In recent years, Jaguar and Land Rover have unleashed the strongest overall collection of vehicles in either brand's history. Now Jaguar is about to re-enter one of the toughest segments in all of auto-dom, the entry-level sport sedan segment. The 2016 Jaguar XE is the weapon they have chosen as they join the war on the BMW 3-Series. This is it.
The XE is being unveiled right now at a special live event in London, a month before its official debut at the Paris Motor Show.
While Jaguar has said they aren't interested in chasing a 3-Series type of volume with the XE, make no mistake that it is still a critical car for the storied British brand. They're hoping this sedan will lure in a wider range of buyers than they currently have, including more women and younger customers.
As we've reported before, the XE will make liberal use of aluminum to keep weight down and efficiency up. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, all-wheel drive will be optional, and power will come from a range of 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines. The car is also expected to get the fantastic 3.0-liter supercharged V6 from the F-Type, and maybe also a V8 if they feel like going nuts.
The last time Jaguar tried a car in the compact executive class, it didn't go so well because that car was the Ford Mondeo-derived Jaguar X-Type, a product that wasn't terribly sporting, pretty or reliable. But Jaguar is a different company these days, and the XE will almost certainly be better than their last effort.
If the XE is anything like the other news cars we've seen from Jag and Land Rover lately, it will be a force to be reckoned with. I'll be watching this one very closely.