In many ways, the Jaguar XE is the perfect British retort to a sport-sedan market flooded with Germans. It comes with just about everything you would expect from a Jag: a lightweight body, a functional, yet luxurious interior, and some very sexy lines to ogle. The one thing missing, however, is an inline-six under the bonnet.

If the U.S. owns the V8, you could argue that the UK owns the inline-six. It’s an engine configuration that can be found in some of the UK’s greatest sports cars; a tradition that continued right up until the 1990s, when an increase in crash standards made the shorter V design more desirable. Now, however, it appears as though Jaguar may return to its six-cylinder roots.

The rumors come amid a full reveal of the XE’s technical specs last month. While this newest model comes equipped with a supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6, the possibility for a future inline configuration was neither confirmed nor denied by chief engineer for the Ingenium engine range, Paul Witworth.

“I’m not going to tell you whether we’re going to do a V-6 or an I-6 [inline six],” Witworth told motoring.com.au. “But what I will say is an I-6 has less moving parts for a start and when it comes to fuel economy and emission the less moving parts you’ve got the better you are.”

“Straight-six cylinder gives some challenges for vehicle packaging- it’s more difficult to [achieve good] crash [test results]. But the engine will be inherently more efficient. It’ll be lighter and it’ll be cheaper [to build],” he added.

Mercedes has already made a transition to the inline-six with its new E-Class sedan. If Jaguar was to offer an inline-six in the future, it’s very likely it’ll appear in the upcoming XF, which will feature a new iteration of the Ingenium engine line yet to be revealed.

Click past the jump to read more about the new Jaguar XE.

Why It Matters

When it comes to British motoring, few sounds are as evocative as the inline-six. There’s a harmony to it, a purr that crescendos as the revs build. It’s something that’s lost when the cylinder banks become angled. Chalk it up to vibration caused by the layout of the V-engine, a problem that the inline-six simply doesn’t have. This smoothness makes the inline-six extremely refined when it comes to power delivery, with far less thrash than a typical V or flat design. It’s something that made British sports cars unique, and we’d love to see it return.

Jaguar XE

2017 Jaguar XE High Resolution Exterior
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Source: Motoring

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