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Jaguar is known worldwide for its large luxury sedans, but it recently surprised the automotive world with its latest model which is smaller.

The stylish and sporty 2017 XE slots in below the XF model and takes on other premium sport sedans, which include the standard bearer in the segment, the BMW 3-series.

According to Matt Degen, senior associate editor at Irvine-based Kelley Blue Book, the 3-series has been the standard for a long time, and there is a reason it is the standard. “So going up against rivals like that, it’s really going to be a struggle.”

Part of that struggle is to show buyers that it cannot only dwell in Jaguar’s comfort zone of the luxury world, but also in the sporting world, with a car that is brave enough to be on the race track.

The XE is extremely different from Jaguar’s previous effort at a small sport sedan, the Ford-derived X-type which launched as a 2002 model when Ford acquired Jaguar. That car, which was based on a medium-priced European Ford Mondeo, never quite have the qualifications for the competition.

Degen noted that it was a really tough sell for them. However, the XE has a lot of the elements that somebody searching for this car would want.

For instance, it comes with a rear-wheel drive chassis, which several sport sedan buyers want. Driving aficionados tend to like rear-wheel drive for its better handling balance. The XE also comes available with all-wheel drive. Moreover, upscale car shoppers also tend to prefer style and luxury, which Jaguars have always been able to deliver.

 

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