Jaguar’s XE was always one of the best-looking saloons on the block – now it’s even sharper.

A series of design tweaks, new bumpers, slender tail lights and new all-LED headlights with striking daytime running lights make the XE appear wider and lower.

But it is inside where the major changes leap out at you, with a luxurious new interior packed with soft-touch materials, classy veneer and new door trim – not to mention new technology.

Fire up the engine and a digital 12.3-inch instrument display and twin touchscreens – shared with the all-electric I-PACE – glow into life. A new steering wheel, also shared with the I-PACE, is covered with touch-sensitive switches.

The clever stuff even extends to the rear-view mirror which gives a completely unobstructed view of the road behind.

Linked to a wide-angle rear-facing camera, the system feeds images to a high-definition screen within the frameless rear view mirror; unhindered by tall rear passengers, poor light or rain on the rear screen.

The clever interior mirror and digital instrument display are part of £1,470 optional technology pack which also includes a head-up display and wireless phone charger.

Priced from £33,915, the entry-level specification includes automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels, electrically-operated leather seats, all-LED headlights and tail-lights, front and rear park aid, rear camera and lane keep assist.

Buyers can select from S, SE and HSE trim levels, with each also available in sporty R-Dynamic trim, which adds 19-inch 10-spoke dark-grey alloy wheels, sports-style seats with contrast stitching, satin chrome gearshift paddles and R-Dynamic treadplates.

Power on the car I drove came from a 2.0-litre, 250 horsepower turbocharged petrol engine. A 300 horsepower petrol engine is available, along with a 180 horsepower diesel which is capable of fuel consumption of up to 57.6mpg.

The diesel is compliant with the stringent RDE2 NOx emissions limit, well ahead of the January 2021 legislative deadline. This particularly helps company car drivers, thanks to a four per cent benefit-in-kind rate cut, but also retail buyers through a reduced first year vehicle excise duty charge.

Despite the continuing demonisation of diesel, Jaguar says its latest diesel engines have approximately 25% better fuel economy than petrol engines while producing about 15% less CO2 and emitting around the same amount of NOx.

The company argues that for drivers that travel more than 12,000 miles a year, a diesel engine is often the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.
Swift, quiet and supremely comfortable, the rear-wheel-drive XE remains as agile as ever with all-wheel-drive models also available.

A standard feature on all models is the ability to shift the car into ‘dynamic’ mode which amplifies the car’s sporting character, with faster gearshifts, sharper throttle response and increased steering weight.

You can also opt for a more advanced system which allows you to set up the car to suit your personal driving preference by choosing comfort or dynamic settings for the engine, gearbox and steering through the central touchscreen. The system constantly adjusts the dampers to provide the optimum balance between comfort and refinement.

So while it bears sharper looks, the XE is even more of a smooth operator.

Auto facts

Model: Jaguar XE HSE R-Dynamic 2.0 RWD

Price: From £40,335

Insurance group: 30E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 36.2mpg

Top speed: 155mph

Length: 467.8cm/183.7in

Width: 185cm/72.6in

Luggage capacity: 291 litres/ 10.3 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.8 gallons/63 litres

CO2 emissions: 159 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 100,000 miles