As we left this year’s Geneva auto show, at which Jaguar kicked off the iconic E-type’s 50th birthday party, we were disappointed. After the music had stopped, the champagne flutes sat dry, and the confetti lay lifeless on the floor, we still had no E-type successor or tribute. Today, though, our spirits are lifted, as our crafty spy shooters have caught Jaguar testing a mule of what will become the modern version of the E-type, likely called XE.
Whether or not the future two-seater will be able to pick up the torch of the famed E-type, it’ll fill that car’s role within the Jag showroom. At first glance, this mule appears to be just a rough-bodied version of the XK, complete with its updated headlights, but upon further study we can clearly see that the wheelbase—and consequently, the sheetmetal—have been shortened. Note how the surface between the leading edge of the front of the rear fender and the door seam is smaller than it is on the XK, which is why the body lines no longer match. Additionally, the rear overhang has been compressed on this mule, displacing the fuel door. The tacked on fender flares could indicate a wider rear track than the XK has.
It shouldn’t take much Sherlock Holmes–ing to determine what lies under the hood. As this car will be based on the XK platform, we fully expect it to receive either a naturally aspirated or supercharged version of Jag’s spectacular 5.0-liter V-8. Additionally, we know Jaguar is working on a new V-6 for the XF sedan and a forthcoming BMW 3-series–size sedan, and anticipate that’ll find its way into a base model of the XE.
The XE will eventually be offered as both a coupe and a convertible. The ragtop should be the first to market, possibly entering production as early as 2012. Its primary targets will be the Porsche Boxster, Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Mercedes-Benz SLK. Figure on the XE being priced toward the pricier end of that segment, or around $60,000. Stay tuned for more details as the E-type’s party really gets rockin’.
Thanks to: Car and Driver