BMW 3 Series vs. Jaguar XE: A Choice That Might Prove to Be Subtly Difficult

BMW 3 vs Jaguar XE 30 photos
Photo: Alex Sincan
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Have you ever experienced, in one way or another, the feeling that perfection is boring? If the answer is “yes”, please, continue reading! Maybe there is no rational reason to pick a Jaguar XE instead of an all-mighty BMW 3 Series, yet we believe this can still happen.
Many of those wishing for a proper driving machine shaped like a compact sedan might start their search with the BMW 3 Series. Over the decades, the Bavarian brand has seriously insisted on creating such an image for its products. The image may be attractive, yet the cars’ abilities have to convince. People are happy when their expectations are fulfilled and BMW’s range of prices, engines and customization possibilities is large, covering a broad spectrum of preferences.

There is only one real and implicit reason not to agree with what the BMW 3 Series has to offer: the feeling that you didn’t go your own distinct way by consenting to become one of the millions of BMW owners out there. Do you feel motivated by the lyrics of Chesney Hawkes’s song “I Am the One and Only?" So, maybe it is time to navigate away from BMW. Just like that, no offense. Remember the character in the “Welcome to the Machine” song by Pink Floyd? The lyrics say this about him: “…loved to drive in his Jaguar.”

Meet the model series

Prepare for impact: you asked for a BMW and they answered with a kind of a tiny armada. Worldwide, the offer includes no less than 13 engine versions with 4 or 6 cylinders (gasoline, diesel, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid) covering the power range from 122 hp (316d) to 510 hp (M3 Competition). Many of those can be mated to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Except for some basic versions and the M3, all engines get the ZF provided 8-speed automatic transmission in the standard configuration – at BMW, they call it Steptronic. The M3 can be ordered with a manual 6-speed gearbox, but an 8-speed automatic M Steptronic transmission is also available. The typical equipment lines for the BMW 3 Series are Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport, yet things are not coming to an end here. If you are ready to pay, there is plenty of refined stuff available under the BMW Individual styling brand.

BMW 3 Jaguar XE
Photo: BMW, Jaguar
Jaguar will spare your neurons from getting too hot while examining the XE’s register. There are only three engines available: two versions of the gasoline-fed Ingenium 2.0 turbo (4 cylinders, 250 hp and 300 hp) and a mild-hybrid 2.0 turbodiesel (204 hp). There are four typical trim levels available for the XE, called S, SE and HSE. The R-Dynamic styling features may add a noticeable sporty touch to the design of the car. There is also a R-Dynamic Black version, with a kind of chromatic treatment that might wake up your dark side.

BMW 3 Jaguar XE
Photo: BMW, Jaguar

Price tags

Prices for the BMW 3 Series start at €37,200 for a 318i in Germany. The basic version of the 3 Series in the USA is the 330i and they ask $41,250. Back in Germany, the lowest price for the Jaguar XE is €44,500  and you will get a XE P250 RWD for the money. In the USA, they ask $39.900 for the same thing. Funnily enough, it seems in the USA you can get a Jaguar P250 RWD (250 hp) cheaper than a BMW 330i (258 hp), while in Germany, it is the other way around: €46,350 or a BMW 330i, €50,140 for a basic Jaguar XE P250 RWD.

At the top, a BMW M3 Competition costs €89,500  in Germany or $72.800, in the USA. The most expensive Jaguar XE is the R-Dynamic S P300 AWD, with a basic price of $46.295. In Germany, its price starts at €52,700, but here you can spend more by choosing the R-Dynamic Black P300 AWD, for €54,394  (they don’t have a R-Dynamic Black in the US). The top XE has 210 hp less than a sophisticated M3 Competition, which easily explains its significantly inferior price.

Meet the duelists

However, looking for a pair of representative rivals for these two mid-size sporty sedans, we found out that the BMW 330i and the Jaguar XE P250 RWD make a good match. Far from being slow, far from being the most expensive things in their model series, they both have 4-cylinder 2.0 turbo engines of about 250 hp and rear-wheel-drive. Coincidence: the 8-speed automatic gearbox comes from ZF for both of them, yet with some different settings.

BMW 3 Jaguar XE
Photo: BMW, Jaguar
The BMW 330i is noticeably faster than the Jaguar P250 RWD (0 to 100 kph/62 mph in 5.8s, respectively in 6.5s), offers more comfort and its practical side has a better concept (BMW 3 Series trunk: 480 liters, Jaguar XE trunk: 410 liters). In fact, the BMW 3 Series (LxWxH: 4709x1827x1435 mm) is discretely bigger than the Jaguar XE (LxWxH: 4678x1967x1410 mm), which has a sleeker and sportier silhouette. In terms of design, the Jaguar looks more refined, both outside and inside. Its recent upgrades are responsible for this.

BMW 3 Jaguar XE
Photo: BMW, Jaguar
The Jaguar’s dashboard has a rather classic layout, yet all the screens on the center console and the digital instruments panel are finely integrated there. The instruments are nice and easier to read than the alien-looking scales in the BMW. Without denying the technical qualities of the BMW 330i, the Jaguar XE is more than enough in terms of performance and appealing to convince someone who is sincerely searching for an emphatically beautiful mid-size sedan and would appreciate a special experience at the wheel.


The acquisition of a Jaguar XE instead of a BMW 3 Series is not pragmatically justifiable (especially in Europe, where the Jag XE is more expensive than an equivalent version of the BMW 3 Series), yet it is rewarding in terms of exclusiveness and aesthetics. If you feel these are more important than some 70 liters of trunk and 0.7 seconds of 0 to 100 kph acceleration, then it is the time to get your cat.
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