Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Peter Barn­well

JAGUAR’S new XE medium size sporty sedan ar­rives next year as a di­rect com­peti­tor for the BMW 3-Se­ries, new Benz CClass, Lexus IS and Audi A4.

It will be priced com­men­su­rate with the com­pe­ti­tion which means a likely start­ing point in the mid $50s.

This is a com­pletely new model from Jaguar which last played here about a decade ago with the unloved, Ford-Mon­deo-based X-Type.

The XE is a whole dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish be­ing a to­tal Jaguar ef­fort right down to the en­gines and un­der­pin­nings.

Adding more than a dash of ex­cite­ment is the fact that 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, new con­nec­tiv­ity tech­nol­ogy, new rear sus­pen­sion, elec­tric steer­ing, as well as light­weight con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and sys­tems.

Jaguar built a spe­cialised plant in the UK for this car (and the Range Rover Sport) both of which are pre­dom­i­nantly made of alu­minium.

XE’s chas­sis is a hy­brid of alu­minium, mag­ne­sium and steel that is welded, riv­eted and bonded to­gether to form a rigid, light con­struc­tion.

New alu­minium al­loys, some from re­cy­cled ma­te­rial, were for­mu­lated for var­i­ous parts of the car to op­ti­mise strength and re­duce weight.

It has al­lowed Jag to use, for the first time, alu­minium sheet metal body pan­els of 1.1mm in thick­ness, more than a third thin­ner than be­fore, with­out com­pro­mis­ing strength.

The light­est XE weighs in at 1474kg. This is Jaguar’s first use of a new, ad­vanced alu­minium plat­form that will see duty on fu­ture mod­els in­clud­ing a com­pact SUV style ve­hi­cle.

It fea­tures plenty of cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy, in par­tic­u­lar the new In­ge­nium en­gines in petrol and diesel 2.0-litre dis­place­ment both of which pass strin­gent new EU reg­u­la­tions set to come into force in a few years.

The In­te­gral Link rear sus­pen­sion is a new de­vel­op­ment for pre­cise han­dling and to work in con­cert with the elec­tric power steer­ing and nu­mer­ous driver as­sist fea­tures in­clud­ing radar cruise, auto brak­ing sys­tem and lane keep­ing.

A six-speed man­ual is avail­able over­seas but we will likely only see the XE with eight speed ZF auto.

Fuel econ­omy on the base model man­ual diesel rates an as­ton­ish­ing 3.8 litres/100km.

Safety is rated at five stars but the XE goes fur­ther with a new pedes­trian safety sys­tem fea­tur­ing a de­ploy­able bon­net.

Ver­dict: An awe­some car.

The XE is an all-new sporty sedan, packed with in­no­va­tion.

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