Jaguar will get back in the fast-growing Compact Sport Sedan market next year with the launch of the all-new XE – though U.S. motorists will have to wait until 2016 to see the long-awaited successor to the old Jaguar X-Type reach showrooms.
The British maker will offer a first look at the new sedan on September 8th during what it is billing as a “star-studded” preview in London.
The new Jaguar XE will be more than just a simple addition to the Jaguar line-up – in this case targeting a huge gap where key competitors have been making some of their most significant sales gains. The new XE will bring the debut of a new modular “architecture” that will be shared with a range of other future offerings, Jaguar has suggested. The XE also will use the all-new Ingenium line of engines developed by Jaguar and its SUV partner Land Rover.
The sedan also will feature a number of new technologies designed to improve handling, such as one that Jaguar has labeled All Surface Progress Control.
“The XE is the culmination of everything the company has learned over the years,” says Chief Engineer Mike Cross. “We are on target to deliver a vehicle that dynamically outperforms our rivals.”
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The Compact Sport Sedan segment has been exploding with all-new and significantly updated entries, especially among luxury brands targeting first-time buyers, as well as empty-nesters who might want to downsize a bit. Jaguar, however, has been absent from the niche since abandoning the old X-Type a few years back – something that has had a severe impact on its global sales numbers.
The maker is hoping it can ride on the success of other recent offerings, particularly the F-Type Coupe and Convertible, to build momentum for the upcoming XE launch.
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Jaguar offered a hint of what’s to come with the debut of the C-X17 concept vehicle at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. But, in a move meant to underscore the flexibility of the maker’s new compact aluminum-intensive architecture, Jaguar opted to reveal a crossover-utility vehicle prototype, rather than the XE sedan. The CUV may follow, sources indicate, as one of several other variants sharing the new platform.
This past March, Jaguar revealed a teaser image of the new XE revealing that key Jaguar styling cues, such as the wide-oval grille, will be carried over to the XE, albeit with a few key updates. The image showed new L-shaped accent lamps — but it remains to be seen whether the headlamps will opt for Xenon, LED or some other technology.
The XE will be powered by the new Ingenium powertrain family, which will be produced at a new plant in the U.K., and it will be shared by both Jaguar and its sibling brand Land Rover. The turbocharged engines will be modular in design, allowing a wide flexibility of offerings off the same architecture. Significantly, the Ingenium engines will be used in both in-line and transverse vehicle configurations, and in both rear- and all-wheel-drive models.
“Being configurable and flexible are the two key strands of Ingenium’s DNA because we have future-proofed our new engines from the outset,” Ron Lee, the company’s director of Powertrain Engineering, said in a statement earlier this month.
In a new release, Jaguar offers a hint of some of the XE’s new technical details. The compact luxury sedan will, for one thing, use an Integral Link rear suspension to improve stiffness, response and handling without, the maker says, sacrificing ride comfort. The front double-wishbone suspension, it adds, has been modeled after the design in use on the F-Type.
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The maker also claims that the new Electric Power Assisted Steering, or EPAS, on the XE will deliver “benefits includ(ing) excellent steering feel, variable steering damping, ease of low-speed maneuvering and the ability to adapt to Jaguar Drive Control settings. EPAS also enables a range of Driver Aid features.”
That list includes the new All Surface Progress Control, a high-tech blend of traction control and other road-gripping technologies intended to give the Jaguar XE a firm grip on even the slickest pavement.
Jaguar isn’t providing specific details yet about the actual roll-out of the new XE, only suggesting it “will go on sale in 2015 in Europe, and 2016 in North America.” A spokesman clarified that this will be the 2016 calendar-year, and that likely means the first model will carry a 2017 model-year designation.
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