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The model I drove and photographed was fresh out of the valeting bay, the XE R Sport is the mid range sports version of the baby saloon and sitting on 18" star five spoke alloys it certainly looked the part. The car was in ammonite grey metallic which set off the chrome grill and side badges nicely. Engine wise there are diesel and petrol variants, today's was fitted with the 240 bhp petrol engine, in a car with an aluminium chassis there should be plenty of pace from the 2 litre engine. With a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds it is certainly in hot hatch territory as well.

I have recently owned the big brother XF and also prior to that a 3 series, so was looking forward to the new XE which has been built from scratch by Jaguar. My first impressions were how light and easy to drive the car was, it certainly doesn't feel like a saloon car and has a more relaxed and airier feel to it then the 3 series which has a firmer and heavier steering set up. The car has a dynamic mode as well and even in its firmest setting it still rode amazingly well, even on some harsh Kent country lanes. The interior is comfortable with a brand new up to date multi media centre, all,touch screen and with simple to use controls and visuals. The 8 speed auto box is superb and always allows a bit of freedom when you plant the car in to sport mode where the revs are held a little longer. This car should in no way be compared with the X Type (I also had one of these!), that was basically on a Mondeo platform and average at ten very best of times, mine did have an alpine stereo with subwoofer which made it feel a bit more special.

The car feels like it could just go on for miles and miles without any discomfort to the driver and passengers, seats are comfy and more grippier then the XFs which I alwayd found a little flat, especially when compared to the Beemers. It is testament to the cars success in the press that Barretts Kent have already taken orders for this car without anyone having test driven it yet, a lot of these are XF owners, they won't be disappointed as this car feels more alive and relaxing to drive, handling wise the electric power steering is fluid and direct when you need it to be. My interest will be in the supercharged S which sports the 3 litre supercharged F Type engine, 340bhp will put it up against some strong competitors but if this chassis in the R sport spec is anything to go by it will be a belter, demos due next month so watch this space.

For the car photography shoot I chose the stunning backdrop of St Edmunds school in Canterbury, as its half term and they are one of my clients they were happy to accommodate the XE on the gravel driveway. Lighting wise I used the Profoto B1 as a fill in light with the early morning sunshine as the main lighting source. I stuck with the 50mm lens which is becoming my favourite piece of glass to photograph cars at the moment, it is so sharp and retains the most accurate colours of any of my lenses. A few interior close ups finished the shoot before I went for one last drive before returning the XE to Barretts Jaguar in Canterbury.
BLOG 2015