The Jaguar XE is almost here. evo’s Dan Prosser has already driven it in pre-production guise, and first deliveries are expected to commence in March.
Entering a segment dominated by longstanding models like the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class, the XE is a big deal for Jaguar. The British carmaker’s last effort here – the Mondeo based X-Type – failed to impress, so can the new XE really take it to the class leaders?
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>Read – Jaguar XE pre-production prototype review
To help us decide, we’ve compiled a list of the new Jaguar’s top seven features. What do you think, is this the car to take it to the Germans?
1. Aluminium bodyshell
More than 75 per cent of the XE’s bodyshell is made of aluminium – much of it just 1.1mm thick and sourced from recycled parts – helping to reduce its kerbweight. Rigidity has also been enhanced by as much as 20 per cent compared with the XF.
This all works wonders for handling, important if the XE is to become a true drivers’ car.
2. Performance-oriented suspension
We know only too well how a light platform is nothing without well-matched suspension. The XE sits on double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension, a setup normally reserved for the likes of sports cars. As a result, agility is matched by a more compliant ride.
Engineers also promise that the setup allows for a greater window of adjustability between models, suggesting a hot XE could be sharpened up significantly.
3. The XE can be tax free
If buyers opt for the most popular 161bhp four-pot diesel engine, they’ll emit just 99g/km of CO2. This ensures the Jag will be tax free in the UK, impressive for a luxury saloon – the 3-series can’t produce less than 118g/km in its most efficient form.
4. Or it can be brutishly rapid
If tax exemption isn’t priority, but brutal power is, you’ll be happy to hear a future XE-R model will borrow the supercharged V8 from the F-Type R.
It produces 542bhp and 501lb ft of torque in the F-Type, and most importantly, sounds immense. That engine in an XE would certainly grab the attention of prospective M3 buyers, as would the extra 117bhp.
5. It borrows technology from Land Rovers
Knowledge borrowed from Land Rover has enabled Jaguar to fit the world’s first All Surface Progress Control system to the XE. Acting like an intelligent low-speed cruise control, the car can manage throttle and brake inputs to automatically drive through low grip surfaces.
6. The XE gains next-gen infotainment
Ditching Jaguar’s current, rather outdated system, the new XE gets Bluetooth, voice recognition, wifi hotspot capabilities, remote functionality, a head-up display and smartphone mirroring on the touchscreen.
>Read – Jaguar XE, specs, pictures and video
7. It wears Jaguar’s latest design language
Ok, so the rear seems to resemble the new Mondeo’s and has even been labelled a bit ‘Audi,’ but overall the new XE’s exterior appears both aggressive and pretty.
Things are good inside too, with the new infotainment being neatly contained between metal or wood veneers, contrasting stitching, fine-grain leathers and an overall sporty cabin. If this were a beauty pageant, the XE would stand a pretty good chance of wearing the crown.