Mid-size sedans were once the ultimate measure of a premium carmaker; not just the biggest seller in a brand's portfolio, but the ultimate gateway drug for young executives who would (hopefully) step up to bigger and more expensive models as their pay-packets ballooned.

But then, SUVs happened. And suddenly sedans didn't matter quite so much. If at all.

Take BMW, for example. The German marque shifted a total of 4451 units across its 3-Series and 4-Series range last year, a number now dwarfed by the 5171 units across the X3 and X4 SUV family over the same period.

And that shift is even more pronounced with a smaller brand like Jaguar. The UK marque shifted just 791 units of its XE sedan last year, while the F-Pace SUV moved 1275 units over the same period. And that’s a gap that will only get wider. 

And yet, having just spent a week in the snarling Jaguar XE S - all supercharged V6 and howling exhaust - we are left with one truly burning question; why?

Why are we climbing out of super athletic sedans and into stodgy SUVs? Why are we trading dynamics for ride height? And why do I have to give this back?