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TOTD: Can the 2017 Jaguar XE Topple the BMW 3 Series, Other Rivals?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/30/2015 Kelly Pleskot

It's been a long time since Jaguar has stolen so much of the spotlight in the luxury category. But with a deluge of new products -- including the F-Type and upcoming F-Pace CUV -- Jaguar could be on its way to becoming a major player in the U.S. Its new entry-level luxury car, the XE, may seal its fate, as it has the most potential to draw in a wave of new customers. But with so many other competitors in the segment, is it too little too late?

The 2017 Jaguar XE is set to arrive on our shores by early 2016, but it has plenty of appeal to make it worth the wait for many Jag admirers. Unlike its competitors, the XE offers an extremely lightweight structure, with aluminum accounting for 75 percent of the body materials. In a recent First Drive, we noted that the XE S has that rare "combination of grace and pace" while offering 340 hp and a controlled ride. We also praised it for having just about the best electrically assisted power steering systems we've tested on a sports sedan. Unfortunately, the volume powertrain for the U.S. has not been finalized, so we don't know exactly how the drive experience will be for most customers who purchase the model stateside.

2016 Jaguar XE© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Jaguar XE TOTD: Can the 2017 Jaguar XE Topple the BMW 3 Series, Other Rivals?

So can the newcomer XE compete against established nameplates in the category? The BMW 3 Series has been regarded as the most well-rounded vehicle in its segment, and we've praised it for its reassuring ride, excellent handling, and satisfying power delivery, even on the base 320i model. The Cadillac ATS is also one of the more exciting vehicles in the segment, with a planted presence on the road, confidence through curves, and even better road-holding ability with the optional magnetic shocks. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, new for the 2015 model year, blends exceptional driving dynamics with a wide range of powertrain options and S-Class styling. The Lexus IS, though it features mostly carryover engine options, features unique styling and a competent chassis that make it a compelling alternative. The Audi A4 offers confident Quattro all-wheel drive grip, though that model is aging. A new A4 is expected to debut very soon.

Do you think the XE has what it takes to beat out the 3 Series and the rest of the entry-lux sport sedan set? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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