Experienced by Leon Brittain
What started out as a show vehicle and elegant canvas at ART-of-Motion transitioned into a choice vehicle for an engaging road experience from the nation’s capital to Columbus, Ohio. During the 12-hour jaunt in our 2017 Jaguar 35t XE Premium I became intimately familiar with the power and prowess of this — dare I say — affordable British icon. The initial premise for the compact sport sedan was to convert it from an elegant performance car to a mobile exhibit that brings out the cultural motivations of its admirers.
So welcome to the 2nd Annual ART-of-Motion “featured display” which set the 3rd floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center afire during the 2017 Washington Auto show. Manifested by Automotive Rhythms (AR) — the cutting-edge, graphic presentation highlighted more than 13,000 square feet of engaging and creative eye candy consisting of motorcycles, slingshots, luxury autos, hybrids, fashion, and murals. The emphasis was centered on AR’s talented cadre of painters who showcased their visual skills live for attendees to witness and enjoy as automotive vinyl was transformed into arts of motion.
We paired the XE with one of AR’s most respected and diverse creators. Nationally celebrated Edward Joseph aka “Ed the Artist” is an abstract visualizer specializing in lines that seek influence using shapes, forms, colors, and textures as evidenced in his work on the Jaguar XE. The vehicle was illustrated with Ed’s desires to interactively bring the animal kingdom to life. Literally, he tagged the sedan with a family of faces from the genus Panthera to honor the big cat’s powerful mantra and traditional roaring antics. With a wide head, compact physique, and strong jaws the Jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas. The 35t XE Premium finale aptly flaunted Ed’s perceptions.
With a price of $41,700 our Polaris hued exterior and Light Oyster Interior XE tipped the scale at $43,545. Earlier I used the term “affordable” loosely because $43,545 isn’t exactly the type of change you find tucked away under your mattress. However, for a Jaguar of this level the price point is reasonable when you consider the production of an exhilarating 340-horsepower from its 3-liter supercharged V6 engine which is linked to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted shift paddles. Electric power assisted steering and 18” sport wheels added to the driving pleasure. Owners are also afforded the luxury of JaguarDrive Control with Driving Modes such as ”Eco” to help reduce fuel consumption. Intelligent Stop-Start is also highligthed on the Jaguar XE. Although I can fully appreciate the purpose for fuel saving by temporarily disabling the engine when still and quickly reengaging when time to move again, I personally find such systems less than ideal for my taste.
As I journeyed on my quest it was the XE’s inherited DNA from its race heritage that put a continuous smile on my face. The swooping hills of the Shenandoah Valley provided ample opportunity with a series of descents and ascents to enjoy the agile handling from Jag’s Torque Vectoring system which applies braking to the inside wheel and directs engine torque to the wheels with the most grip. I was also fortunate enough, if you want to call it that, to experience wet road conditions. Needless to say this made driving less than ideal but the fortunate part comes into play from All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) which aided in navigating through these challenging situations. ASPC helps Jaguars maintain control in slippery conditions. Also, I was able to engage the aforementioned JaguarDrive Control for selecting Standard, Eco, Dynamic or Rain/Ice/Snow modes. As driving conditions improved the XE called upon those 340 horses as the soothing engine purr morphed into a seductive growl when Dynamic mode was chosen.
When I needed to be alone with my thoughts I dialed down the performance attributes and let cruise control take me away. This also gave me time to hone in on the optional SiriusXM Radio, Jaguar’s InControl Touch Navigation, and InControl Apps. Unfortunately, SiriusXM was temporarily disabled during our evaluation period which provided more opportunity to become acquainted with the XE’s 8″ InControl touchscreen which houses climate control, navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, integrated text to voice, and audio functions. Suffice it to say never did the rural roads bore me during the excursion!
On the horizon for the 2018 XE will be the welcoming of a 247-horsepower petrol Ingenium 4-cylinder engine, a limited edition Portfolio model, and a new XE S trim level with newfangled valances, S badging, and a 380-horsepower supercharged V6 borrowed from the F-TYPE. As you can see Jaguar has birthed another worthy sibling in its family of felines.