Jaguar has released the first image of one of the final development mules of its sedan as the model enters the latter stages of testing ahead of its Paris motor show reveal in October. The mule, revealed on Jaguar’s Twitter feed, shows the production shape of the XE for the first time; previous mules have been of a more cut-and-shut nature and not shown the final form.
Each subsequent mule will sport a camouflage representing the mechanicals underneath the body, an early stage of the marketing process Jaguar will use to sell the car. The XE will be sold on its advanced, lightweight aluminium construction.
XE test mules will also sport a ‘FeelXE’ Twitter hashtag as part of Jaguar's plans to build a social media buzz around the car.
The sedan is aimed at the heart of the highly profitable — and expanding — global market for compact premium cars, which is currently dominated by the BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Audi A4.
A frontal shot of the new car was flashed up on a giant screen at Jaguar Land Rover’s Geneva show press conference early this year.
The image – and now the test mule – revealed that the XE will not stray far from the look of today’s Jaguars, but suggests a new design language that is modern, restrained and upmarket.
The XE is based on an all-new rear and all-wheel-drive aluminium architecture and will be powered by 2.0-litre, four-cylinder versions of the company’s new ‘Ingenium’ engine range.
The new engines, which are about to enter the pre-production phase, will be built at the new JLR engine factory. They will eventually replace the four-cylinder Ford-derived units currently used in Land Rover’s Freelander/Evoque family.
The company also hinted at the likely spread of the full XE model line-up. Jaguar said the new Ingenium engines “will be both efficient and powerful”.
This clearly suggests that Jaguar will build a super-economy version of the XE with 3-series-beating emissions or below. At the other end of the scale, a high-performance XER-S model capable of hitting 300kph (the same limited top speed as today’s 542bhp XFR-S) seems likely. This also suggests that the output of a twin-turbo version of the 2.0-litre Ingenium engine could be stretched to as much as 400bhp.
The XE will also get the option of all-wheel drive. Sales of the XE sedan are expected to start next spring.