Jaguar's new XE saloon to create a real stir as it takes on German giant rivals
Published 03/09/2014 | 02:30
I'VE seen the new Jaguar XE in the flesh and I think it will create a stir.
The much-vaunted rival for the BMW 3-series will be a rival for the 3-Series - and others in that segment - believe me.
They are claiming 75mpg and the brand new 2-litre tubodiesel Ingenium engine will have emissions of just 99g/km (€180 road tax).
The XE S version of the car will be formally unveiled on Monday next to great fanfare in London.
The full XE range will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show on October 2.
Monday's Earls Court show will be narrated by actor John Hannah.
And there will be special performances from a variety of artists including Emeli Sandé, The Kaiser Chiefs and Eliza Doolittle.
But the real action, long term, will be at the factory where it is going to be built.
And I was among those who visited Solihull on Monday to see the process and the car. It was like going to robot heaven (or hell).
The level of automation is extraordinary and the detail mind boggling.
Factory trips are nearly always to be avoided but this was, I believe, a true glimpse into the future.
It most certainly would have been unthinkable back in the eighties.
And believe it or not it is that long since a car - a car not a SUV mind you - was built at Land Rover's Solihull plant.
Those made back then were Triumph sports cars and Rovers.
Yes, great old British names that went down with the industry.
In a way the XE is an example of how things can turn around in an industry with proper (and massive) investment.
The XE's body engineering comes from the marque's fifth-generation bonded and riveted aluminium technology. It will also have a newly developed high-strength aluminium alloy.
It has a high proportion of recycled aluminium. Indeed Jaguar plans to use 75pc recycled aluminium in car by 2020.
The XE is the first vehicle to get Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium family of 4cyl diesel and petrol engines. They will be built in a new plant in Wolverhampton, in the English midlands. There's a sense of something happening.