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CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

THE SOON-TO-BE-LAUNCHED JAGUAR XE IS THE RESULT OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF INVESTMENT BY PARENT COMPANY JAGUAR LAND ROVER, WRITES BEN OLIVER.

SCORECARD Jaguar XE Engine:

Supercharged 3.0-litre V6

Power:

340hp / 332 lb-ft

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

Performance:

0-100km/h 5.1sec, 250km/h

How much? TBA

T

he new Jaguar XE is probably the most eagerly anticipated car got it right. It looks sensational: Jaguar’s Design of 2015, and although global deliveries haven’t started yet, I’ve Director Ian Callum is probably the world’s already driven it. To be accurate, I’ve driven a prototype: but with greatest current car designer. It drives brilliantly: a car this important, you can be sure that Jaguar wouldn’t let me you can feel the benefit of that expensive drive one and write about it unless they were happy with it. aluminium structure – unique in this class – Why so important? The new XE is the result of billions of dollars in the first fifty metres. The body shell is stiffer of investment by parent company Jaguar Land Rover in advanced aluminium than its steel rivals, so it feels more solid, but construction techniques and an all-new range of powerful, that doesn’t mean a stiff ride. clean engines designed and built in a brand new engine In fact, because the suspension My early text of plant in the UK. It is the first time since the old Jaguar is mounted to a stiffer, more the XE tells me they X-Type was killed off that Jaguar has attempted to take on consistent base, Jaguar can have got it right. the BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4: compact tune it better, giving the XE It looks sensational … both a smoother ride and executive cars that sell in huge numbers, make huge profits and are beautifully, expensively designed, engineered and sharper handling than its rivals. it drives brilliantly. manufactured. Jaguar is a relative minnow compared to But it also feels light and agile, those three carmakers: taking them on in this sector of the market requires as aluminium sports cars do, and that light betting the company. weight results in both quicker acceleration and Get it right, and Jaguar’s fortunes will be transformed. The current line-up, led really surprisingly good fuel economy. by the acclaimed F-TYPE sports car is the best it’s ever been, but the range isn’t Downsides? The rear seats are a little broad enough to allow Jaguar to grow as fast as its Land Rover cousin. cramped by comparison with the rivals, That changes now. And my exclusive early test of the XE tells me they have because Jaguar has consciously chosen to give 28

HK GOLFER・FEB 2015

HKGOLFER.COM

this car a more sporting, coupe-like profile. And I’m not a fan of the whooshing engine note of the 340hp, 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 engine I tried (globally, a full range of four- and six-cylinder petrols and diesels will be available). But lots of people love it: this V6 comes direct from the F-TYPE sports car, which has been a huge success. But my strongest impression was a purely subjective one. Today, Audi, Mercedes and BMW make superminis, hatchbacks and people carriers. But the other Jaguars are all luxury saloons or sports cars. There’s still something very special and very premium about this brand. Seeing the ‘leaper’ mascot on the steering wheel in front of you is a real privilege, and now one that can be enjoyed by drivers who want that image in a smaller package, better-suited to Hong Kong’s congested city streets. And as my early test proved, the new XE has the ability to match that image. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・FEB 2015

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