Jaguar's new XE, the small Jag to rival the 3-series, C-class and A4, has been caught on test again in the Midlands.
Our latest spy photos afford a handy glimpse at the baby Jaguar, which will be shown to the world later in 2014. It has the potential to become a breakthrough model for Jaguar, which urgently needs to grow its sales to bolster revenues and close the gap with sister brand Land Rover, whose sales have been supercharged by popular demand for SUVs.
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Jaguar XE: the baby Jag is coming
Jag confirmed the XE project is live and the name of the car at an announcement at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Our first image shows CAR magazine's artist impression, which strips away the XE's disguise to show our predicted look.
Now more details are dribbling out of the Coventry HQ. We know that the small Jag will be based on the so-called 'iQ Al' aluminium architecture, a new platform which will also underpin the forthcoming Jaguar SUV.
Forget any Jag X-type front-wheel drive associations; this 2015 Jaguar saloon will stick with rear-wheel drive, although it will again offer four-wheel drive on higher-output models, and to satisfy markets such as Alpine countries and the US where 4wd is important for showroom appeal.
The XE's engine bay
Two-litre petrol and diesel engines will form the bedrock of the Jaguar XE range. Once the new factory in Wolverhampton is open, these will be built in the Midlands near where the car is manufactured in Solihull. Yes, both Jaguars and Land Rovers will be built on the same line, as the company seeks to leverage its aluminium expertise.
Clean, company car-spec models will be heavily promoted at launch, underlining this car's purpose; the cleanest version is tipped to produce just 99g/km of CO2, to cut motorway-munchers' tax bills.
But enthusiasts should not click to the next page now. A model provisionally dubbed XER-S is being developed, using a supercharger to boost power north of 400bhp for a 186mph top speed.
Jag XE: the background
Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralph Speth neatly sums up the key selling points of the XE: 'XE will be an all-new Jaguar, delivering an advanced aluminium structure which is a first in its segment. It will bring our customers all the benefits of aluminium: lightness, stiffness, for unbeatable handling and efficiency. The new engine and aluminium architecture complement each other: they create a car that drives, feels and looks like a true Jaguar.'
While we will have to withhold judgment on the driving impressions of the new Jaguar XE until our first drive review, we are beginning to see the look of the leaping cat's first compact exec for a generation. Are you a fan? Click 'Add your comments' and let us know.