In a gala coming out party at Earl's Court in London, the wraps came off of the all-new 2016 Jaguar XE. Showcased in its range-topping XE S guise, this compact luxury sport sedan will be on display in Paris next month and arrive here in early 2016. Deftly combining style, technology and dynamic character, Jaguar's newest player has big time aspirations to aggressively challenge the status quo as it takes on key rivals like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.  

Clean, lean and mean

Visually, the new Jaguar XE puts its own aggressive spin on a number of the automaker's classic - and contemporary -- cues while ensuring that the exterior's bold interaction of edges and contours yielded a sleek final product that boasts an exemplary 0.26 coefficient of drag. Director of Design, Ian Callum, notes the XE's cab-rearward proportions, short overhangs and tight overall packaging impart a feeling of movement that appropriately underscore its character as a true driver's car. The S variant ratchets that intensity up an additional notch with things like larger air intakes, unique side sills, a rear spoiler and an optional 20-inch wheel/tire package. 

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As we've learned from Jaguar's protracted teaser campaign for its new baby, the aluminum-intensive XE introduces an all-new JLR modular platform architecture that also will serve to underpin a number of future Jaguar and Land Rover models. Light, strong and extremely rigid, Jag's Chief Technical Specialist Mark White says it's "absolutely at the cutting edge of what is achievable today," and provides an ideal foundation for an equally advanced suspension system. The setup teams F-Type-derived double wishbones up front with a unique integral multilink rear setup and features precise directional control courtesy of a new generation of Jaguar Electric Power Assisted Steering. The combination is tuned to deliver outstanding responsiveness while maintaining an exceptionally smooth and controlled ride. 

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To further sweeten the mix, the new Jaguar XE also will offer numerous driver-assist systems starting with standard All Surface Progress Control that acts like a traction-optimizing low-speed cruise control on slick surfaces. Other available tech touches include adaptive cruise control, closing-vehicle sensing, blind spot monitoring, semi-automated parallel/perpendicular parking and reverse traffic detection as well as a sophisticated heads-up display system. 

Powering up for tomorrow 

Standard motivation for the Jaguar XE will come from a new family of light and highly efficient 2.0-liter/4-cylinder Ingenium gasoline and diesel engines that also will be used in numerous other future JLR offerings. The hot XE S will pack the firm's well-proven 3.0-liter supercharged V6 under its hood. Developing 340 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque as it does in the Jaguar XF, it should send the 3,249-lb XE from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to an electronically limited top end of 155 mph. Regardless of engine, power will be shipped to the XE's rear wheels via a new lightweight version of the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission used in other Jaguar models. At some point, the XE also will be offered with an optional all-wheel drive system. 

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The cabin of the new XE carries on in typical Jaguar tradition mixing fine-grain leather with Piano Black, textured aluminum and real wood veneer trims while providing what we're assured is "generous amounts of head and legroom" for both front and rear passengers. While final U.S. specs and fitment lists are still pending, the XE also will offer the all-new Jaguar InControl infotainment system with an 8.0-inch center touchscreen as well as a selection of downloadable apps, SD-card based navigation, Bluetooth/USB and Wi-Fi hotspot/Internet connectivity. Like its siblings, the new XE's option roster also will feature a premium Meridian audio system.

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