The XE has a good-looking interior but it’s let down by a few cheap materials and a frustrating entry-level infotainment system
The Jaguar XE’s minimalist centre console and soft-touch dashboard are framed by a stylish wraparound hoop that’s been inspired by Italian speedboats. Some hard plastics on the centre console and door trims feel cheap but the look is mostly upmarket, thanks to a smattering of wood and metal trim pieces, as well as a gear selector that rises from the centre console when you start the car.
The XE feels sportier than the Audi A4 as you drop down into its comfortable leather seats – standard on all but entry-level models – and grip its sporty steering wheel. As an added bonus the driving position’s one of the best in the business, too, with a low, almost sportscar-like feel.
The interior’s been inspired by Italian speedboats and looks great but a few hard plastics do let the side down
All XEs come as standard with Jaguar’s InControl touchscreen infotainment system. It has an eight-inch display with satellite navigation as standard. The basic unit is noticeably slower to respond than the systems in the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series however, and it’s not terribly easy to use.
You’re better off spending £1,610 to upgrade to the InControl Touch Pro system. Not only does it have a bigger 10.2-inch screen with sharper and more modern graphics, but it has more logical menus and responds as quickly as systems in the German cars. The central display also comes with a trick dual-screen function – it can display separate images depending on whether you sit in the driver’s or passenger’s seat. This means the driver can get sat-nav directions while your front-seat passenger watches a DVD. You can also use an accompanying smartphone app to adjust the climate control, lock the car and shut its windows wherever you are in the world.
Stump up for the InControl Touch Pro upgrade and you also get a 12.3-inch digital screen instead of analogue speedo and rev-counter dials – similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – that can display sat-nav directions and a whole host of other information without you having to take your eyes completely off the road.
The standard stereo system sounds good enough but an excellent 350W Meridian sound system is offered as part of the InControl Touch Pro system, or as a £530 optional extra. This 11-speaker audio upgrade is well worth it if you’re serious about sound quality – or just love a bit more bass.