Jaguar has officially lifted the curtain on the long-awaited XE saloon.
Designed as a very British response to rival the German manufacturers who currently dominate the segment, the XE is arguably the most important Jaguar model built for decades.
Only the top of the range XE S model was revealed at the star-studded launch event last night in London, but prices for the entry-level XE are expected to start from £27,000.
Following its London debut, the full XE range will be unmasked at the Paris Motor Show next month and will go on sale shortly after, with the first deliveries due early next year.
With a prominent grille, large front air intakes and LED headlights, the XE S model looks like a smaller and sleeker version of the XF.
Chrome side vents and a discreet rear spoiler also feature, along with twin exhaust pipes and a rear exterior design which Jaguar says was partly inspired by the F-Type coupe.
The interior cockpit is centred around the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment console, which is smartphone-compatible and can access a range of special Jaguar InControl apps.
From the pictures released, it seems as though upholstery options on the XE S model will include black and red leather and alcantara-trimmed seats.
Other features inside the XE include a range of safety equipment such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking. There is also a jetfighter-inspired laser heads-up display which projects driver data straight onto the windscreen.
Built on a brand new platform, the XE’s aluminium-intensive monocoque makes it the lightest and stiffest Jaguar saloon to date, and the marque has even gone so far as to claim that the XE will be “the best driver’s car in the segment”.
Dr Mark White, Jaguar’s chief technical specialist, said: “The XE is as strong and light as it could possibly be thanks to exhaustive analysis and by bringing the latest engineering techniques to bear on its design.”
Power will come courtesy of Jaguar’s new range of uber-frugal aluminium Ingenium engines, available in petrol and diesel formats.
Jaguar says that the first units to come off the production line will be 2.0-litre four-pot diesels, the 161bhp version of which will reportedly have CO2 emissions from as low as 99g/km.
As a result, the XE will be the most fuel-efficient Jaguar car built to date.
The XE S model, meanwhile, will be powered by the same 3.0-litre V6 that lurks under the bonnet of the F-Type.
Producing 335bhp and 450Nm, the V6 will take the XE S to 60mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds, before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.
Further details for the whole XE range will be unveiled in October at the Paris Motor Show.