“You take the stuff Jaguar does so well, and the stuff everyone believes in and you take it to more people, all over the world with the XE.”

So said the narrator of Jaguar’s enormous, hour-and-twenty-minute pantomime that launched the all-new Jaguar XE.

The lofty, sometimes engaging, sometimes cringe-worthy, but always brave production took us on a time-travel journey with characters who were allegedly based on Jaguar’s current design team. They toured the history of Jaguar complete with musical numbers, liturgical dance and off off-broadway theatre, ending with a performance by the Kaiser Chiefs.

It might have been the most extravagant launch of 2015, and placed emphasis on the XE’s role in the lineup; to bring Jaguar back to the people. To make Jaguar more accessible and affordable while retaining the flair and exhilaration inherent to the brand.

The car will sport an aluminum-intensive monocoque chassis, Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment system and the lowest drag coefficient of any Jaguar ever – 0.26.

It will sit under the XF and XJ as the marque’s smallest family sedan, competing with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

According to Jaguar’s release, power will come from “highly efficient 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines matched to smooth-shifting six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions. The diesels – part of Jaguar’s all-new Ingenium engine family – provide exemplary fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from 75 [Imperial] mpg [3.7 L/100 km] and 99 g/km.”

That fuel economy number is ambitious, but it speaks to Jaguar’s goal of an affordable sedan with low running costs. That might be irrelevant to North America anyway though as it is unlikely we will see the diesel engines.

We will get the XE S however, with the same 340-hp, 332 lb-ft supercharged V6 found in the F-Type Coupe giving it a 0-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds.

All Jaguar XEs will get double-wishbone front suspension and integral link rear suspension – a design they say is superior to rear multilink set ups. The chassis has been tuned for maximum stiffness to make this a “true driver’s car”.

Still, hydraulic steering has been ditched for electric steering and while Jaguar assures us that won’t diminish steering feel, past experience suggests otherwise.

At 4,672 mm the XE will be 50 mm longer than a 3 Series BMW, and Jaguar claims a curb weight of 1,474 kg for the base model – identical to the base-model 320i. It will be slightly 39 mm wider at 1,850 mm and 13 mm lower in overall height at 1,416 mm. The wheelbase will be 25 mm longer than a BMW at 2,835 mm. The lower, wider and longer stance will on paper give the XE a better centre of gravity and better high-speed stability.

Jaguar has fired a salvo at BMW with this small, luxury sports sedan, and first impressions are positive.

Full details and product information for the 2015 Jaguar XE will be revealed in October in Paris.

Today’s entire launch performance can be watched below.

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