It's been five years since Jaguar had a ‘compact' executive car in its range and, in the time that has passed since the X-Type was retired, the companies that Jaguar considers its closest competitors -- Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- have been busy.
So, the XE, which is going to get a star-studded unveiling on September 8, has a lot of ground to make up very quickly if it is to catch up with the A4, 3-Series and C-Class -- three of the best cars currently available at any price in terms of comfort, reliability, looks, performance and technology.
Luckily enough, Jaguar loves a challenge, and if the hype surrounding the car lives up to the reality, the XE is going to offer incredible performance and handling, class-leading fuel efficiency, and will be bang up to date in terms of infotainment, connectivity and driver technology.
In terms of the range-topping performance-focused model, Jaguar isn't going to reveal any statistics (except its 186mph (300km/h) top speed) until it has been officially unveiled at an event in London that will feature, among others, singer Emeli Sandé and fashion designer Stella McCartney.
However, ahead of the September 8 reveal, it has already claimed that its efficiency-focused diesel engines will set a new benchmark in the sector -- 75mpg (3.8l per 100km) and sub 100g of CO2/km in terms of emissions.
Part of this frugalness will be down to the use of clever four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines but much of the car's economy and its handling in sportier iterations will be down to its aluminum construction.
"The Jaguar XE body uses over 75 percent aluminum content, which far exceeds any other car in its class. This gives us a body structure with unrivalled low weight: it's light but also immensely strong with extremely high levels of torsional stiffness. We've made sure our aluminum-intensive body structure exceeds all global safety standards without compromising on vehicle design or refinement," said Dr Mark White, Jaguar's Chief Technical Specialist.
After the London reveal, the car will be heading over to France for the Paris Motor Show in October. However, the car isn't expected to go on sale until early 2015.