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So tonight I had the chance to go and see the new Jaguar XE at the Visitor Centre at the plant in Castle Bromwich. Quite a few people there all interested in the car and about 75% of the cars in the car park were Jags! It was a well organised event with nice food and a buzz of confidence around the car. More than once was it mentioned that the XE is the class best plus 10% (eg. Fuel consumption, drag co efficient, suspension layout, etc).

Exterior:
The usual two models doing the rounds ( the Italian Racing Red S and Glacier White 2.0 163 diesel Prestige). As noticed before the XE is colour sensitive. While the white XE looked good the IRR S model looked fantastic! Despite the fancy lighting which did accentuate the car's lines it looks very sleek in real life. The side profile and roof line is very coupe like and works in real life. The shoulder line is more pronounced in rear life than the flat look in pictures. The XE definitely needs big wheels though!

My concerns has always been around the rear end. In real life it's not an issue thankfully. Although I couldn't take a picture from a distance the rear lights help with increasing the visual width of the car and emphasise its sportiness. And they look normal sized rather than the huge behemoths in the launch photos.

The best feature for me is the front quarter looking at the side of the headlights, front wing and the alloys. The 20 inchers on the S are amazing (shame they're not going to be on the at R Sport). A very aggressive front end with the power bulge. One of the designers (Adam Hatton I believe his name was) talked about touching the car to feel the texture of the lines.

Interior:
This comes with the caveat that the cars were pre-production and the Jaguar guys and girls on hand made a point of stressing this throughout the night.

I didn't get a chance to try the drivers seat but sat in all others seats. The front really feels like a cockpit and more enclosed than my 3 series. I didn't think this was a bad thing and you really see it when you open the front door and realise how the 'Riva hoop' of the dashboard is quite pronounced, especially how it stretches into the top of the front doors. I liked it.

The centre console looked fine but one of the fellow attendees (an Xf driver) commented that it looked very BMW. He also commented that the dash on his XF also seemed less cluttered.

My issue was that the top of the dashboard on the S, which is leather covered didn't feel like it was. It didn't really have any texture or feel to it and the cut out for the passenger airbag didn't look smart. Not a deal breaker though as the touch screen looked the right size without being huge or minuscule.

The gear selector console looked great apart from the open cup holders. They really need a cover! Again the XF owners commented on this from what I could hear.

The rear seats... The XE is a 4+1, not a 5 seater. I like that as it emphasises the sporty 4-door-brother-of-the-F-type nature rather than it being a practical family car. Three in the back would be a squeeze and middle seat passenger has a hard seat and zilch foot space. However two passengers in the back makes it feel more coupe-like as they sit towards the centre, thus having more headroom. The rear doors seem huge though which may cause some trouble getting out in tight spaces and the sloping roof life means your barnet does touch the roof, even if you bend your head, when you enter/exit the car. Again the XF drivers seemed to be very keen on the space issue and whether they would downsize or not.

For me the two areas that need looking at are the feel of the dashboard as mentioned and the quality of the door pulls. The top of the doors and the door handles felt good and the doors shut with a nice, solid thud. However the door pull itself felt very plasticky and would benefit from some softer touch plastic similar to what BMW use on the 3 series. After all this is the part of the door that will have a lot of contact from the driver and passengers.

Delivery and test drives:
There were a fair few technical experts around. Production starts soon and the press get to drive the car in January. The press embargo on test drives should be lifted in the 2nd week of February so we should get an idea of what the car journalists views are then.

Car dealers should have 1 car each in April for test drives with delivery for the first cars to anyone in the first batch who have pre-ordered in June 2015.

Overall:
The XE looks fantastic! I could see and hear that XF drivers admired the looks but weren't taken with the interior or the space inside. However, for people trading up or moving across from the 3 series, A4 or C-class it definitely feels like a contender. And there was lots of excitement about the looks (me included) of the S model, so much so that I kept going back to it. It's definitely moved to the top of my list now.

Hope you find the pictures useful and apologies for the glare of the lights and iPhone amateur photography shots!
 

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Mr-Tee said:
Some pics
i have also viewed these cars,cant agree with you more on the feel and look of the interior.too much of a come down from my now ex xf!!i was really dissapointed by the level of the interior,and the cost to spec the xe,the size for me was just right ,but apart from that the car's did nothing for me ,the 3.0s in red looked good ,but i think a lot of people were being swayed by the false red colour as they had blue spotlights stacked around the car to enhance the red,it is actually the italian racing red ,which in daylight does not look like the red they were trying to portray. the metallic white was shown with normal colured lights on it and it looks good in that white,have also seen pictures of a metallic dark blue which to me looks stunning in the pictures never seen it live though.but like i said before ,it is too late for me now , had my deposit returned as it is not the car i was hoping it was going to be , really happy with my 430 d grand coupe ,but after having 5 new jag's in the last 12 years i will be keeping an eye on the development s of the jaguar brand,
 

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Very good report Mr Tee, you'll be signed up by one of the car mags. Looking forward to seeing the XF in the flesh early February. Seems pricey by the time you get a reasonable spec so I'll wait and see what the new xf has to offer. Currently driving 2.2 xf diesel and love it. Your report and pics very helpful. Well done.
 
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