Jaguar Australia has hosted the local launch of possibly its most important model of recent times, the XE. Replacing the largely unloved X-Type and S-Type range, the aluminuim chassised, rear wheel driven, saloon will feature ground breaking levels of technology as the classic British brand prepares to take on, head on, its German based rivals.
In its class, the XE will be the only vehicle to use aluminuim, predominantly, in its monocoque chassis design, with large, single stamped, panels offering increased torsional stiffness and reducing weight simultaneously. This engineering puts the XE into first place as the lightest and stiffest Jaguar released, along with being the slipperiest. Jaguar quotes a drag coefficient of just 0.26 cD.
Even the suspension features aluminuim construction; the toe links and upper arms are forged aluminuim with the knuckles and lower control arms being hollow in construction. Yes, the XE eschews the conventional MacPherson strut setup, going to a double wishbone configuration. At the rear, Jaguar looked at a multilink setup, but chose instead a system called Integral Link. Jaguar has also chosen electronically assisted steering for the XE, with the computer controlled system even adjusting for ambient temperature!
The cars will all hover around the near 4.7 m mark for length, 1416 mm in height, 1850 mm width (excluding mirrors), sit on a 2835 mm wheelbase and almost identical track at 1602/1603 mm front and rear. Boot space, as a result, is rated at 450 L. Underneath, the XE gets bigger brakes discs, at 350 mm and 325 mm front and rear.
There’s four models in the range: Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S. Each will be featuring individual design highlights; the R-Sport, for example will feature unique technical mesh fabric inserts inside and a specific exterior body styling.Powertrain wise, there will be Jaguar’s own, fully in-house developed, Ingenium range of alloy blocked diesel and petrol engines in four cylinder configuration. To kick off,the two litre diesel will offer a stupendous 430 Nm of torque and economy of 4.2L per 100 kilometres with all cars getting a 63 lire tank. Jaguar will also offer two specification levesl for a petrol engine: both will be of 2.0L and direct injection, providing a choice of 147kW/280Nm and 177kW/340Nm. Fully assembled, they’ll weigh just 138 kilograms.There will be also be the fire breathing, supercharged, 3.0L V6, with 250 kW and 450 Nm of torque, as found in the F-Type. Jaguar will make shifting gears easy, with all versions getting one transmission, a weight optimised eight speed auto. Naturally, it’s computer linked and features adaptive programming. Top speeds vary from 250 kmh for the 3.0L V6 and 177 kW four down to 228 kmh for the diesel.Part of Jaguar’s history is about being technologically advanced, showing off either classic designs or showcasing the engineering. In the XE, Jaguar debuts a world first for the brand: All Surface Progress Control. It’s a unique mix of cruise control and traction control, all for speeds between 3 and 30 kilometres per hour. Surfaces will include wet grass or snowy driveways; the driver sets the speed and the system does the rest.
Lasers feature heavily in science fiction; Jaguar has utilised laser technology for an industry first Head Up Display. Apart from the projector being smaller and lighter than traditional HUD units, it also provides brighter, sharper imaging, with a range of information set to “float” two metres in front of the driver and additionally allows drivers that wear polarising glasses to see the image.
There’s also other driver awareness technologies such as Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Proximity Cameras (as part of the Advanced Parking Assist package).
Soundwise, there’s a premium audio system packing 380W from Meridian, however it’s an odd choice to offer a DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcast) tuner as an option, given a Mondeo Titanium or Toyota Camry has it…Pricing wise, the Prestige starts at $60400 for the entry level petrol, $62800 for the diesel and $64900 for the upper level petrol. The XE Portfolio comes with one engine, the 177 kW petrol and will see $70400 next to its name. Then, the R-Sport will have $64400, $66800 and $68900 following the same structure as the Prestige. Finally, the supercharged S at $104200 rounds out the range, with all figures being Jaguar’s Recommended Retail price.The XE range is due to go on sale in the final quarter of 2015. Contact your Jaguar dealer for a test drive.