Jaguar introduced its new XE sedan in a way only the folks from Coventry, England could.
On a stage at London’s Earl’s Court Exhibition Center, the company presented its newest sedan in a grand, two hour-long musical extravaganza that chronicled the company’s history through the eyes of a young car designer.
But when you look past the glitz and glamour of the event, it becomes clear that Jaguar realizes very well that its fortunes for the next decade or two hinge on the success of the XE.
While the stunning F-Type reaffirmed Jag as an aspirational brand, the XE is the car that has the potential to fill the company’s coffers in a way its other models can’t. Although the XF and XJ are great cars, these high-priced, very luxurious rides simply do not generate enough sales volume for Jaguar to notch profits like BMW or Mercedes.
Much as Tesla’s hopes hinge on its upcoming mass market Model III, Jaguar needs the XE to succeed for it gain a more solid financial footing.
For the first time since the company discontinued the X-Type in 2009, it has a car to compete in the cutthroat small executive sedan market. Although the X-Type reasonably sold well, the Ford-based 4-door wasn’t able to match up against industry leaders, such as the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Mercedes C-Class.
The American-designed X-type was saddled with poor reliability, an aging Ford chassis, and a look so odd that even the deft skills of Jaguar designer Ian Callum weren’t much help.
The XE, on the other hand, is a very different beast. Designed from scratch by Callum’s award-winning design team, the XE exuded Jaguar-ness: Power and presence brim beneath its sleek exterior.
“Our mission was to create an exciting and dynamic design clearly reflecting the XE positioning as a serious driver’s car,” said Callum.
“The cab-rearward proportions and tight packaging achieve that and give the XE the appearance of movement even when it’s standing still. It bears a strong family resemblance to the F-TYPE and will stand apart in the crowd.”
Looks aside, the performance is there as well. Power for the newest Cat from Coventry is supplied by Jaguar’s stellar 3-liter supercharged V6, and engine that’s shared with the F-Type sports car. Producing 340hp, the baby Jag will be able to sprint from 0-60 in a scant 4.9 seconds. In addition to the engine, the XE will also share the smooth-shifting ZF 8-speed gearbox with its siblings.
The XE’s stylish cabin will feature soft-touch leather materials and brushed metallic trim. The car will also mark the debut of Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment system,centered around an impressive 8-inch capacitive touchscreen. Jaguar claims that InControl will allow navigation maps to be more user-friendly, with tablet-like pinch-to-zoom functionality.
The XE will also be chock full of electronic goodies, such as adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and even a new laser heads-up-display.
While the XE launches worldwide in 2015, North American customers will have to wait until 2016 to get their hands on Jaguar’s latest offering.
Until then, take a look at this awesome TestDriven video that shows the XE’s action packed journey from the factory to its debut in London.