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Jaguar compact sedan on the way

Jaguar C-X17 Concept.

The show stealer of Frankfurt 2013 is also its biggest decoy. Jaguar's gibber inducing C-X17 SUV concept is essentially window dressing for a far more dramatic announcement by Jaguar's global brand manager Adrian Hallmark.

“We will have a rival for the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans in 2015,” he tells Carsguide. “It will be built in the UK at a new factory on new lightweight architecture. It's a world first aluminium monocoque.

“Jaguar would like to change the vocabulary of prestige motoring from the ‘German Three’ to the European Four. We don't want to pick on anybody or nick their lunch. We want to attract people by the intelligence of our offer."

Hallmark says the new sedan will run purpose built engines that will, in their various forms,  use less than four litres of fuel per 100km or reach 300km/h. Asked if coupes, cabrio and wagons would follow - in keeping with the Germans - Hallmark simply says the news sedan is the “start”.

How will this model, the first ever purely Jaguar compact sedan, be known? “Well, possibly X-something, but not with the word 'Type',” he laughs referring to the ill-regarded rebodied Mondeo from the brand's Ford-owned years.

Hallmark says the compact sedan could be expected to sell by itself a volume greater than the annual total of Jaguar's combined ranges. So what's with the C-X17 then? Hallmark refuses to confirm its production, although the new lightweight architecture would clearly fit this car, if not bigger, heavier Jaguars.

“We,” he says, as in Jaguar/LandRover combined, “already have six SUVs. We haven't built this for fun. The reason for throwing this out there is that it adds colour, literally, to the saloon architecture story. And we want to test the idea of Jaguar SUV on people. We want to test the design, test the reaction to a shift in direction. We'd love to build it, but I won't confirm it.”