JAGUAR'S BMW 3 Series rival the XE has been hailed in some quarters as the most important car the company's ever made and it's easy to see why.
While Jaguar Land Rover's global success shows no signs of abating it's still the Land Rover arm enjoying the lion's share of sales with the Big Cat more of a niche player.
The XE forms the key building block of a determined effort to drive up sales big time, both to fleet and private buyers and see Jaguar become more of a volume brand.
There's no doubting that's a pretty tall order, particularly when you're competing in one of the most hotly contested segments in the automotive market.
And it's not just the 3 Series the XE is pitching against but firmly established players like the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class too.
It was always going to have to be very good to stand even a fighting chance - arguably even better.
Well, there's no doubting the XE is up to the challenge.
Both the engineers and designers have done a great job to create a car that really does deliver - in pretty much every respect.
The XE looks classy it has to be said - a kind of scaled-down XF in some respects but with just enough of that quintessential contemporary Jaguar flavour to make it a head-turner.
While I've not been privy to its design process my only gripe would be based on a suspicion its looks have ended up being toned down just a touch to ensure it doesn't appear too ‘out there' compared to its competitors.
It might have been nice to see one or too slightly more daring design flourishes, thought it's easy to understand why Jaguar has plumped for a look that isn't a million miles away from the 3 Series - it does after all need to appeal to the mainstream.
From a technology perspective the XE is a real tour de force, pioneering Jaguar Land Rover's new lightweight modular aluminium architecture - the iQ platform.
It makes for a light but strong and stiff body structure that really is class-leading and gives the XE a huge advantage from the off.
Add in a mixture of aluminium and high strength steel body panels and it means the XE sheds the pounds big time.
Another great strength of the XE is it gets the four-cylinder Ingenium engines being made in Jaguar Land Rover's purpose-built engine plant near Wolverhampton. All in all it makes for a winning combination.
As a result this 2.0-litre diesel feels light, agile and nimble and is easily a match for the traditional pace-setter in this segment - the 3 Series. I might be so bold as to suggest it's even better but whatever the case it's certainly on a par.
It handles wonderfully, is a real joy to drive - particularly on an open and twisting B-road - and delivers a comfortable and sublime ride to boot.
The XE's cabin is nicely done out, with plenty of luxurious Jaguar trademark features and fit and finish is up there with the best.
It's pretty roomy too, with even rear seat passengers pretty well catered for.
In car technology is a big deal for Jaguar Land Rover currently and the XE has its InControl Touch infotainment system with full Apple and Android smartphone connectivity.
In addition standard features include sat-nav, cruise control, 17-inch alloys and DAB radio.