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When Jaguar launched the original X-Type back in 2001, industry punters denounced it as just a tarted-up Ford Mondeo wearing 'shrunken' Jaguar XJ clothing. Fact is, even though it wasn't a bad drive (handling benefited from Ford's underpinnings), it just missed the mark in an segment dominated by BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Grille

Fast forward to 2014, and the Coventry luxury carmaker thinks it has the goods to re-enter the segment, but does it? We take an illustrated preview prior to its full official reveal.

After seeing the teaser image at the Geneva Motor Show, it was of little doubt that Jag would stray from its current design formula. However, upon analyzing countless spy photographs, it appears they've shrunken the XF into mid-size format.

Oh dear, you might say? - it's actually not a bad thing. Sure, it doesn't have the uniqueness of the larger XJ saloon, but it does successfully differentiate in the details.

For example, the dominant XJ-like grille is wider, more upright than the XF's, and those front fenders now have upward creases to help emphasize an aggressive front end. Its hood sculpting is nothing radical, but the trailing edge now intersects lower on the A-pillars for a 'cleaner' look.

The side profile will also be familiar for Jaguarphiles - the coupe-like silhouette appears a fraction more upright than its larger brother. Svelte C-pillars feature chrome-work and a more conventional Hofmeister Kink - similar to that on BMW's 5-Series. In comparison, the XF's kink is sleeker in radius, curving down and forwards onto the rear window sills.

Atmosphere inside the cabin is expected to be of familiar Jaguar ilk, yet more contemporary in design. Think less XF in this area, but rather a mix of F-type and XJ. Encompassing the interior will be Jaguar's all-new aluminium framework, which will positively assist in weight reduction targets, improved handling, performance and fuel economy.

In terms of powertrains, the XE is expected to feature various options. From petrol and diesel 2.0-litre four's, a V6, and potentially an ballistic, claws-out supercharged six or V8 'XE-R' version.

Opponent-wise, going back into compact executive sedan territory will be a tough battle for the British marque; fierce competition will come from Mercedes-Benz's new C-Class, BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS and Audi's A4. Expect an official reveal later this year and an on-sale date of 2015.

Overall it has all the ingredients to be a fantastic offering, but has Jaguar followed the opposition's 'same sausage, different size' philosophy too soon? We will see. However until then, what do you think of Coventry's new cat?

Tell us your positive thoughts or criticisms in the comments below.

Source: CarScoops


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