The Jaguar BMW 3-series rival will be styled to be “off-centre” of the class standard, according to design boss Ian Callum, but he has conceded that entering such a well-established segment of the car market makes his job of producing a car that stands out from the crowd particularly difficult.

The baby Jaguar is expected to launch in 2016 and be based on Jaguar Land Rover’s Premium Lightweight Architecture, a platform that would also underpin the next generation Jaguar XF and XJ. The combination of smaller turbocharged engines and aluminium body construction is said to be key to the Jaguar establishing a unique selling point as a low emission but fun-to-drive car.

“It is part of Jaguar’s core values to be slightly off-centre wherever it goes,” said Callum. “But at the same time the C and D segments are very pragmatic. Whatever we do on the styling front, we have to be careful that it doesn’t exclude a large proportion of the potential customer base.”