What’s this then?
Welcome to Jaguar’s all-new mid-size saloon the, XE.
It’s the increasingly vibrant brand’s new entry-level model that sits below the excellent XF, and is aimed squarely at taking customers away from the hugely successful Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3 Series.
Although Jaguar may not welcome too many comparisons between its shiny new offering and the not-so-great X-Type, it does at least occupy a similar area of the market that the manufacturer has been absent from since the X-Type’s demise.
Although some bits of the completely new XE are understandably borrowed from existing cars in Jaguar’s lineup, this is to all intents and purposes, a completely new car that is part of the brand’s ambitious expansion plans. The chassis is an entirely new platform with a double wishbone suspension that promises lots of comfort at the same time as delivering an outstanding driving experience.
One of the standout new features that we will see with the new ‘baby’ Jag is the ‘Ingenium’ engine range, which is realistically the Midlands-based manufacturer’s answer to Ford’s EcoBoost range of economical engines.
There are lots of new goodies across what promises to be a pretty extensive range of models, which start from a relatively modest £26,995 for the petrol derivatives and £29,775 for the diesels.
What’s this about new technology?
It’s questionable how much of the technology here is new and how much is just new to Jaguar, but there’s a huge amount of technology throughout the XE range to get excited about.
Although the car stays true to the rear-wheel-drive heritage of the brand, there’s a new system called All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), which is a sort of low-speed cruise control that should deliver unrivalled all-weather capability for a rear-wheel drive car in this class.
Most cruise-control systems don’t work below 20 or 30mph, and this can work the brakes on individual wheels to keep you going where you want to. Our tame test driver reckons it’ll make driving in snow on summer tyres less stressful too. Nifty.
There’s also going to be a head-up display system that promises to take what we already see from manufacturers like BMW and Audi, and take it to an entirely new level. Jaguar says it will project high-contrast colour images directly in the driver’s line of sight, with these virtual images appearing to ‘float’ two metres in front of the driver.
These things only scratch the surface of the advanced technology on offer in the new XE, which means gadget-lovers will find the new Jag something akin to the car of their dreams.
What’s under the bonnet?
The new Ingenium engines come in a wide range of sizes and outputs to suit a broad range of customers. The range consists of four and six-cylinder diesels, which top-out with the 3.0-litre V6 supercharged unit that impresses most of the critics who have driven it in the raucous F-Type.
The more sensible models start with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol units that will be available in two ratings: 197hp and 280Nm of torque and 237hp and 340 Nm of torque. Then the obligatory diesels arrive in similar fashion, with two more 2.0-litre four-cylinder blocks that come in 161hp/380Nm and 178hp/430Nm forms – we reckon these will make the XE a firm favourite with company car drivers after something a little more interesting than the 3-Series.
Two transmissions will be available to put the power from the engines onto the road, which will be a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic that will be available with both petrol and diesel derivatives.
What about safety?
Nothing less than a five-star rating from Euro NCAP should be expected when you look at the amount of standard and available safety features that the XE can boast. You simply can’t get away with anything less these days in this class of car, and there’s no reason to expect the XE to be anything other than as safe as the safest cars in its class.
A stereo camera will be standard fitment to control the Autonomous Emergency Braking and traffic sign recognition systems.
If you want to stay safer than you will be in the XE, especially if you go for all its cutting-edge safety features, you probably forget about driving at all and stay in bed!
We could go on all day about what you get as standard and what you can have on your new XE in its various trims, as to be quite honest, the range is so expansive as to be almost bewildering at times.
However, if you wrote a wish-list out for what you would want to see available on an all-new car in this class, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that you would probably have fallen short of what Jaguar is delivering with the XE.
When can I have one?
The Jaguar XE will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, but we will have to wait until May 2015 until the cars start to land at dealerships for sale.
In a line…
It looks like BMW and Mercedes could have some very serious competition in this class…