Walking up to it and sitting in it, it’s hard to compare the Jaguar XE to anything else but a BMW 3-series. That’s just the impression it gives off.
Step behind the wheel and it feels snug, but in a good way. The rear seat is tight and borders on useless for adults, but the driver’s seat feels perfectly tailored. It’s certainly not as lavish inside as other recent Jags, but the XE is free from some of the over-styling of some interiors in this class. It’s warmer than an Audi‘s interior, but generally with the quality of the new C-Class’. Again, it reminds of old BMW designs.
In fact, even approaching the car and walking around it reminds me of the E46. While photos make it seem bland and too much like a shrunken XF, in person the XE comes off as clean and tight. Again, like an Audi but warmer – like an old 3-series, really.
Because this really is the 3-series’ category, every rival is pitched as an alternative. So if you’re Jaguar, you have a lot of popular alternatives to go up against. But the XE has more cachet than “alternatives” like an Infiniti Q50, Acura TLX or Volvo S60. And it no longer has to carry around the baggage of being related to a Ford product to diminish its credentials among those who buy things with four rings, a three-pointed star or a blue-and-white roundel.
A lot of critics have said the Cadillac ATS comes closest to being a BMW 3-series in terms of the way it drives. But the ATS has a feel that’s unique. The Jag may come the closest to actually feeling like an old 3-series, which might be the way it attracts people who refused to accept an ever larger and comfier BMW.
Photos: Zac Estrada / Carscoops.com