Last year Jaguar XE placed fourth, almost 100 points behind the winning C 200. But an updated model sees it leapfrog the Lexus into third place and considerably close the gap between it the two German cars. While the new XE scores a 9 for safety it still has a five-star ANCAP rating with some cutting-edge crash prevention systems. It is one of the first vehicles in the segment to feature a stereo camera which provides a 3D view of the road ahead and is at the heart of its autonomous emergency braking system. It also boasts other systems such as lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing and rear traffic detection. The Jaguar was a clear standout in braking. Its brakes had excellent bite and great pedal feel. There was no fade after repeated hard stops and the Jag consistently pulled up significantly quicker than the Merc or BMW. Equal-class leading for ride, seating comfort and build and finish, the XE scored higher than the first and second placegetters for standard features. However, it’s the smallest of the three, both in the cabin and the boot. Despite housing the same capacity powerplant (2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo), the XE couldn’t match the BMW 330i for performance, and it’s also the thirstiest in the class, with an average consumption of 7.5L/100km.