2015 Jaguar XE revealed - the full story

  • 2015 Jaguar XE executive car revealed
  • Aluminium chassis, all-new engines and suspension
  • Features cutting edge technologies and extensive smartphone integration

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The Jaguar XE goes on sale early in 2015, directly pitched at the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. Jaguar officials say that, as well as eclipsing its rivals through a combination of cutting-edge chassis, engine and in-cabin technology, plus striking design, the XE must lead Jaguar from being a popular but small-scale car maker in to a global powerhouse with ambitions to rival those of its premium German rivals.

To this end, the most efficient Jaguar XE, powered by a new 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine with 280lb ft of pulling power, will deliver average economy of 75mpg and emissions of just 99g/km of CO2. That makes it the most efficient Jaguar ever built and eclipses the best currently offered by rivals. The BMW 3 Series Efficient Dynamics model, for instance, is powered by a 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine with 280lb ft of pulling power, and averages 68.9mpg and emits 109g/km of CO2. However, both BMW and Mercedes are preparing to launch new engine variants of their models within a year, the figures for which have not been revealed.

This new, efficient diesel engine will be part new range of all-new turbo-charged  four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines from Jaguar, branded as Ingenium and which, the firm says, will deliver class-leading fuel efficiency, refinement and performance. The engine range details have not been revealed in full, but they are said to be up to 80kg lighter than the current equivalent units. The diesels will all be available with the choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes, while two 2.0-litre petrol models will be available with the automatic gearbox only. Jaguar has yet to reveal the power outputs and performance figures for the petrol engines.

As well as the low emissions and high fuel economy contributing to low running costs, VED road tax and company car taxation, the diesel engines have service intervals of 21,000 miles or two years. No figures for the petrol engines have been released. Jaguar also says that the engine bay layout has been exhaustively engineered to ensure key parts are easily accessible, bringing down the cost of servicing and helping to reduce the XE's insurance rating.

Underlining this efficiency drive, the XE will also get the company’s new electric power steering system. Until now, Jaguar has eschewed such systems as it didn't believe they provided the same level of feel as a mechanical set-up. However, Jaguar says that the technology is now far more advanced than when rivals first used it, and that the economy benefits and low-speed manoeuvrability benefits are matched by the level of steering feedback.

Other, bigger six-cylinder engined versions of the XE will be available. The car pictured here is the Jaguar XE S, which will be available from launch and which is powered by a supercharged 335bhp 3.0-litre V6 engine that powers the XE from 0-60mph in 4.9sec and delivers 361lb ft of pulling power, taking it to a limited top speed of 155mph. The engine is a modified version of the unit that powers the base Jaguar F-type, and the performance on offer in the XE is broadly comparable with the £39,310 Audi S4, which produces 335bhp, 325lb ft and hits 0-60mph in 5.0sec. The XE S will be differentiated by an 'S' badge on the front grille. The car also features a deep front bumper, black mesh grille and large air intakes.

Ground-breaking technology
The Jaguar XE sits on a new aluminium platform architecture that will be used across variety of new products, including a new Jaguar SUV which is expected to go on sale around 2016. Jaguar says it is a world leader in lightweight aluminium construction thanks to its historic use of the material in cars, claiming the new structure is the the most advanced available in the world. The XE is also, it says, the lightest, stiffest and most aerodynamic Jaguar ever built as a result of this platform technology – and that this lightness is what underpins its fuel and emissions efficiency plus impressive handling and ride characteristics.

The ride and handling are also enhanced by the unique suspension setup, influenced in part by that used on the Jaguar F-type sports car. The XE uses suspension technology which is more commonly associated with bigger, more expensive cars. Insiders say this is because Jaguar prioritised benchmark ride and handling characteristics as a way of making the XE stand out from its rivals. Furthering the use of aluminium, some of the suspension parts are made from the material to lower weight in this critical area.

Although the XE has yet to be tested, Jaguar is also predicting that it will score a full five-star Euro NCAP crash test result. This is thanks to the strength of the aluminium architecture and the presence of active safety systems including a pop-up bonnet which is triggered when a pedestrian hits the front of the car, so that it is less harmful in a second impact.

Other technology firsts for the XE include an All Surface Progress Control system, which works as a low-speed cruise control function in slippery conditions. It has been developed with assistance from sister company Land Rover, with the aim of giving the rear-wheel-drive XE better traction when pulling away on low-grip surfaces up to speeds of 18mph. By controlling the throttle and brake controls without the driver having to make inputs, it delivers the ideal power through each wheel without letting them slip or slide.

The XE also has stereo sensors as standard, which scan the road ahead and which can trigger the brakes if the potential for an impact is detected. This auto-brake system can act to either reduce an impact speed or bring the XE to a standstill, depending on the time it has to react. The sensors also control the XE's lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition technology. Other standard equipment includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, semi-automated parallel and bay parking and traffic detection when reversing.

Another innovation is a colour head-up display system, which projects information such as the car's speed and sat-nav instructions on to the windscreen so the driver doesn't have to take their eyes off the road. Emphasising that such technology doesn't add unnecessary weight, Jaguar says its display unit is a third of the weight of those used by rivals.

Design and engineering breakthroughs
In addition, Jaguar stresses that the design and engineering departments working together to reach the best solutions to each others demands. As a result, company officials say, the XE structure is perfectly proportioned, with a short front overhang, longer rear overhang and – when viewed in profile – a cabin pushed towards the rear of the car, to give it a sporty, coupe-like look. It is also the most aerodynamic Jaguar ever built, with a drag coefficient of 0.26. That compares to the BMW 3 Series’ drag coefficient of 0.26.

‘Our design brief was to create an exciting and dynamic design clearly reflecting the XE's positioning as a serious driver's car,’ says design director Ian Callum, who says that he deliberately used some of the Jaguar F-type sports car's styling touches on the car to give it a sporty look. These include the taut, sculpted bonnet and the lines of the rear corners. The LED running light design, called J-blade, is also a look adapted from across the Jaguar range.

The interior also takes several design cues from the F-type, including the design of the dashboard dials and the cockpit-like area which wraps around the driver. Jaguar also says that the XE has ‘generous’ amounts of leg- and headroom in the front and back, although it has yet to give specific measurements. Other highlights include a choice of fabrics and leathers, stitching styles and wood veneers, to give the car a handcrafted look. Ambient lighting that can be switched between 10 colours will also be available.

The XE also has a new generation infotainment system – an area where Jaguar has traditionally lagged behind rivals. It is operated using a central 8.0-inch touch-screen or voice control functions. The so-called InControl system is designed to integrate with a driver’s smartphone, both to control the car functions and manage their day while on the road. InControl Remote allows Apple and Android smartphones to remotely control a range of vehicle functions, including pre-setting of the XE’s climate control system, securing the car or even starting the engine.

From inside the car, the InControl Apps setup lets users control smartphone services without touching the handset, using the vehicle’s touch-screen. The XE also has a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing devices to connect to the internet using the car’s antenna, rather than its own data connection.

The Jaguar XE is slightly longer and wider than a BMW 3 Series, but a fraction lower. Boot space is a claimed 455 litres – the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class all have 480 litres. The boot opening can also be powered, which Jaguar claims no other rival offers, while the rear seats split 40:20:40 for maximum flexibility.

Jaguar XE pricing, specs and on-sale dates
Although the Jaguar XE has been unveiled, full details of the trim and engine options, plus pricing, will not be revealed until October 4, at the Paris motor show. Order books will open on that date, with deliveries expected to begin around April 2015. We hope to test the car early in 2015.

The Jaguar XE will be available in a standard, R-Sport and S trim variants, and wheel sizes will vary from 17-20 inches. The most efficient XE will sit on special aerodynamic 17-inch wheels, while the S variant pictured here is on 20-inch wheels. Given Jaguar’s heritage and the fact it has made so much of the XE’s driver focus, a Jaguar XE RS to rival the BMW M3 is certain to go on sale in around 18 months.

Insiders hint prices will start around £27,000 and that leasing costs will be especially competitive, thanks to the work done to keep emissions down and running costs low, which helps protect residual values.

No Target Price data will be available until the car is on sale, but the brand's reputation in the UK is likely to mean that early orders are significant and discounts aren't available initially. To meet the ambitious projected sales volumes globally, however, we would expect discounts of around 5% to be available midway through 2015.

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