Jaguar is one of those brands that is just irresistible, no matter how disappointing and how shoddily they are built. For example, the classic grandfather clock, the XJS, it was built with rather questionable quality standard, but still, it possessed that Jaguar charm that can't quite be matched. They were a bit shaky afterwards, but now they're back proper, with the F-Type and new X-Types, which look sensational, clearly displaying that they've stepped up their quality, design and powertrain.
So you can only imagine how I felt when a call was given to me to shoot a Jaguar XE. For those that are unaware, the XE is Jaguar's 'baby saloon'. It's their entry to the premium compact saloon market, whilst also maintaining Jaguar's sporty credentials. This Jaguar XE is made for those businessmen who want to separate themselves from the typical compact executives from BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis.
Furthermore, I think that the latest Jaguar XE is absolutely ice-cool, especially if you opt for the top of the range version which has a supercharged-V6 that many concluded to be one of the best sounding V6 in the world right now, and it pops and crackles like no other. However, if 'Jaguar' and 'V6' doesn't entice you enough, Jaguar Special Operations Division is planning a supercharged-V8 variant that puts out 500bhp, specially designed to compete with the likes of the Audi RS4, BMW M3/M4, and C63 AMG.
Even though we got the SE trim, which is the bottom-range car with a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, there's still something to be excited about in a diesel Jaguar, and that is the looks. Even in the base trim, the XE just looks handsome. It's muscular and it follows the Jaguar design language, in the sense that it looks like it's up to no good. Good examples are the Jaguar XF and F-Type, it gives you the chill even if you just look in their direction. To put it simply, Jaguars must have charisma, and the XE has it in spades, with its massive gaping front grille with large vents, exaggerated aero parts and aggressive headlamp design.
But, at the same time, that actually puts me, as a photographer, in a tougher spot. You see, a car with strong personalities narrows down the room for error in putting a car to its respective context. A good example for a photo that doesn't quite make sense is a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento flying in gravel. It sure does provide the shock factor, but a Sesto Elemento, a purpose-built track car, rallying is just wrong contextually. The job for me then, is to identify a solid and convincing background for the Jaguar XE.
A desolate background then, was a good choice. A background with little to no distractions, a background that seemingly puts the Jag' in its own habitat. The cloudy day further emphasized the Jaguar as well, not many cars can look properly at home in the rain, but the XE just happens to be one of them. The rain complimented the XE perfectly, the overall moody light aided in shooting the XE as well.
After the exhilarating exterior, it's time to move onto the less exciting interior. To most people, they would actually prefer that. One thing that sporty cars usually ignore is comfort, however, the Jaguar actually feels like a nice place to be. Something that majority of the buyers will appreciate, the last thing you will want in a car made for long-distance travelling are racing bucket seats and stripped out interior after all.
One thing that not many people will expect, however, is the 6-speed shifter in our variant. It's uncommon nowadays, and more so in an executive Jaguar. Our variant had the lighting pack as well, it provided a nice ambient light in the cabin when it was dark out. The beefy 3-spoke steering wheel has buttons for pretty much everything and the instrument cluster is simple and focused. The interior just works, elegantly. Thus I kept the interior shots simplistic and it yielded good results.
Shooting with the XE, I must say, is a pleasure. It looks good from so many angles, in fact, you have to be intentional to take a bad photo of the Jaguar XE. Looks wise, Jaguar has done well on the XE, and getting a good set of photos of the car is an achievement that all automotive photographers can certainly relate to.