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2015 Jaguar XE previewed

2015 Jaguar XE S

Jaguar's new XE medium-size sporty sedan arrives next year as a direct competitor for the BMW 3 Series, new Benz C-Class, Lexus IS and Audi A4.

Sitting beneath the existing XJ and XF sedans, the XE will be priced commensurate with the competition which means a likely starting point in the mid-$50,000s.

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.

EXCITEMENT

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.

ALUMINIUM

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

It houses the largest aluminium body shop in Europe.

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 with a thickness of just 1.1mm, more than a third thinner than before, without compromising strength.

The lightest XE weighs in at 1474kg. The body in white weighs just 251kg.

NEW PLATFORM

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.

Nick Miller, XE's Chief Project Engineer said the new platform will form the basis for other cars Jaguar has in the pipline, but wouldn't elaborate further.

"The XE is a driver's car with sleek looks and a high value level aimed at conquest sales over similar size vehicles and to bring a new audience to the brand," Miller said.

CarsGuide can tell you that all wheel drive fits the platform architecture and so does the V8 engine out of F-Type.

CUTTING EDGE

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

The rear 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 auto courtesy of ZF.

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

TECHNOLOGY

Other interesting XE stuff includes stereo forward facing cameras to facilitate many of the driver assist features, a laser head up display, new generation touch screen (8-inch), "All Surface Progress Control" for safe driving on ice, and aerodynamics rated at a low Cd 0.26 - the most slippery Jag ever.

REPAIRS

Jag even engineered the car to be easy and (relatively) economical to repair. The headlights are designed for easy replacement and the front suspension has what are called slipping fixings to protect it from kerbing.

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

The aerodynamic rating was achieved partly from a smooth underfloor.

ENGINES

Jaguar now has control of its own destiny with powertrains thanks to a new engine plant in the UK that will crank out the Ingenium friction reduced 2.0-litre turbo engines. The supercharged 3.0-litre petrol  V6 in XE S is from F-Type - de-tuned a tad and originally based on a Ford design. Drive is, of course, to the rear wheels.

SELECT

Like its competitors, XE has driver select functions with multiple choices for how the car behaves dynamically and efficiently (ECO mode).

Also like its competitors, XE features an advanced infotainment system in this case called InControl with numerous app-driven functions including some by remote control such as the anti theft system.

Contributing to the XE's light environmental footprint is engine stop/start on all models, regenerative charging under brakes and deceleration, low viscosity lubricants throughout, ECO driving mode, urea injection in the diesel.

STYLE

The XE is a stunner to look at; a scaled down XF but with more attitude even though it's a smaller car.

It has presence on the road from all angles and a striking finish.

Inside is in the current classy Jaguar idiom: opulent, functional luxury.

VERDICT

An awesome car to look at, that's for sure. On paper, it should be the same to drive.

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