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L.A. Auto Show 2015: 2017 Jaguar XE sports sedan

What is it?

A relatively affordable sport sedan – starting around $35,000 – that could help a historic and recently reinvigorated Jaguar brand break out of its niche.

Why it matters:

Jaguar has been on a roll lately, and this car could solidify the brand’s perception as an increasingly high-quality, competitive maker of luxury and high-performance cars. The brand’s F-Type, in coupe and convertible form, is better looking, faster and cheaper than many premium sports cars. (It’s too soon to judge if it has shed old problems with reliability.)

(Jaguar)

At about half the price, the XE sport sedan could draw many more buyers. To say this car is a “BMW 3-series fighter” is a cliché, but true – the smallish Bimmer has long dominated both sales and critical acclaim in the hotly contested segment. This new Jag will face a steep challenge stealing sales from the 3 and other strong offerings from other brands.

UPDATES: Get live updates from the floor of the L.A. Auto Show

What’s new:

The whole car is new. Options include a choice of one diesel and two gasoline engines, rear- or all-wheel drive, and safety features such as automatic emergency braking. Performance ranges from quick in the high-performance six-cylinder offering (5.1 seconds to 60 mph) to ho-hum in the more efficiency-minded diesel.

The competition:

BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS, Mercedes C-class

PHOTOS: See the best of the L.A. Auto Show

(Jaguar)

The details:

Powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo; 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel; 3.0-liter supercharged six-cylinder

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: not released

Horsepower: 180; 240; 340

Torque: 318; 251; 332 pound-feet

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