Jaguar fields competitive, powerful sedan with the all-new XE

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Jaguar fields competitive, powerful sedan with the all-new XE

The all-new XE is Jaguar’s latest midsize sedan, which the automaker hopes will compete in a market dominated by BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat.

Production began at Jaguar’s factory in Solihull, England, in March. The XE is scheduled to arrive in Korea sometime in the second half of the year.

The car offers three different power trains - a 2.0-liter (0.5-gallon) diesel, 2.0-liter gasoline, or 3.0-liter gasoline turbo - and will be offered between 47.6 million won ($40,570) and 69 million won in Korea.

Jaguar wasn’t successful in attracting consumers with its first X-series model, the X-Type, released in 2001.

Ford’s affiliate, Premier Automotive Group, expected the car - Jaguar’s smallest after the MK 1 in 1955 - to sell like hotcakes, in excess of 100,000 units a year.

Sales of the model peaked in 2003, at 50,000.

Analysts pointed out its resemblance of Ford Mondeo as the major reason for X-Type’s failure, which contradicted consumers’ expectation of riding luxury sedans.

Jaguar XE, on the other hand, utilizes a new design that pulls together the virtues of other popular sedans.

The latest model is equipped with an all-new ultra high-strength aluminum body made from RC 5754, a recycled material, that will also be used in Jaguar’s upcoming XF and F-Pace SUV.

Along with the upgraded body, Jaguar XE has an air resistance coefficient of 0.26 - the lowest ever in Jaguar’s history - that promotes enhanced steering and a smoother ride.

The XE S model, equipped with a supercharged V6 engine, is 158 kilograms (348 pounds) lighter than competing models made by the Volkswagon, Mercedez or BMW. The model may have cut weight, but it didn’t lose any of its strength. Its B-pillar consists of aluminum supported by ultra-high strength steel sheets, with five protective layers including a zinc coat. Despite its strength, the XE’s interior and exterior is reminiscent of the F-Type sportscar.

The reporter test drove the Jaguar XE at the Navarra racetrack in Spain in May.

The first test drive used the model with the 2.0-liter, turbocharged diesel Ingenium engine, which will also be used by future Jaguar and Land Rover. The engine, with its six-speed gearbox generates, up to 163 horsepower and 38.7kgm (26 pound-foot) of torque, which is equivalent to the new BMW 320d EfficientDynamics (ED) engine. This eco-friendly model with low CO2 emissions level boasts the highest fuel efficiency of any previous Jaguar model, at 31.9 kilometers per liter (75 miles per gallon).

The models that will be sold in Korea were seen also available at the track, including the XE equipped with a 2.0-liter diesel that delivers 180 horsepower and an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Zippier than the ecofriendly model, it took only 7.8 seconds to go from zero to 100 kilometers per hour. Its maximum speed of 228 kilometers per hour (142 miles per hour) was generated at 1750-2500 rpm.

Jaguar XE comes into its own while taking on curves in the road, as drivers can directly feel the road’s surface with the car’s smooth electric power steering.

Jaguar has a high expectation for the model, emphasized by its all-new features like a laser heads-up display, torque vectoring by braking and traction control system.

Although the XE’s torque, fuel efficiency, CO2 emission level and trunk space fall a bit short of BMW’s models, its unique and differentiated style makes it a strong choice for customers.

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