Set the sedan to sport

Medium four-door bor­rows tech and style from slick, larger stable­mates

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PETER BARN­WELL peter.barn­well@news.com.au

JAGUAR’S XE medium size sporty sedan, new from the ground up and tipped to sell from the mid-$50,000 mark, ar­rives next year to take on the BMW 3 Se­ries, new Benz CClass, Lexus IS and Audi A4.

Un­like the unloved Ford Mon­deo-based X-Type of a decade ago, the XE in Paris is a to­tal Jaguar ef­fort from the en­gines and un­der­pin­nings.

Plenty of tech­nol­ogy from the stun­ning new F-Type sports car finds its way into the XE.

It ush­ers in a raft of new man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses and light­weight con­struc­tion. Also new are the con­nec­tiv­ity tech­nol­ogy, rear sus­pen­sion and elec­tric steer­ing.

Alu­minium, mag­ne­sium and steel are welded, riv­eted and bonded to form the XE’s rigid chas­sis. The light­est XE weighs in at 1474kg and the body, un­adorned, is just 251kg.

The ad­vanced plat­form will un­der­pin fu­ture mod­els in­clud­ing a com­pact SUV. It suits not only all-wheel drive but also the V8 from the F-Type.

Chief project en­gi­neer Nick Miller says the XE is a driver’s car aimed at bring­ing “a new au­di­ence to the brand” — that is, pinch­ing buy­ers from the Ger­man and Ja­panese mid­lux­ury mod­els.

He also teases that the new plat­form “will form the ba­sis of more de­sir­able cars we have un­der de­vel­op­ment’’.

The XE’s 2.0-litre In­ge­nium petrol and diesel en­gines pass strin­gent EU reg­u­la­tions set to come into force in a few years. Claimed fuel econ­omy on the base man­ual diesel is an as­ton­ish­ing 3.8L/100km although for Aus­tralia the sole trans­mis­sion is likely to be an eight-speed au­to­matic from ZF.

In the high-per­for­mance S vari­ant, the XE uses a de­tuned ver­sion of the su­per­charged 3.0-litre V6 from the F-Type, orig­i­nally based on a Ford de­sign. Drive is, of course, to the rear wheels.

On the techno front, there are for­ward-fac­ing cam­eras for the driver as­sist fea­tures, laser head-up dis­play, eight-inch touch­screen and All Sur­face Progress Con­trol for safe driv­ing even on ice. Aero­dy­nam­i­cally, the XE is the most slip­pery Jag yet.

Jaguar an­tic­i­pates five safety stars but goes fur­ther with a bon­net that pops up to re­duce pedes­trian im­pacts. As with its com­peti­tors, the XE’s ad­vanced In Con­trol in­fo­tain­ment setup has nu­mer­ous app-driven func­tions in­clud­ing a re­mote con­trol an­titheft op­er­a­tion.

The XE re­sem­bles a scaled­down XF, with pres­ence on the road from all an­gles and a strik­ing fin­ish. The cabin is in the cur­rent classy Jaguar id­iom of op­u­lent, func­tional lux­ury.

It’s an awe­some car to look at and, on pa­per, it should be the same to drive.

Fam­ily re­sem­blance: The XE has XF de­sign cues but is even more slip­pery aero­dy­nam­i­cally

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