The new Jaguar XE compact executive saloon, which will take on rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4, is close to being revealed, with an official image giving us the best idea yet of what it will look like.
Heavily disguised in a mechanical body wrap, the image provides our best opportunity to see what shape the baby saloon will adopt.
The mule is still heavily clad and concealed from view but short front and rear overhangs can be made out for the first time.
The wrap showing the skeleton of the platform used on the XE is also a completely new construction form Jaguar. The ‘iQ Al’ aluminium structure will also be used to underpin the forthcoming SUV from the brand due in 2016 and eventually find its way under a range of Jaguar models in the future.
Full details on the Jaguar XE range and technical details will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show 2014, before the car goes on sale in 2015. Prices are likely to start somewhere between £25,000 and £30,000.
The new XE name was revealed by Jaguar Land Rover boss Dr Ralf Speth on the Jaguar stand at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
“We announced just a few weeks ago that our new Engine Manufacturing Centre would produce a new family of premium, lightweight, low-friction, low emission four-cylinder petrol and diesel units," said Speth. "The first of our Ingenium engine range will be used in our all-new mid-sized Jaguar sports sedan. That car will be called the Jaguar XE, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year.”
The car will use the same aluminium platform set to underpin the production version of the Jaguar C-X17 SUV – due in 2016 – and eventually be used underneath the bulk of cars in the Jaguar range. The saloon will be followed by an estate.
Under the bonnet will be an all-new range of Ingenium four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines built in a new Wolverhampton factory. Their focus will be to provide Jaguar the power and efficiency that customers expect in this class.
We’d seen spy shots of the XE testing in various locations around Europe but prior to these images the cars have all been test mules, wearing an XF body.
Auto Express spoke to Head of Design, Ian Callum, at the UK launch of the Jaguar F-Type Coupe about the design of the XE: “It's not just a shrunken XF, it's more than that. You'll see some similarities, we'll be getting the face of the brand out there, but we haven't taken the opportunity to radicalise the car in any way so you'll see the family resemblance.”
The Jaguar XE will be available with the F-Type’s V6 engine when it goes on sale next year.
An update on the brand's website confirmed the 3.0-litre supercharged unit, which comes with either 335bhp or 375bhp, will be fitted with Jaguar’s advanced aluminium platform to underpin range-topping versions of the compact sports saloon.
Along with the F-Type’s V6 engine, the XE will also be sold with Jaguar’s new Ingenium engine family, a range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel powertrains capable of CO2 emissions as low as 100g/km. Jaguar will be manufacturing all of these units at its new £355million facility in Wolverhampton.
Jaguar is also considering hybrid options for its new executive saloon, with further CO2 reductions and improved performance anticipated.
Jaguar's new BMW 3 Series rival came into sharper focus early in 2014, thanks to these first spy shots of a prototype wearing the final production body. The new baby Jag – codenamed X760 and called XE – was first announced by the company in autumn 2013 and described by company boss Ralf Speth as being the “most efficient, advanced and refined premium sports saloon ever seen in the C/D segment”.
The shots revealed that Jaguar had got the proportions right, with a low bonnet, wheels pushed to the front and a long wheelbase. There were obviously XF-inspired lights and a stretched oval grille, like that found on the C-X17 SUV concept.