Jaguar XE to take the fight to the BMW 3 Series
Making the announcement at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday, the new model will go into battle against the class-dominating BMW 3 Series when it arrives in UK showrooms next year.
The XE, of which just the above image has currently been released, will sit below the larger XF saloon in the marque's line-up, and will sport an entry price of under £30,000.
Other images detailing the car's chassis hint at a short rear boot overhang and a steeply-raked rear window, suggesting a more coupe-like shape, over the traditional three-box saloon silhouette.
The front-end styling further enhances this sporty stance, with low bonnet line, and Jaguar's current grille surrounded by sharply sculpted headlight clusters.
The XE will be unique in its segment, as it is the only car to feature an aluminium monocoque construction, which has, up until now, only been showcased on the marque's C-X17 Concept SUV.
As such, Jaguar is claiming the new car will be "the most advanced, efficient and refined sports sedan in its class".
Also making their debut in the XE are Jaguar's new 'Ingenium' engines. Built at the company's plant in Wolverhampton, the range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units is claimed to be flexible enough to offer versions capable of 186mph, as well as those with CO2 emissions of under 100g/km.
The XE is expected to be offered in both rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, said: "The new Jaguar XE is every bit a modern Jaguar; more compact in size but visually striking. Customers will expect a great deal from a mid-size Jaguar - it must be practical but premium. We never forget we are designing a Jaguar and that means it must be as exciting to look at and drive as it is brilliant to run and practical to own. We believe we've done just that with the Jaguar XE."
Expectations are high for the new XE, with Jaguar having been absent from the compact executive market since the demise of the unloved X-Type saloon in 2009.
Full specification and performance details will be announced later in 2014.