Cars being helicoptered over London, taking over Earls Court, the Kaiser Chiefs and Emile Sande and a full West End-style show. Jaguar didn't spare any horses in launching the all-new XE in London tonight.

Rightly this got the media talking, but when the launch fever dies down it's all about the car. As it should be because it's a crucial one for Jaguar.

It's a looker no doubt. In the metal it looks lower and sleeker than a BMW 3-series. Somewhere between that and a 4-series Gran Coupe to these eyes. Not flashy or avant-garde, mind you, but exactly where it needs to be for this market.

The same applies inside. I'd say that the new Mercedes C-class may just have the edge, but it's close. And it looks and feels way better than the BMW.

That roofline doesn't appear to have done any damage to rear space either. Again, it seems to be as good as the Merc or Audi A4

In short, unless it's a disaster to drive (and that's unlikely - let's face it) it should be a tough rival for the Germans.

Read more about the Jaguar XE

Read Autocar's interview with Jaguar design boss Ian Callum and Alan Volkaerts, operations director at JLR's new Solihull plant