2016 Jaguar XE Is A Flippin’ Big Wildcat To Yell At German Stereotypes

Jaguar XE. This is indeed the most daring Jaguar ever made in the brand’s history. Not necessarily because of the standards or excellence of the car in itself, but just because of the segment it is plonked at – the entry-level Luxury/ Sports Sedan – the toughest in terms of volume and the most stereotyped in India and globally too.

Even at the time (a couple of years back) when the whole passenger car industry, including the mass hatchback segment, was facing a severe downturn, it was this segment that showed positive growth. And that’s terrain which the new baby Jaguar, just unveiled globally at the on-going 2014 Paris Motor Show, is trying to conquer.

Yes, by ‘most stereotyped’ segment, I meant that German stronghold, bid by the “German Big 3”– Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. And that’s why even the closest alternatives like Skoda Superb, VW Passat or Toyota Camry doesn’t signify much in the segment. Let me make it clear, in actuality, there is nothing called genuine “German” or “British”
cars. And the so called “German Reliability” is an absolute bullshit! It
is more of a myth than a maxim. We are in an era of globalised
production and markets, and reliability is no more unique to a
particular league of brands or the nation they are associated with. It
is not that simple and concrete as we imagine. That’s why I say this as a
mere stereotype, worth debunking. However, I do call the trio “Big 3” as ‘Germans’ because that’s how people and industry want them to be grouped – all are still under some kind of German ownership, and are legendarily called as Germans.

Look at the way how we have ingrained stereotypes when it comes to this segment of German cars. The Mercedes Benz is by tradition seen as “royal”, with its 3-pointed insignia standing majestically on its nose, and so the C Class is for those who want to flaunt themselves amid crowd, usually middle-aged, chauffeur driven. The Audi A4 is for those who want ultra-modern, urban, and executive looks, in particulars IT firms top managers and CEOs. While every BMW is always perceived to be sportier and muscular, with its usual long hood and staring headlamps, the 3 Series is best thought for youngsters who seek fun on drive and racing traits. In many sense, the design languages of the three brands themselves augment such kind of individual labels and stereotypes. You may also find all the three cars advertised for different functions beyond these categories, but my intention was to point out the general perception of how we are obsessed with these three German cars in the segment. OMG, Stereotypes everywhere!

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The trio is over dominating the segment. With Mercedes C Class having a good reputation among the luxury car buyers for more than a decade, the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 are now managing big volumes for their sellers. And that’s why the news of a new entrant into this segment is quite interesting. With wider scope and new alternatives in the segment, the entry level luxury segment is yet to reach newer heights. Now, XE is a new cat that prowls at the trio. Though it is not going to become the king of the forest, it is sure to break that the incumbent’s stronghold and make a difference.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) now feels more independent and genuine under Tata Motors than earlier times under different leaderships. New platforms and engine line-ups have cost the new bosses, yet the JLR was nurtured to be its own and grow. In fact, one can say that it has made the punchiest collection of fleet in the recent years after acquisition by Tata Motors. It is also fairly addressing the credibility crisis among its customers and now witnesses good sales globally.

The XE features the JLR’s newly developed scalable architecture lightweight aluminium platform called iQ, with super light and modular ‘Ingenium’ Engine, which is going to be the future of every Jaguars. The first Ingenium engine in the series is a 2.0l 4-cylinder diesel, boasting its own technologies (other than worked-over Ford engines), with good power and low-emission figures. XE also gets a 3.0l V6 from the newly launched F-Type. However, no one can be sure of the engines and gearboxes on offer in the Indian version, which can be expected to revealed in mid-next year.  

Wow! The XE looks fantastic like no other car in the segment. Maybe because I’m little bored of them. JLR’s new lightweight modular aluminum construction hints at new design possibilities for both the brands. The hood is strongly sculptured with ‘J-Blade’ running lights and tautness in nose, rear and overall, typically a Jaguar. The front looks muscular and better than any other rivals in the segment. The rising waistline accentuates the streamlined, coupe-like stance. The 20-inch alloys in the prototype is eye catching. On the inside too, the design and layout seems flawless with an eight-inch
infotainment display and Wi-Fi hotspot.

#N for Neutral

Jaguar hopes that the new XE sedan will attract every kind of buyers, in particular youngsters and women. The car is significant because it is going to be the cheapest Jaguar to be offered and will help built a solid image for the brand in the market. As we saw in the case of XJ and XF, localised production in India brought down their prices significantly. With even more localisation in the coming years, Jaguar India can offer the XE sedan at a much competitive prices to take on the German Trio. We are to see the prowl of the new wildcat very soon!

Photo Credit: Jalopnik, IndianAutosBlog.com

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at wagenclub@gmail.com

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