Jaguar (and Land Rover)’s model naming system these days makes identifying what’s beneath the bonnet wonderfully easy. This is a D200, which means a diesel engine and 204PS (150kW). That engine is one of Jaguar’s wonderful, but rapidly losing favour, Ingenium diesels, a turbocharged inline-four with smooth power delivery and an impressive 430Nm (317lb ft) of torque. Coupled with Jaguar’s mild-hybrid system that means 0-62mph in just 6.9 seconds, impressive for a pretty mid-range saloon.
Peak torque comes from 1,750rpm, giving a nice punch as you floor it, but does taper out just 750rpm later at 2,500. That’s where the hybridisation helps, adding some extra oomph into the mix when peak power is still half the rev range away at 4,500. The gearbox, an eight-speed ZF automatic, is smooth on the change, but liable to hold gears for a little too long, especially when you need it to kick down, which doesn’t help find that low torque band. It can be annoying if you need to overtake someone or change lanes, but there are paddles to overcome the issue should you need them.
At cruise the XE is as good as anything around, easily munching motorway miles with very little fuss other than slight kickdown issues. The hybrid system does help just to punch you up the range when you do get the ZF ‘box to respond though, which helps ease tensions greatly. Suspension and damping are smooth without being wallowing and on our near 750-mile round trip to Le Mans it can’t be said that neither we, or the Jaguar, broke sweat once.
Get off the motorway and the XE is still more of a cruiser than a speed merchant, but what would you expect from a diesel saloon? Stick it in dynamic mode and the engine response does get sharper and the gearbox chooses lower gears for better traction. It does make the XE enjoyable to slot between a few B-road corners, but never in danger of becoming an absolute hoot.