a marker in the growing crossover segment as well. Style, handling and fuel efficiency should help this cat to land on its feet.