2014 Paris - Jaguar XE makes its public debut

Ever since Tata Motors acquired it along with Land Rover, Jaguar, the iconic British luxury car-maker has been staging a strong resurgence with rising sales and fatter profits. But, it just couldn't challenge the German luxury trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the absence of an entry-level luxury offering hurting its cause. While the XF took the A6, 5-Series and E-Class head-on and the XJ challenged the likes of A8, 7-Series and S-Class, the A4, 3-Series and C-Class were having a free ride. And that might change soon. After its world premiere at a private event in London early September, Jaguar's all-new XE made its public debut at the just-concluded Paris Motor Show.

Challenging the German trio on paper is one thing, but does the XE has enough in it's arsenal to challenge the fabled Germans? Atleast as far as design and styling are concerned, it most definitely has.

The long, sculpted hood and the bold radiator grille defines the front end of the XE. Despite sharing design cues with the XF and XJ, the XE has an unique identity of its own, thanks to the menacing headlights that almost meets the grille on either sides. With the rising waistline, a sloping roofline and cab-rearward proportions, the XE's profile looks quite stylish and sporty. The airvent in the front fender is an ode to the sexy F-Type. At the rear, the integrated spoiler and the bumper diffuser spruce things up only to be undone by those large, ungainly taillights. We never thought we would say that on a Jag, but that's only because the rest of the car looks incredibly sharp.

The top-of-the-line, performance-oriented 'S' variant, the one in red in these pictures, is quite a visual masterpiece!

Looking at the pictures, the XE boasts of a cabin that looks clean and well-appointed, if a bit conservative. Apart from the rotary gear selector, the sporty three-spoke steering wheel and the squarish center console with Jaguar's new InControl infotainment system are the other attractions inside. The InControl Remote functionality even lets owners remotely connect to the car, start the engine, lock or unlock doors and adjust the climate control settings. With all the experience gained by using the shiny lightweight metal in the flagship XJ, Jaguar has extensively used aluminium in the construction of XE too, giving it a light yet strong structure. An array of active and passive safety features and a host of driver assistance systems would be part of the kit, giving the XE much-needed ammunition to go after the Germans.

Powering the XE would be the new 'Ingenium' family of engines that's engineered to deliver fuel-efficiency, refinement and performance with lesser emissions. A modified version of the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission would be coupled with these engines. The range-topping 'S' variant features the 3.0-liter V6 engine that develops 340 horsepower. Let's not forget that this engine also powers the F-Type coupe and roadster. That should make the baby Jag sedan a shattering performer. Whatever might be the engine under the hood, all the power generated would be transferred to the rear wheels though Jaguar claims that the XE's architecture is capable of incorporating 'all-wheel-drive' systems. The XE would also be the first Jaguar equipped with an electric power-assisted steering.

When it goes on sale globally next year, the XE should be taking the fight to its competitors from Germany and Japan, both in terms of sales and capabilities. That's what Jaguar would be hoping for! All we can say is there is a big cat-fight brewing that shouldn't be missed.

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