Spy photographers in England captured what appears to be a high-performance version of the Jaguar XE compact sedan that would take aim at the BMW M3.
The red brake calipers and larger wheels signal a higher-performance powertrain, but it's unclear which engine could be powering the car. While Jaguar Land Rover has a 575-hp supercharged V-8 engine in its lineup, the powerplant likely would be too tall to fit under the XE's hood. That's because the supercharger fits on top of the engine between the cylinder banks. Not only would it be a tight fit, it would make it difficult for the car to meet European pedestrian safety standards, which require sufficient space between the underside of the hood and the top of the engine so that the hood can deform as it absorbs the energy of a person landing on it.
It also would be hard to stuff two turbos under the XE's hood with a V-8 engine.
The hot rumor in England is that JLR engineers are preparing a straight-six engine based on its four-cylinder Ingenium engines. When JLR announced the Ingenium family in 2014, it emphasized that the architecture would be flexible, configurable and modular. That means with each cylinder being one-half liter and using the same valves, pistons and other parts, JLR could produce from three- to six-cylinder engines on the same assembly line.