This is the long-awaited Jaguar small saloon car, confirmed to be called XE. We’ve spied Jaguar testing elements of the car in hacked-about XF test mules, but that’s all over now.
This is the actual car, and CAR is first to clap eyes on it. Jaguar is testing the XE on British roads – and these are the first pictures.
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Jaguar XE – the styling
It’s clear the XE is no shrunken XF. The compact front overhang and chopped backside give the baby Jag an agile, dynamic look in profile. The slim LED headlights and grille are low-set for a snouty feline face, but the bonnet actually rises quite high – blame pedestrian impact legislation for that feature.
Jaguar has disguised the car’s roofline with a fake rear section to make its new baby look boxier than it really is. Don’t be fooled by the Skoda Superb rear pillar, however. A closer look at that steeply raked rear screen reveals the true nature of that seductive roofline, tailing off to a pert bootlid with a small upturned lip at its edge.
Taillights wrap around into the sides of the car, as per the XF saloon and F-type sports car. The bold ‘shelf’ down the car’s flanks hides a more subtle styling line that fires down the side of the car from a front wing vent, again following F-type cues.
So it should be a looker, the baby Jag?
Indeed – it’s based on the same ‘iQ Al’ aluminium platform as Jaguar’s forthcoming 4x4, previewed by the C-X17 SUV concept shown at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show (pictured, right). The well-received design will donate many cues to the X760, including the muscular bonnet, squared-off grille, and big alloys – an Ian Callum classic formula.
Jaguar says it hasn’t pursued a BMW 4-series Gran Coupe/Audi A5 Sportback template for the XE – a true four-door ‘coupe’ could arrive later instead, along with a drop-top XE cabriolet.
What else do we know about the Jaguar X760?
The range will stretch from a four-cylinder turbodiesel good for 99g/km to a supercharged 550bhp V8 ‘R’ model that’s capable of 186mph. Using aluminium rather than steel for the body saves Jaguar around 100kg, allowing the British-built engines from Jaguar’s new £500m Wolverhampton facility to offer optimum frugality and performance.
The entry-level car is purported to cost less than £30,000 – a BMW 320d saloon makes the cut at £28,410.
And no, it won’t be called X-type: the badge of the folly from last decade conjures up too many negative connotations. With Jaguar looking to build on its 19 per cent sales rise in 2013, which saw it sell 425,000 cars, a fresh start with a new name is needed.
With a sumptuous XJ-inspired cabin, refreshing styling and massive investment in chassis and powertrain tech, the new baby Jag will enter the small sports saloon party with a bang in late 2014. Over to you, Jaguar…