All-new 'baby' Jaguar takes the fight to the Germans and also previews the company's future tech.
Photos: Eric Chen
The compact executive sedan segment is one of the most lucrative markets in the industry, thanks to the cachet of a luxury car badge but with family car running costs. Small wonder then, that luxury brands have been consistently in the top 5 best sellers lists in Singapore in recent years.
The last time this part of the market saw a British entrant was back in 2009, with the Jaguar X-Type. It was a competent enough performer, but the styling was decidedly, shall we say, old-school. Certainly not a description you could make about Jaguar's newest attempt, the XE.
Where the X-Type looked to the past for the inspiration of its styling, the XE instead looks towards the future. The XE marks the debut of Jaguar's all new modular vehicle architecture that will underpin most of its upcoming models, and is the first Jaguar to be built at the Land Rover factory in Solihull, UK. Why there? Simple: the XE's chassis is made mostly from aluminium – 75%, the most in its class. At the same time, the Solihull plant is being turned into a specialist aluminium factory - "Europe's largesst aluminium body shop" according to Jaguar Land Rover.
Apart from the car's structure, the XE also premiers a new family of aluminium-built petrol and diesel engines, dubbed Ingenium. At the moment, the only Ingenium engine coming to Singapore is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with 180 hp and 430 Nm of torque, good for a fuel economy figure of 4.2 L/100km. On the petrol front, the XE range launches with the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine found in the XF and XJ, with 200 hp/280 Nm, while the 340 hp supercharged 3.0-litre V6 from the F-Type will be available with the XE S. All models send their power to the wheels via the familiar 8-speed automatic transmission by ZF.
As befitting of a luxury brand, the XE comes with several very cool features. The InControl infotainment system allows drivers to hook up their Android or Apple smartphones to the car and control certain apps via the 8-inch touchscreen. This screen also comes equipped with dual-view technology – first seen in the XJ – that shows important vehicle information to the driver, while at the simultaneously allowing front passengers to enjoy in-car entertainment options such as watching a movie. The XE also debuts a system called All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), developed with Land Rover's years of off-road experience. ASPC is basically a low-speed cruise control that can not only help drivers automatically get moving in super low-grip situations (such as snow and ice), but also maintain a steady, constant speed without spinning the wheels or skidding.
With a launch price of S$199,999, the XE is pegged very competitively against its key German rivals. In addition to a complimentary 5 year/80,000km servicing package, Jaguar is also offering customers a never-before heard exchange policy: Should they not be satisfied with their XE for any reason at all, they can trade in their car for any other Jaguar or Land Rover model within 7 days. So confident is Jaguar of the new XE in fact, that customers will also have the opportunity to test drive the XE back-to-back against key rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Keep an eye out on Burnpavement for our review of this compact sports sedan!