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Paris LIVE: 2016 Jaguar XE

Jaguar has taken the wraps off of its 3-Series fighter, the XE sedan.

Jaguar has pulled the veil of its 2016 XE, a compact luxury sedan designed to take on the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The XE made its first public appearance today at the Paris Motor Show.

The XE's front end borrows styling cues like its rectangular radiator grille, its three large air dams and its elongated headlights from other members of the Jaguar lineup including the larger XF and XJ sedans. Out back, the XE is fitted with long horizontal tail lamps, a prominent Jaguar emblem and a discreet spoiler integrated into the trunk lid.

The XE is largely built using lightweight materials like aluminum, and Jaguar engineers have even developed a new type of alloy called RC 5754. The aluminum-intensive construction gives the XE the most torsional rigidity of any sedan Jaguar has ever built. Weight checks in as low as 3,250 pounds depending on specification, making the XE the lightest full-production Jaguar sedan ever.

Life AboardInside, the XE features a performance-inspired cockpit with a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, an instrument cluster with analog gauges and a straightforward, function-oriented center stack that houses a color touch screen as well as the bulk of the climate control buttons. Buyers looking for a sporty ambiance can order a two-tone upholstery, while those seeking a more low-key look can choose traditional single-tone upholstery options.

The XE inaugurates a new infotainment system called InControl Touch. Controlled via the aforementioned eight-inch touch screen, InControl Touch groups the car's entertainment, climate control, connectivity and navigation functions into a single unit. Jaguar promises all of InControl Touch's features are accessible via voice commands.

The XE's infotainment system also runs Jaguar's new InControl Apps, a smartphone integration software designed to work seamlessly with both Apple and Android devices. Passengers can access the bulk of their phone's features on the touch screen and use additional purpose-designed apps to book a hotel room, get parking information, check traffic and make conference calls.

A laser-projected heads-up display is available at an extra cost. The configurable color display shows a wide array of information ranging from speed, navigation directions, cruise control settings and traffic sign recognition.

Under the Hood

The range-topping XE S packs a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that sends 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. Borrowed from the F-Type, the six-cylinder propels the XE S from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed that is electronically limited to 155 mph.

Less expensive XEs will pack four-cylinders sourced from Jaguar Land Rover's new Ingenium engine family. Technical details are still being finalized but the company promises the lineup will include a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill and at least one turbodiesel unit in Europe. Buyers will be asked to choose between a six-speed manual transmission and a ZF-designed eight-speed automatic unit, though whether or not the six-speed will be offered on these shores is up in the air.

Rear-wheel drive wheel comes standard and all-wheel drive is available on some models at an extra cost. Additionally, the XE inaugurates an advanced traction control system called All Surface Progress Control that works like a low-speed cruise control to get the car through rough weather conditions without requiring any pedal input from the driver.

The Jaguar XE is scheduled to go on sale across the United States in time for the 2016 model year. The XE will start at £27,000 (about $43,500) in England.

InControl Touch, InControl Apps and the heads-up display will gradually make their way to other members of the Jaguar Land Rover lineup in the coming years.

Live images by Drew Johnson.

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