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The Jaguar XE: Can the Audi A4 hold the Big Cat off?

The upcoming Jaguar XE is Jag’s latest attempt at the small executive sedan market. The British brand’s previous attempt was the loathsome X-Type, which was pitiful in nearly every way. However, this new XE doesn’t seem to be pitiful at all. In fact, the Germans, who normally dominate the segment, should be very worried.

We’ve already read quite a bit about the Jaguar XE and have even seen some reviews on it. However, those have been the European models. Jaguar has recently released the information on the US models and it looks scarily good.

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For the American market, the Jaguar XE will bring a couple of tricks up its sleeves. Firstly, its price will undercut nearly everything in the segment. The entry-level version of the entry-level Jag will come with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will develop 240 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an as-standard ZF eight-speed automatic. That’s more torque than the current BMW 328i and more power the current Audi A4 (211, though the upcoming A4 should come with a 252 hp 2.0 TFSI engine). But this entry-level Jaguar XE 25t will cost just $34,900, which is less than the BMW 328i ($38,350)and the current Audi A4 ($35,900). But things get worse for Audi, as the entry-level A4 comes front-wheel drive and  a CVT.

Jaguar will also offer its Ingenium 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine for the first time in America, in the XE 20d. This engine makes 180 hp but 331 lb-ft of torque and should be an excellent performance/economy engine. Audi doesn’t currently offer a diesel engine in the A4, so the XE will have a leg up over it.

The top-dog Jaguar XE 35t will come with the Jaguar F-Type’s 3.0 liter supercharged V6 engine that develops 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than the current Audi S4 and the XE 35t will a lot cost less, at $41,700 compared to the S4’s $49,200.

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All Jaguar XEs will be available with Jaguar’s suite of safety and technology options, such as ASPC (All-Surface Progress Control), which works as a sort of low-speed cruise control. It’s been developed with the help of Land Rover and can control the powertrain and braking at speeds from 2-19 mph and is designed to deliver optimum traction in a variety of conditions. All XEs will be available with Jaguar’s latest InControl Touch infotainment system and a 380 watt 11-speaker sound system. The XE will also have a suite of optional extras, including a Head-Up Display, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist and even Apple Watch compatibility.

The Jaguar XE has already been deemed the most exciting car in the segment by many enthusiasts and journalists alike. With this new Jag being priced lower than Audi’s A4, while having more standard equipment and more power and performance, combined with the Audi A4’s somewhat boring reputation and the Jaguar XE looks to leapfrog Audi’s offering in the segment. We’ll see when both the XE and the B9 Audi A4 are on the market here in the US, but on paper, things don’t look good for the A4.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.