Set the sedan to sport
Medium four-door borrows tech and style from slick, larger stablemates
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