The men behind the Jaguar XE are working on a host of technical upgrades to improve its performance and keep its appeal strong throughout its lifecycle.
Jaguar XE program director Nick Miller confirmed the introduction of an all-wheel-drive version would be among the first of these updates, with four-wheel grip crucial in some European markets and the north-eastern states of the US.
Miller denied that there was a hold up in the roll out of AWD for XE, insisting that it was also intended to be part of the first wave of technical enhancements.
“Developing a whole new architecture, there’s a lot of work involved in that,” he said.
“Obviously we want to introduce it in stages so we can ensure that it gets introduced with all the quality standards met, and it was just in our second phase of technology as part of the architecture.
“The biggest part of the segment is the rear-wheel-drive segment so we prioritised that over the all-wheel drive. It’ll be an important element of the car going forward.”
Miller said the company was also considering AWD for future performance derivatives of the XE.
“We’re still looking at the potentials in terms of performance variants, all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive for the future – it has pros and cons for both.
“It depends what kind of car you want to do because certainly all-wheel drive brings its benefits in terms of traction but it brings weight as well, so it’s that balance of what you want to achieve with the actual individual product that you want to do.”
Miller said he believes an AWD XE sports car could still retain the vehicle character that the brand places so much emphasis on.
Jaguar XE vehicle engineering manager Jon Darlington said an AWD performance model was “definitely something we would think about in the future”.
“You come to a point where you struggle to manage traction [with rear-wheel drive], so you can chuck more power at it but ultimately the car won’t be that much quicker, and how usable that is,” Darlington said.
“I would not say we’re doing it but I would also not rule it out because you understand the benefits you get with traction, your cornering speeds, etc.
“It’s been proven on a number of occasions… Racecar technology as well, you look at all the hybrid systems out there in endurance racing, the majority of the cars that are doing well are all-wheel drive.
“It’s not something that we have spent a lot of time thinking about, but from a fundamental physics point of view I think I makes sense. We’d have to think about how to position it. It’s an interesting idea.”
Miller confirmed the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 found in the brand’s ‘R’ cars does fit into the XE’s architecture, opening the door for a hardcore XE R or XE R-S rival for the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 down the track.
He also confirmed that a 3.0-litre inline-six engine scaled up the from the upcoming 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine – expected within 18 months – would theoretically fit inside the XE’s engine bay if the brand decided to take inspiration from its past and introduce a straight six-cylinder engine.
From launch, the Jaguar XE range will be headlined by the 250kW/450Nm supercharged 3.0-litre V6 from the entry-level F-Type, though Jaguar XE powertrain manager Daniel Buckley told CarAdvice there was no reason why the more powerful 280kW/460Nm tune from the F-Type V6 S couldn’t also find its way into the compact sedan.
Buckley said the versatility and modularity of the Ingenium engine family meant almost everything was on the table, including twin-turbocharging, turbocharging and supercharging together, electric supercharging, and hybrid technology.
“We’ve looked at hybrid technology in the future, making sure we protect for that, and clearly twin boosting is another option there, so yes, the architecture and the engine are capable of that.
“For the petrol engine of the future [twin-charging] is something that we’re looking at. There are various different options to go with down that route.
“E-boost is becoming very interesting and is something we’re looking at – electric boosting to top up a stronger turbocharger. It’s a technology we’re actively pursuing,” he said, confirming it held potential for both petrol and diesel engines.
Miller said updates were likely to be rolled out with the introduction of new model year vehicles, which Jaguar typically launches in the latter stages of each year.