Jaguar XE debuts in London theater-like production

Jaguar XE World Premier stage play

See the Jaguar XE? No one did until the very end of the XE world premier stage play.

To introduce the 2016 Jaguar XE sedan, the British carmaker presented an almost two-hour stage production worthy of a Broadway, designed to close after for a one night stand and only in front of invited glitterati and important people.  Along with anyone who signed on to watch it live on the internet.

And the Jaguar XE? Oh, give it a few minutes at the end.

All this for an “attainable” Jaguar. We would have expected more about the car, which we suspect will be too ordinary for those in attendance. Most of them didn’t arrive in an Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series, and those will be Jaguars prime competition in this redux of the Battle of Britain.

Jaguar XE World Premier helicopter delivery

The Jaguar XE arrived at the world premiere via helicopter, like the Maybach did for its debut in New York.

At least it will be a better dogfight than the last time, when the Brits showed up with a rehash of a front-drive Ford—albeit with standard all-wheel drive—with poor quality and worse reliability. Jaguar wishes you’d forget the X-Type and move on to the XE.

The new Jaguar XE is a rehash of nothing. New from the aluminum up, the Jaguar comes with technology more advanced than the recently introduced Jaguar F-Type. The Jaguar XE is the first Jag designed around the carmaker’s all-new modular architecture and according to Jaguar, it’s the only car in its class to use an aluminum-intensive monocoque. The XE uses the high-strength 6000-series alloy as used by the F-Type; the alloy allows complex pressings to be formed in one piece, with what would once have required 1.5mm gauge sheet to  be reduced to just 1.1mm without a loss in stiffness.

The extensive use of aluminum permits a remarkably low weight. The base Jaguar XE with a four-cylinder engine comes in at 3238 lbs. Bigger engines will add more weight, as will all-wheel drive.

Jaguar XE World Premiere

It wasn’t until the very end of Jaguar XE world premiere that we saw the car…and the real Jaguar design chief Ian Callum.

The Jaguar XE will come with a range of engines, from gas and diesel fours to the twin-turbo V-6 borrowed from the Jaguar F-Type. With the six, Jaguar’s new four-door will be called XE S, and with the engine in 340 horsepower tune, it will take just 4.9 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. Top speed will be electronically-limited to 155mph.

The 2.0-liter four cylinder engines set for use in the Jaguar XE will be the first usage of Jaguar’s new “Ingenium” modular engine architecture. Jaguar expects the diesel version to be capable of 75 miles per gallon.

Jaguar XE S 2016 dash

Jaguar XE S 2016 dash

Jaguar hasn’t announced which engines will be available in which countries, though with the increased penetration of diesel engines into the North American market, it seems improbable for the diesel to not eventually come to the U.S.  The diesel’s mileage would be a significant help with Jaguar’s corporate average fuel economy, too.

A lightweight eight-speed automatic transmission will be standard and of course will feature Jaguar’s rotary gear selector. Rear-wheel drive will be standard with all-wheel drive as an option.

Jaguar XE S

Jaguar XE S

The Jaguar XE looks unquestionably a Jaguar, with the same grille and headlight configuration as the Jaguar XF and Jaguar XJ sedans. Ian Callum’s design crew has given the XE a coupe-like roofline, and a short front and long rear overhang. The shape is handsome but all the more impressive with a drag coefficient of only 0.26, once the realm of special experimental design studies, not workaday world sedans.

Of course, the XE will be anything but common. “Attainable” means different things to different people, and the best way to put it without an official price  announcement by Jaguar is that if you can attain an Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series, you can put an XE in your garage.

Even if you aren’t London glitterati.