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The all-new Jaguar XE will go on sale from September 1, priced from $60,400 plus on-road costs — $1100 less than its BMW 320i nemesis.

Jaguar’s mid-sized sedan — naturally, also pitched as the British answer to the market-topping Mercedes-Benz C-Class (priced from $60,900) — is a vital conquest car for the brand as it seeks to carve out a bigger share of Australia’s booming luxury market. These German rivals, admit Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director Matthew Wiesner, are “packed with extraordinary value”.

The XE will be far and away Jaguar’s top-selling car here ahead of the larger XF, until the all-new F-Pace medium SUV arrives in the middle of 2016.  

Headline XE items include the XE’s 75-per cent aluminium monocoque construction and its double wishbone/integral link suspension claimed to give the rear-drive executive car handling as dynamic and sharp as any rival in the class.

Jaguar XE23

The XE is the smallest, lightest and stiffest Jaguar sedan — kerb weight starts at 1530kg, still 45kg heavier than the 320i’s claim — and the most aerodynamic Jaguar in its history, with a Cd of 0.26. It is also the first Jaguar sedan with electric-assisted power steering.

Manufacturing of the aluminium-intensive XE occurs at Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull (UK) plant in an all-new facility — part of a £1.5bn investment that will create 1700 UK jobs.

From launch, the baby Jaguar will be available in four specification levels, called Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S.

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Even entry cars get features such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic parking assist, autonomous low-speed braking, 10-way electric full-leather seats, an eight-inch touchscreen (with Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system) and a 380W Meridian sound system with 11 speakers and a subwoofer.

There will be a total of four engine choices for now (the new Ingenium diesel, and three existing petrols) kicking off with the 147kW/280Nm 20t with its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that sends the XE in a respectable 7.7 seconds.

Also featuring is the 25t with an uprated 2.0 turbo with 177kW/340Nm, which punts the XE from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.8sec.

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The 132kW/430Nm Ingenium 20d variant uses the new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that shoots the XE from 0-100km/h in 7.8s. Jaguar claims an exceptionally low combined fuel consumption reading of 4.2 litres per 100km.

In about two years, new Ingenium turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engines will emerge as part of an update, as well as (potentially) a straight-six. At the other end of the spectrum, expect to see down the track a Jaguar XE-R to rival the BMW M3, potentially using the F-Type’s force-fed V8 engine.

All three of these four-pot engines are available in the entry Prestige specification, priced from $60,400 for the 20t, $62,800 for the 20d and $64,900 for the 25t — the latter of which appears to represent excellent value for the amount of power you get (a 180kW BMW 328i costs $70,400, for instance).

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You can also get all three in sportier R-Sport form, commanding a $4000 premium across the board over the Prestige. See below for a full list of the extra equipment you get for that. The Portfolio is only available with the 25t engine, for an extra $1500 over the R-Sport version.

Topping the engine range is the 250kW/450Nm 3.0-litre supercharged V6 option in the XE S, which can dash from 0-100km/h in 5.1sec. This version is a significant $34,000 step up over the Portfolio, at $104,200 (the 225kW/400Nm BMW 335i costs 93,430).

All variants come with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles as standard, and all are rear-wheel drive. AWD versions are expected, though it’s unclear if Australia would get them at this stage. Neither coupe or wagon versions are presently on the cards, either, with the brand focusing on its core. 

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Naturally, there’s also a wide range of options to be had, with various wheel styles and sizes, trim options and technology additions such as a heads-up display linked to a solar-attenuating windscreen ($1770). Digital radio is a $540 option, which seems high.

You can also get adaptive cruise control with Forward Alert for $1750, a powered boot lid for $850, panoramic sunroof for $1800, heated front and rear seats for $1240 an a heated steering wheel for $310 — among many options.

Also available for $1850 (standard on the XE S) is Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics system that modifies the response to conditions and your driving style by analysing acceleration and deceleration, cornering, throttle and brake pedal activity.

The new XE is a massively important model for Jaguar, which is down 16.6 per cent this year despite the overall prestige market growing. It headlines a significant range turnover that includes a facelifted XJ coming at year’s end, the all-new (and more upmarket) XF around March 2016 and the F-Pace around July next year.

Read and watch our Jaguar XE review from the recent international launch here

Jaguar XE18

Jaguar XE Australian pricing (plus on-road costs):

Prestige

20t $60,400

20d $62,800

25t $64,900

R-Sport

20t $64,400

20d $66,800

25t $68,900

Portfolio 25t

$70,400

S V6

$104,200

Jaguar XE Australian specifications:

Prestige

8-speed automatic transmission with paddleshifters

Jaguar All Surface Progress Control with torque vectoring

Tyre pressure monitoring system

18-inch ‘Arm’ six spoke alloy wheels

Front and rear parking sensors with rear camera

Automatic park assist with parallel and bay parking and parking exit

Blind spot monitor with reverse traffic detection and closing vehicle sensing

Lane departure warning with autonomous emergency braking

Electric power folding mirrors with auto-dimming and reverse auto-dipping

Keyless start and keyless entry

Bi-function HID Xenon automatic headlamps

8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and voice control

380W Meridian sound system with 11 speakers and subwoofer

Taurus leather seats with 10-way electric adjustment plus four-way electric lumbar adjustment

Memory control for exterior mirrors, steering column and driver front seat

Dual-zone climate control with air quality sensor

40:20:40 split fold rear seat

R-Sport

In addition to Prestige standard specification

Sports seats in Luxtec with Technical mesh inserts

18-inch ‘Star’ five spoke alloy wheels

Sports suspension

R-Sport body kit includes R-Sport front bumper, body coloured side sills and bootlid spoiler, gloss black window surrounds

R-Sport branding on steering wheel, sill plates and side power vents

Portfolio

In addition to Prestige standard specification

18-inch ‘Matrix’ seven-twin spoke alloy wheels

Soft-grain Windsor leather seats with Herringbone perforation and tonal stitching

Leatherette wrapped instrument panel

Gloss figured ebony veneer

Rear window electric sunblind

S

In addition to Prestige standard specification

Sports seats Taurus leather with suede cloth inserts

Adaptive Dynamics with sports suspension

19-inch ‘Venom’ five-twin spoke allow wheels with red brake calipers

‘S’ bodykit includes ‘S’ front bumper, body coloured and gloss black side sills, gloss black rear valance and window surrounds

Sports leatherette wrapped instrument panel

‘S’ branding on steering wheel, sill plates

Bright finish pedal kit, black headlining and tailpipe finishers




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