Today is a big day for Jaguar. The Jaguar XE was first officially teased at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. It is Jaguar’s attempt at poaching compact executive customers away from the established German trio; the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. The Jaguar XF has been an unprecedented success for the British marque; it is hoped the Jaguar XE will do the same!
We’ve spent the afternoon sitting through technical briefings, having the minute details explained to us, and generally enjoying some hospitality. For now though, we’ll share some of the naked facts with you. Check back for the full, behind the scenes story over the next few days!
Driving purists will be pleased to hear that the Jaguar XE is rear wheel drive. Marketed as a sports saloon, several aspects are intended to give it a performance edge. The range will consist of three engine variants to begin with; a petrol V6, a four-cylinder petrol and a new four-cylinder diesel.
The top of the range (for the moment) Jaguar XE S gets the 340 hp supercharged 3.0 litre V6, an engine we drove quite extensively in the F-Type V6. A torque figure of 450Nm allows a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Both figures make the XE S an impressive proposition!
Jaguar will fit the new 2.0 litre diesel engine from their “Ingenium” range to a number of models lower down in the XE range. Emissions are 99g/km and 75 mpg economy which will obviously appeal to the company car market. Customers will also be intrigued by the Ingenium diesel engines ability to achieve 21,000 mile or two year service intervals.
The XE S gets the eight-speed ZF gearbox modern Jaguar and Land Rover enthusiasts have come to expect. A four-cylinder 2.0 litre petrol model will also hit show rooms. It, and the Ingenium engined XE, will get a choice of either a trusty 6-speed manual or the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
A picture paints a thousand words so you probably don’t need us to explain the design in too much detail. Needless to say, the XE is characterised by a short front overhang and a longer rear overhang. The front of the car conforms with the design philosophy of the rest of the range with a muscular bonnet and familiar daytime running lights. The central design line rises through to the rear quarters and the rear lighting is typical of Jaguar with the horizontal rear light design harking back to Jaguar’s heritage.
To set the design aside from the more pedestrian models, the Jaguar XE S gets a larger front air intake, chrome side vents, gloss black side skirts, a discreet rear spoiler and optional 20-inch forged alloy wheels.
Dynamically, the Jaguar XE is incredibly slick. It has a drag coefficiency of 0.26 making it the most aerodynamic Jaguar ever made. That figure is helped by the flat underfloor and diffuser, plus 1,200 dynamic simulations and more than eight million hours of processor time.
If there’s one material to define a generation of Jaguar’s it is Aluminium. The XE benefits from plenty of high-strength, 6000-series alloy. As with the F-Type, the XE bodysides are one piece, ultra-thin 1.1mm pieces. Parts of the car are constructed form recycled RC 5754 aluminium alloy as Jaguar moves closed towards its goal of using 75 percent recycled material by 2020.
The Jaguar XE is also a class leader in terms of chassis design. It uses a double wishbone configuration with light, stiff aluminium front knuckles. The design is class-leading at this price point and offers a clear performance and handling advantage. The XE is the first Jaguar to use electric power steering.
The Jaguar XE gets a curious new system called All Surface Progress Control (ASPC). ASPC functions between 3.6km/h and 30km/h. It precisely controls the braking system and the powertrain, delivering optimum traction for rear drive cars in the most slippery conditions without skidding and without the driver using the pedals. A bit like cruise control for adverse conditions!
Another technological feature is the laser head-up display which provides the driver with information such as speed and navigation instructions. European markets will also get a stereo camera technology as standard which provides autonomous emergency braking based on accurate measurements of speed and distance as well as traffic sign recognition and lane departure warnings. Customers will also be able to order the XE with adaptive cruise control, closing vehicle sensing, blind spot monitoring, semi-automated parallel and bay parking, and reverse traffic detection.
Inside, the Jaguar XE has a deep centre console with engine start button, steering wheel, dials and cluster needle sweep lifted from the F-Type. Headroom and legroom don’t look to be much of a problem either. If anything, the XE is a refreshing break from the standard we’ve come to expect of the German luxury sedan.
The Jaguar XE will be available with a range of technical fabrics, fine-grain leathers and contrasting twin-needle stitching. Veneers will include a choice of gloss black, textured aluminium or contemporary wood and ambient lighting, offered in 10 colours, adds to the sense of occasion.
Perhaps the biggest thing for us is the changes Jaguar have made to the infotainment system. Gone is the lethargic system that blighted the rest of the Jaguar model range. In its place is a new InControl system. It centres on a eight-inch touchscreen with Voice control, an SD card-based navigation system, Bluetooth, audio streaming and USB connectivity. The XE functions as a Wi-Fi hotspot, together with iOS and Android compatibility which allows remote connectivity to control the XE’s climate control system, locking or unlocking the doors, or even starting the engine. Meridian provide the audio system for the XE. We’ve tested these systems extensively in other Jaguar models and they perform faultlessly.
The Jaguar XE will be manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull plant in an all-new purpose-built facility. With the first cars headed to customers in 2015. More detail will be released at the Paris Motor Show later in the year. Stay tuned for more technical insights in the coming days!