2016 audi a4 vs 2017 jaguar xe

Aaron ColeNovember 11, 2016Comment Now!

It"s a question we"ve been asking ourselves since the 2017 Audi A4 và the 2017 Jaguar xe cộ first rolled into our driveways: which one"s better, & can either of them ascend lớn the 3-Series" old slot as the vị trí cao nhất compact sport sedan?

We find no shortage of irony that the staid British luxury brand is the upstart in this affair. Perhaps if the Jaguar XE’s seats were made of tweed, we’d feel more comfortable about the new four-door sedan.

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Geographical generalities aside, we’re finding ourselves double-taking all the differences between the XE & the new Audi A4.

For the record: We were very nearly over the moon with the new XE. When it arrived on our shores, we were smitten with the drivability và fun from Jag’s newest sedan. The only negative was the fact that it had was born alongside, and therefore overshadowed by, Jag’s new F-Pace crossover SUV.

Similarly, the timing of the latest generation A4 could have been better, too. Audi is involved in a little dust-up over its engines, you may have heard, & the A4 looks so close khổng lồ its predecessor that even fastidious Germans would be hard-pressed to spot the alterations. Overall, the sedan is a dead-ringer for the family, even if it rides atop of a new platform and with sharper lines.

But both cars impressed us enough to lớn qualify as finalists for our 2017 Best oto To Buy award. So, we brought them to the hickory-smoked hills of north Georgia for a thorough what for. A winner emerged relatively quickly, but not from outright excellence.

I know, I know, hold on. Let me explain.


2017 Jaguar xe pháo V6 S


2017 Jaguar xe V6 S


2017 Jaguar xe cộ V6 S

Jaguar XE: the basics

Jaguar’s history at small sedans is, we’ll say, checkered. Forget it.

The newest compact sedan arrived on our shores for the 2017 model year, rejuvenating the segment in a way we haven’t seen in a while.

Starting with Jaguar’s steadfast resolve lớn bring a diesel powertrain after Audi’s (and parent-company Volkswagen) public flub, the small xe pháo seemed lượt thích a breath of fresh air in a segment that had started to grow stale.

MORE: Read our 2017 Jaguar xe cộ review

The XE’s competence in corners is intoxicating. In both versions we’ve driven, gas và diesel, we couldn’t find fault in its flat character and willing attitude lớn devour the line, hold it, & ask for more.

(While we’ve driven the 180-horsepower 2.0-liter diesel XE, we’ll keep most of the powertrain comments confined to the 340-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that we used to lớn blitz the back hills of rural Georgia. Please remember one thing: Even the base diesel has the XE’s best performance trait, which is its chassis.)

Starting at just under $36,000, the xe cộ is a more graceful approach to back roads than we’re making it sound. Its drama-free attitude & street smarts proved to be a revelation for nearly all our editors who took the wheel. Editorial Director Marty Padgett surmised: “First thể thao sedan in a long time that I"ve thought could use a little more damping. Leans but in a composed way, và doesn"t hammer through corners as much as glide through them.”


The xe pháo is gifted with one of the best steering racks we’ve found in the segment for quite some time, BMW’s lost its cảm biến thanks to lớn a maniacal devotion to run-flat tires, & Audi và Mercedes seem uninterested in the idea. Senior Editor Andrew Ganz agreed: “The xe pháo reminds me of the way BMWs used khổng lồ be, with its predictable rear-wheel-drive dynamics and its good steering.”


Senior Editor Kirk Bell noted the discrepancy between the two engines, và we started to get the feeling that this could be a landslide victory.

"First of all, this isn"t a fair fight in terms of power and dynamics. The 340-hp xe pháo 35t Prestige would be better compared to the Audi S4. Nonetheless, the Jag comes in at $49,095 compared khổng lồ $54,275. That makes the Jaguar a thể thao sedan value in my book."

But corner after corner, as the miles marched by, we became less occupied by the stellar ability khổng lồ take a set and started to move to everything else.

Short fonts doors made for awkward elbow ergonomics for taller drivers. In fact, as we climbed behind the wheel time và time again we noticed that our heads were positioned behind the B-pillar. That’s not a huge inconvenience, but the chunky door divider stayed in our periphery nearly the entire time.

MORE: Read our 2017 Audi A4 review

“Stark cabin,” Padgett wrote.

Ganz was apparently reading over his shoulder, too: “Its interior is stark, its back seat tight, và its infotainment crashed for all of us (even though I actually lượt thích its menus và its navigation).”

That’s true. Despite a beautifully large 10-inch screen bezeled into the center stack, we hopped into the xe after a dash in the A4 & the screen went blank. Not a good start. The thực đơn system is bright và sharp, good resolution and an honest-to-goodness intuitive layout that’s not called “Apple CarPlay.”

For the driver, the xe pháo is eager khổng lồ reward. If you’re a passenger in the experience, there are a few things left to lớn be desired.

"What"s up with some of the Jaguar"s interior materials? The plastic over the IP is Chevy Spark quality, và there are some other hard plastics that fail khổng lồ impress. The overall look of cabin is also almost painfully simple. There"s no kiến thiết flair here like there is on the exterior, but a lighter color upholstery does add some visual interest," Bell said.

The view from the rear seats isn’t entirely comfortable. We found the front chairs khổng lồ be lacking enough scallop to lớn wedge our knees in the back, and while we found that we could clone ourselves and ride in the back, we wouldn’t want to do it three abreast. The xe is a các buổi party of four.

The potent engine & exceptional thrust is hard lớn ignore, however, even our love affair with the powertrain waned.

“The start/stop is atrocious,” we wrote. “The V-6 sounds choked from the inside.”

“Car makes no qualms about being a BMW rival. I wish the engine were a little less cocky & vocal, though. Just as loud but not nearly as smooth khổng lồ wind out as it wants to be,” Padgett wrote.

It’s beautiful in approach, but its details are better at arm’s length. Even the upstart can’t break from tradition, it seems.

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2017 Audi A4


2017 Audi A4


2017 Audi A4

Audi A4: the basics

“Guess how much that A4 is,” I said, staring at a short slab of Fat Matt’s ribs và a long ride ahead to blue Ridge, Georgia.

“I don’t even want to know,” Ganz said. (Was he talking about the ribs & the ride, or the price? Maybe both?)

“Over $54,000,” I said.


The new A4 has grown up in form size and price. While it’s only added half an inch in wheelbase from the last generation, the sharper lines và crisper hood hint at a more elegant mission than early thể thao compacts. The Audi A4’s cabin is so quiet on a highway slog, a stomach coming to grips with a rib sandwich sounds lượt thích thunder next door.

In many respects, the A4 is a very different approach than the XE. Where the xe pháo makes a promise in big ideas, the Audi starts with the details. About 100 pounds were lost in the overall structure with use of more lightweight steel; the grille is a little wider và lower than last go-round to look a little squarer on the road; the trunk floor is just a hint lower for easier cargo loading.

Hardly exciting stuff, unless you’re an engineer.

“So anonymous in styling. This is the company that did the TT and R8? Where"s that kinship?” Padgett asked.

Its kinship begins và ends with the so-called virtual cockpit Audi planted in the A4. A gorgeous 12.3-inch high-resolution display in front of the driver relays information such as navigation, infotainment, & phone controls to lớn the driver, sandwiched between speed & tach gauges.

Virtual cockpit is how good ideas are done better.

The difference between the R8 and TT’s application of virtual cockpit & the A4’s is in the redundant infotainment screen perched between driver and passenger. The A4 adds an 8.3-inch screen lớn display nearly the same information to lớn passengers, including navigation & infotainment, but uses MMI’s click wheel to lớn control the menus—even for táo apple CarPlay. It"s clunky và difficult to use without taking your eyes off the road.

2017 Audi A4 vs. 2017 Jaguar XE

Fair enough.

Under the hood & between the wheels, we couldn’t ignore the obvious. The Audi’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 was no match for the Jag’s supercharged V-6 & nimble attitude. The engine has always been in the wrong place for the A4—over the front wheels for an all-wheel-drive oto is less fun than vacation Bible school.

The Audi had plenty of hustle, & when coupled with optional adaptive dampers it made the most of its somewhat course direct-injection turbo-4. It’s 85 percent of the performance (of the XE) with 100 percent of the right attitude.

"Both engines are impressive. The Audi"s 2.0-liter turbo is one of the strongest of its ilk, but the Jaguar"s 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 is in another league," Bell wrote.

Long slogs và twisting corners didn’t confuse the Audi, even if it fell back when chasing the xe a couple times. But the best parts weren’t its outright capability, rather its composure and competence—and ability khổng lồ get up off the stool and answer the bell even if it was outgunned on paper by nearly 100 hp.

“The A4 offers better visibility, a transmission that felt more aligned with its engine, & a manageably high-tech cabin,” Ganz wrote.

The A4’s steering could be stiff, but its ride was firmly more confident.

“Hard lớn beat its taut ride and sport mode responsiveness. Gets busy on main road but cuts through curves with a clearer sense of duty than the XE,” Padgett wrote.

The A4’s better than the sum of its parts. The Jag? Let’s talk.


2017 Audi A4

The conclusion

If you’re thinking it was a tight race, you’re right.

The Jaguar’s xe cộ faults almost made the oto more likeable, right down khổng lồ its engine configuration that couldn’t be more hopelessly British if it tried; khổng lồ make a V-6 from a V-8, engineers just filled up two cylinders.

But we found fewer flaws in the Audi và more attention to detail.

Perhaps Ganz said it best: “It"s the A4 that I"d buy và the xe cộ that I"d lease. One of these will be dutiful over the long run, while the other seems lượt thích a wild adventure. At least as far as compact sedans go.”