Jaguar XE: Watch Out, 3 Series?

This is the very first image of a new baby Jag dubbed "XE", pitched at the small executive car sector.

Though a great many details are yet to emerge - the production ready model won't be shown until much later this year and sales won't start until 2015 - Jaguar has not been especially coy about the important information.

Utilising an aluminium monocoque (integrated chassis and major body components) as shown on the C-X17 concept car, the XE will be available as rear and four wheel drive and powered by a new family of in-house developed, four cylinder petrol and diesel engines dubbed "Ingenium". The available powertrains offer frugal, sub-100g/km CO2 models and a variant pencilled in for a 186mph top speed - the same as the 560hp XFR-S!

Drivers with longer memories will recall that Jaguar has attempted a 'babyJag' for this sector previously, in the shape of the Ford Mondeo-based Jaguar X-Type. Where this car fell between the stools of family motoring and a prestige badge, turning off buyers, the XE appears to promise a bespoke entry to the segment to take the stalwarts from Germany and Japan head on. Recent Jaguars have attracted some head-shaking when it comes to value, so it's crucial Jaguar pitches the price just right.

Full technical and range details will be made available later this year, but if you were planning on breaking into the savings for a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS or Mercedes C Class it's going to be worth holding onto your money for now...

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