BMW 340i vs Jaguar XE 35t AWD
This will be our first ever head to head comparison test. The BMW 3-series holds the benchmark for what a luxury sports sedan should be. It’s been the crème de la crème of the segment. However, the Jaguar XE is here and well it’s ready to shake things up. Let’s see how well these two go head to head and who the winner will be in the end.
Performance: The 340i uses a familiar 3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder pumping out 320hp, which is an increase of 20hp over the previous model year. We love this six-cylinder engine as it is smooth and offers amazing performance. It may seem like the tamer version of an M3, but if you desire all-wheel-drive and don’t want to pay the premium of the M3 this maybe your best bet. We had the opportunity to test drive both the manual gearbox and auto gearbox choices. The auto maybe faster but we would certainly stick with the manual as it is the more fun to drive configuration to have.
The Jaguar XE 35t AWD trim comes with a similar 3-liter six-cylinder but Jag went with a supercharger instead to pull an additional 20hp more than the 340i. The XE is quite literally fast and it doesn’t feel like its short on puff. We love how distinct the engine sounds compared to most turbocharged rivals and the flexibility is nothing to complain of. You’ll enjoy this engine the most because it’s distinct in character and really does match the XE.
Winner: We have to go with the XE on this one. The XE carried the slight edge over the 3-series that we couldn’t ignore. We love the 3-series with that engine but the XE won this by the closest margin we’ve ever seen.
Ride & Handling: The 340i came equipped with the adaptive M suspension which helps the 340i drive and handle like a dream. Steering input is precise and communicative and the suspension soaks up bumps well in comfort mode, while tearing up corners and bends in sport mode. You could quite literally take this to the track then drive it home. Everyone else who won’t drive this on the track will enjoy how easy it is to live with. It doesn’t beat you up on the daily commute and it is such a handsome car to look at.
The XE is also a track king as well. We love how well it handles and steering is actually better than the 3-series. We tried hard to find fault in the XE but came out enjoying ourselves. The XE did come fitted with air suspension which in comfort mode you’ll enjoy the most. We however kept it in sport mode because it felt like it livened things up a bit more. It’s quick in the corners and you feel confident pushing it harder into bends than you’d normally would do. The styling is more discrete compared to the 3-series but it has a level of charm that the 3-series doesn’t have.
Winner: We’d have to go with the XE here again. The 3-series may have the slight edge when it comes to daily comfort, but the XE is a doodle to drive. It really does make the daily grind a joyous experience.
Refinement: (Tie) Both are very refined when it comes to road and wind noise. The engines on both are smooth and the transmission pairing between the two of them are perfection. The 3-series has a slight edge when it comes to the stop/start technology; it seems slightly smoother than that of the Jag.
Behind the wheel: The 3-series has the better interior layout compared to the Jag. The minimalistic approach to the interior has a very classy feel to it while keeping everything within reach of the driver’s hand. The iDrive interface is much easier to use as well.
The XE has the British simplicity that we love but the quality of that infotainment system is what brings Jag down in this. The tester car we had for this review the infotainment system still felt fiddly to use and the several menus made it a tad bit more distracting. We had several issues with it in a previous review and so far things haven’t really changed much going into this one.
Winner: The 3-series hands down won this with flying colors. We hope that Jag does improve this because it would push the XE ahead of the 3-series.
Space & practicality: The 3-series again has the slight edge over the XE. The front seats offer plenty of support, while visibility is good all round. You may feel a bit shortchanged sitting in the rear seat but it is far from a deal breaker. The boot space is generous too.
The XE’s cabin feels narrow and cramped. The front seats offer the best in comfort while those in the back may not want to be back there for too long. While it does offer some space for two passengers, the slopping roofline means headroom isn’t generous and legroom is also in the same boat. The boot space isn’t as generous as in the 3-series either.
Winner: We’d have to go with the 3-series on this one as well. It doesn’t feel as cramped as the XE.
Equipment: Despite the XE being the most expensive between the two. You do get rewarded with plenty of kit standard. Navigation system, perforated leather seats, front and rear parking aids, blind spot monitoring system and adaptive xenon headlamps. The 340i trim we had, several of the features that are standard on the XE and were optional on the 3-series. We just don’t understand why parking sensors are optional on this BMW as it is the most expensive of the 3-series range.
Winner: The XE may be slightly more expensive than the 3-series but at least you are rewarded with more standard kit. The 3-series did mirror the XE in optional extras but parking sensors are optional and the rearview parking camera is an option as well. I know several indirect rivals that have a rearview parking camera standard and aren’t even nearly as expensive.
Quality & reliability: The 3-series holds yet another advantage over the XE. We’ve had several issues with the XE over the infotainment system and not to mention Jag doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to reliability. BMW is also in the same boat as well, but at least the BMW feels more substantial in areas that matter the most. The interior quality is far better and the overall impression of the 3-series gives it the win here.
Overall: Whether you choose the XE 35t AWD or 340i. You’ll be greeted with two fantastic vehicles to drive and own. The XE pretty much destroys the 3-series when it comes to performance, driving dynamics and overall value for money. Sadly however we’d have to go with the 3-series on this one. BMW maybe a bit stingy when it comes to standard kit, but the 3-series has the slight edge when it comes to practicality and overall user friendly interior. We were swayed by the XE as it is the best when it comes to overall driving satisfaction but the infotainment system is a nightmare, the cabin is too narrow for our tastes and reliability is still iffy. You’d buy the 3-series as the logical choice and the XE because it leaves you feeling satisfied. This is why we stated this several times, the XE is the only car that can give the 3-series a real run for its money. It truly is a gem.
Current voting status: We asked voters which one is better.
BMW 3-series: 63%
Jaguar XE: 38%
Likes: The driving dynamics are what you’d expect from a 3-series. It has the slight edge in practicality and refinement.
Dislikes: You’ll pay an arm and a leg for options that should be standard.
Jaguar XE 35t AWD
Likes: Dynamically and performance wise the XE is by far the best choice. This really does give the 3-series a run for its money.
Dislike: The infotainment system is a disaster and reliability record is iffy.
3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, 320hp ($59,140*)
Jaguar XE 35t AWD
3-liter supercharged six-cylinder, 340hp ($61,290*)