From £33,2408
Athletic compact saloon is given what’s likely to be its final shot in the arm

What is it?

The future looks bleak for the XE, and when Jaguar goes electric-only in 2025, it’s likely that this saloon will disappear forever from its line-up.

Not that this has prevented the car from being updated for 2021, including one revision that might redefine the way you view Britain’s answer to the BMW 3 Series in the limited time it has left.

Among the changes is the adoption of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment, which in the XE goes without the large glossy display found in the refreshed XF and F-Pace but does possess the same slick graphics and intuitive, responsive menu layout. This alone is an enormous improvement.

There’s then also a new 201bhp 48V mild-hybrid diesel powertrain, which is rated at almost 60mpg and helps to address one of the XE’s main failings: high official CO2 emissions.

Neither of these additions is the game-changing one, though; that’s Jaguar’s decision to hack roughly £5000 from the XE’s asking price. It means this example, the rear-driven P250 turbo petrol in R-Dynamic guise – which sits between the lower-powered D200 mild-hybrid diesel and the range-topping, four-wheel drive P300 and is probably the most enticing XE for keen drivers – costs from just £31,010. Which is less than Volkswagen asks for the Golf GTD.

2 Jaguar xe p250 r dynamic 2021 uk fd hero rear

What's it like?

Okay, parts of the interior still don’t exactly feel cutting-edge, rear leg room remains the XE’s Achilles’ heel and either the new motor doesn’t quite make the claimed 247bhp or the kerb weight is somewhat more than the stated 1536kg, because acceleration only just qualifies as being brisk.

But the elegance in the steering and the handling balance make the driving experience uniquely sweet and thoroughbred in feel at this price.

In the end, an M Sport 3 Series is still more modern and agile in feel, with quicker steering and finer body control on your average B-road, where the passive suspension of the XE permits a little more roll and float than you might be expecting. It’s less clinical in general.

10 Jaguar xe p250 r dynamic 2021 uk fd dashboard

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Should I buy one?

However, its character and gait hail from an era when cars were more expressive at realistic speeds and more naturally throttle-adjustable.

Combined with a predatory design and long-distance comfort, this XE is an awful lot of car for the money.

15 Jaguar xe p250 r dynamic 2021 uk fd on road rear


Richard Lane

Richard Lane
Title: Deputy road test editor

Richard joined Autocar in 2017, arriving from Evo magazine, and is typically found either behind a keyboard or steering wheel.

As deputy road test editor he delivers in-depth road tests, performance benchmarking and supercar lap-times, plus feature-length comparison stories between rival cars. He can also be found on Autocar's YouTube channel

Mostly interested in how cars feel on the road – the sensations and emotions they can evoke – Richard drives around 150 newly launched makes and models every year, and focuses mainly on the more driver-orientated products, as is tradition at Autocar. His job is then to put the reader firmly in the driver's seat. 

Away from work, but remaining on the subject of cars, Richard owns an eight-valve Integrale, loves watching sportscar racing, and holds a post-grad in transport engineering. 

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Add a comment…
Salern 21 April 2021

Why do Autocar keep praising German cars? Its about time you praised UK engineering, especially Jaguar. 

Peter Cavellini 18 April 2021

Don't like depreciation?, don't buy new then!, always been that way, the first owner takes the hit come trade-in time, it's all about buying a car with as near to the spec you want, that's the caveat, you sometimes might have extras you didn't want.

skikid 16 April 2021

have you seen the depreciation on Bmw 3 SERIES AND AUDI A4 c class I think it is worse than the Xe and XF they should have had more legroom and estate options from day 1 not just the Xf after 2 or 3 years.everyone seems to go for crossovesr and suv's