By Jacob Black
Jaguar has decided to take the stuff it does so well and couple it with the stuff that everyone believes in, to take it to more people all over the world with the 2016 XE.
The launch was marked by the lofty, sometimes engaging, but always brave production that took journalists on a time-travel journey with characters that were allegedly based on Jaguar’s current design team. It might have been the most extravagant launch of 2016, and placed emphasis on the XE’s role in the line-up; to bring Jaguar back to the masses. This was aimed at making Jaguar more accessible and affordable, while retaining the flair and exhilaration inherent to the brand.
The car will sport an aluminium-intensive monocoque chassis, Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment system and the lowest drag coefficient of any Jaguar ever – 0.26.
It will sit under the XF and XJ as the marque’s smallest family sedan, competing directly with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
According to Jaguar’s press release, power will come from “highly efficient 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines matched to smooth-shifting six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions. The diesel engines – part of Jaguar’s all-new Ingenium engine family – provide exemplary fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from 3.7 L/100 km and 99 g/km respectively.
That fuel economy number is ambitious, but it speaks to Jaguar’s goal of an affordable sedan with low running costs. That might be irrelevant to North America anyway though as it is unlikely we will see the diesel engines.
We will get the XE S however, with the same 340-hp, 332 lb-ft supercharged V6 found in the F-Type Coupe giving it a 0-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds.
All Jaguar XEs will get double-wishbone front suspension and integral link rear suspension – a design they say is superior to rear multilink set ups. The chassis has been tuned for maximum stiffness to make this a “true driver’s car”.
Still, hydraulic steering has been abandoned for electric steering and while Jaguar assures us that won’t diminish steering feel, past experience suggests otherwise.
At 4,672 mm the XE will be 50 mm longer than a 3 Series BMW, and Jaguar claims a curb weight of 1,474 kg for the base model – identical to the base-model 320i. It will be slightly 39 mm wider at 1,850 mm and 13 mm lower in overall height at 1,416 mm. The wheelbase will be 25 mm longer than a BMW at 2,835 mm. The lower, wider and longer stance will on paper give the XE a better centre of gravity and better high-speed stability.
Jaguar has fired a warning shot at segment leading BMW with this small, luxury sports sedan, and first impressions are positive. Watch out 3 Series!