Jaguar revealed their brand new XE sports saloon at a spectacular launch event at Earl’s Court, London, this evening.
The scene was more akin to a West End Show than the usual exhibitions normally seen at the venue. The 90 minute spectacular was narrated by actor, John Hannah and featured performances from Emili Sandé, The Kaiser Chiefs, Eliza Doolittle and what appeared to be half the actors currently appearing on the West End.
The story brought us through scenes from Jaguar’s illustrious history as a 16 year old boy, aided by a time traveller, attempted to create a new Jaguar for 2015, distilling the ethos of the brand in the process before the final, spectacular reveal.
It was certainly an enjoyable, at times breath-taking performance and really brought home how important the success of the XE is to Jaguar.
I’m sure there were many celebrities attending, but I don’t write for Hello and I didn’t recognise any faces, beyond Sir Stirling Moss and Martin Brundle. During the show, Norman Dewis, Jaguar’s most famous test-driver and the lucky man who had the job of driving the first E-Type to its launch at the Geneva Motor Show, got name-checked and apparently was in the audience. Those are the kind of celebrities I’m more interested in.
After the show, parts of the London skyline were lit up in red as Emili Sandé performed live from a stage floating on the River Thames. While we couldn’t see this from Earl’s Court, the performance was streamed live to us at the launch venue.
Dotted around Earl’s Court too were some rare and beautiful cars from Jaguar’s past and it was incredible to see such history all gathered in one spot.
The new car has a lot of fire-power behind it, using a clean sheet design in an effort to distance itself from its rivals. It will go head to head with the likes of the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class.
Aluminium features prominently in the chassis construction in an effort to save weight. Around 70% of the chassis is composed of aluminium alloy, the fifth Jaguar to employ such technology. The difference with the XE is that the production process has been greatly speeded up in anticipation of the greatly increased production.
Jaguar reckon that the medium premium sector will grow to 1.6 million in 2015 and to make sure they get a big piece of the action, the 2.0 litre diesel model sports a class best CO2 figure of just 99 g/km. This model will have a starting price of around £27,000, although in Ireland, it’s hoped to keep that under €40,000 when it comes here.
The full range won’t be detailed until the Paris Motor Show next month, but the XE features a brand-new premium suspension system, electric power steering for the first time in a Jaguar, which will allow self-parking and lane departure systems to be employed.
Inside, the premium cabin will boast a brand-new infotainment system, with links to iPhone and Android devices, allowing apps to be accessed via a standard 8″ touch screen. A premium Meridian sound system will also be available.
Motoring editor - The Clare Champion
Former Chairman and voting member of Irish Motoring Writers' Association