What is it?
Jaguar Land Rover’s new range of Ingenium diesel engines, first seen on the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Dscovery Sport, have now made their way into the other half of the business.
The range-topping unit is a 236bhp four-cylinder twin-turbo, which has been fitted to the all-wheel-drive version of the class-leading XE saloon. That AWD version was introduced last year as Jaguar’s next step to expand into markets dominated by the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
As before, the drive system is rear-biased, diverting power to the front wheels when needed. And, as before, there’s a cost to the AWD system: weight. In fact, adding in the twin-turbo and extra bits of the engine means this version of the XE weighs 1650kg; an increase of 35kg over the 178bhp diesel that previously topped the range. But this is offset by that extra 58bhp, which increases the top speed from 140mph to 155mph and, at 6.1sec, is 1.8sec quicker to reach 62mph.
What's it like?
Even with the AWD system and a new engine, on the whole this XE retains the familiar feel of the car, which is a very good thing. It’s effortless, pleasing and rewarding to drive; the class-leading dynamics of the car continue to shine through.
On our test drive, held in largely dry conditions, it was hard to feel the influence of the AWD system that often, but then it was rarely needed.
The twin turbocharged diesel has been designed by JLR to offer high power and torque, the two turbos working in sequence to smooth out the acceleration.
That said, at slow speed, the engine feels a little hesitant and languid. But when the power does arrive, it’s generally smooth, untroubled and refined. The eight-speed automatic gearbox complements it well and is generally as smooth as the powertrain.
Once you reach an A-road or a motorway, the Ingenium engine comes into its own. It cruises happily at speed and rarely feels strained. If you really ask for it, there’s a decent kick of power, although it’s not the sort of engine that ever thrusts us firmly further back into the comfortable embrace of our Portfolio trim test car’s brogue leather seats.
Instead, the engine matches the XE’s handling dynamics: it’s pleasing; relaxing, even. The engine is also perfectly suited for cruising on long journeys. It’s capable of effortlessly eating up mileage while remaining engaging enough to always offer an enjoyable drive – and capable of delivering a more engaging one if you seek it out. With an official combined mpg of 54.4, this is also a car that remains a relatively economical choice for regular long journey usage.