First Drive: 2020 Jaguar XE P300 R-Dynamic S AWD

by Michael Satterfield

I have long been a fan of Jaguar, but while they have made some amazing sports cars over the years, but their history of sports sedans is slightly more checkered. The Jaguar S-Type R and XFR were larger sedans with supercharged V8s, the XE is Jaguar's first compact executive Jaguar since the X-Type. While the X-Type was a sales success, it lacked the sporting credentials to go head to head with the BMW 3 Series, this new XE P300 R-Dynamic S AWD aims to change that.

The first thing you notice about the XE R-Dynamic is it is a very good looking car, designed by Ian Callum, the XE launched at the 2014 Paris Motor Show and while the overall shape hasn't changed much since the 2015 model year the R-Dynamic trim designation means this is the sportiest looking XE yet.  With blacked-out trim, 20" 10 spoke wheels and sporty carbon-fiber interior trim, it has a more sporty aesthetic than any previous version of the XE.

Powering the R-Dynamic is a 2.0 liter, gasoline engine that produces 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which isn't class-leading, but is more than enough for most drivers. With Dynamic-Mode engaged, the exhaust gets a little louder, the suspension a little firmer, and when using the paddle shifters the XE feels sporty, balanced, and is fun to drive.

The interior is clean and understated, the controls and dual screens do take some getting used to as they are different than most of the competition, but with Apple CarPlay most everything you need is controlled via the upper touch screen. Gone is the retracting rotating knob of the original XE, replaced with a more conventional sifter. The cabin is nicely appointed and feels sporty, I will say that the seats are a little stiff for long road trips.  But once it the hill country, I took it out of Comfort-Mode and went back to Dynamic-Mode and quickly forgot about the stiff seats.

While you expect a premium car to have a lot of equipment, the list of standard equipment on this trim level is impressive. Adaptive cruise control, high-speed emergency braking, wireless phone charging, traffic signal recognition, premium sound, etc... the list is impressive and when you stack it up against the competition the value of the XE P300 R-Dynamic S AWD's $47,290 MSRP really stands outs.

The BMM equivalent to the M340i xDrive Sedan does have 87 more horsepower, but that power will cost you $17,455 more when comparably equipped and I am a fan of the BMW, it doesn't have the sex appeal of the Jaguar. Another car you may consider oozes sex appeal, the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Sport Carbon AWD, has less horsepower than the Jaguar and still costs over $10,000 more than the XE.

If you are in the market for a sports sedan the XE P300 R-Dynamic S AWD needs to be on your shortlist and if you are going to get on, get it in Caldera Red.