Sedans may still be part of Jaguar’s portfolio, but the British brand’s selection in the US is shrinking. For one, its next-gen flagship XJ is still under wraps. And while the XF continues in the US for 2021, it’s losing an engine option and the Sportbrake wagon model. But the sedan cull’s not quite over: Jaguar’s entry-level model, the XE, is also being cut from the US lineup.
The Jaguar XE: updated for 2020, dead for 2021 in the US
The timing for the Jaguar XE’s US cancellation may seem a bit odd. After all, the sedan was just updated for the 2020 model year. It received better interior materials and an upgraded infotainment system, though it lost its supercharged V6, Car and Driver reports. And for 2021, the European Jaguar XE is getting a diesel mild-hybrid powertrain, Top Gear reports.
However, the Jaguar XE’s US sales have never been particularly strong, Road & Track reports. Its main rival, the BMW 3 Series consistently out-sold in. In 2019, BMW moved over 47,800 3 Series models, and Genesis sold 11,903 G70s. In contrast, Jaguar sold just 3551 XEs.
As a result, the Jaguar XE is being dropped from the US market. It’s possible that there may be another ‘baby Jag’ model in the future; perhaps an EV. That’s what the next-gen XJ is planned to be, Car and Driver reports. But that’s still a ways away.
The E-Pace and XF take its place as entry-level models
In the meantime, the 2021 Jaguar XF is getting a price cut to better-serve as the brand’s entry-level sedan, Motor1 reports. And, like the 2020 XE, it’s dropping the optional V6 for a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder available in 2 levels of power. It’s also getting a redesigned interior with what appear to be higher-quality materials.
But the “absolute” entry-level Jaguar, following the XE’s demise, is now the E-Pace crossover, Motor Trend reports. In 296-hp R-Dynamic form, it demonstrates better handling than the BMW X2 and Volvo XC40, Car and Driver reports. However, like the pre-update XE, its interior isn’t as luxurious as its rivals, including the Audi Q3. Luckily, it’s getting updated for the 2021 model year, Motor1 reports.
There’s at least one Jaguar XE trim worth remembering
The Jaguar XE managed to beat the Audi A4 in AutoExpress’ comparison, but overall, the sedan was something of an alternative choice. It wasn’t even a contender in Car and Driver’s recent sports sedan comparison. However, if handling and performance is the goal, there was one XE model that delivered—the XE SV Project 8.
The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 is a fairly rare car, Motor Trend reports. Jaguar only built 300 examples, all by hand. But in 2019, it broke its own record at the Nurburgring, becoming the fastest sedan to lap the track at the time, R&T reports. And that record still holds to this day, R&T reports.
That speed is courtesy of a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 592 hp and 516 lb-ft, AWD, and an 8-speed automatic, Car and Driver reports. The sedan also features well-bolstered front and rear seats, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable suspension, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, and an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, Roadshow reports.
Sadly, US models couldn’t get the optional Track Package, which removed the rear seats but added a roll cage, carbon-fiber front seats, and racing harnesses. But the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 does have navigation, carbon-ceramic brakes, a heads-up display, an 825-watt Meridian audio system, and a 10.2” touchscreen.
Unfortunately, in addition to its rarity, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 was fairly expensive. It started at $187,500 before destination, roughly the same as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. And the 911 Carrera S beat the Project 8 in Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car competition.
Still, it’s proof that the Jaguar XE wasn’t an entry-level luxury sedan also-ran.
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