Iconic British car manufacturer Jaguar unveiled the latest chapter in its history of “speed, beauty and innovation” (as Advanced Design Director Julian Thomson describes the company’s motto) with the release of the XE, its long awaited entry-level sports sedan, at London’s sprawling Earls Court. The venue was a fitting location: 14 Jaguars have made their debut there. And it was Jaguar’s heritage that was the focus of the evening before the XE was revealed, as the company put on a musical theater show to celebrate its heritage and tie the past, present and future together.
The show, which featured performances from artists including Emeli Sandé and Kaiser Chiefs, followed a time-traveling Jaguar fan who got to experience historic Jaguar events, such as the time its D-Type racer won the top four places at Le Mans in 1957.
At the culmination of the show, a video displayed the new XE flown in a helicopter from the Jaguar factory in Solihull, England to London—journeying on a high-speed landing craft on the Thames to Chelsea Harbour and finally being escorted by two 1960s Mark II Jaguar Police Cars into the venue.
The performance-oriented XE goes on sale in global markets in 2015 and will come to North America in 2016, with the high-performance S model at the top of the global lineup. The XE is aluminum-intensive and the first model developed from the new JLR modular vehicle architecture, and it will also be the first Jaguar to be equipped with electric power steering. “Our mission was to create an exciting and dynamic design clearly reflecting the XE positioning as a serious driver’s car. The cab-rearward proportions and tight packaging achieve that and give the XE the appearance of movement even when it’s standing still. It bears a strong family resemblance to the F-Type and will stand apart in the crowd,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design.
The company hopes that the Jaguar XE will become another of its time-defining classics. The car already has a distinct advantage on its predecessors: sustainability. The XE uses RC 5754, an aluminum alloy that is made predominantly from recycled material, as will most of Jaguar’s future models. This will help Jaguar towards its goal of using 75% recycled material by 2020, and is a perfect example of the challenge that Jaguar has set itself—to draw on and honor its heritage, while staying relevant for future generations.
Performance image by Cajsa Carlson, all others courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover