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Jaguar ‘XEL’ long wheelbase prototype spotted, for Chinese market (video)

Jaguar has been spotted testing the long wheelbase version of the XE mid-size sedan out on the Nurburgring in Germany, ahead of its expected debut later this year.

Like the XF long wheelbase, the new XE, dubbed XEL, is set to be a roomier version of the sedan, with boosted accommodation particularly for the rear-seat passengers. It’s set to be designed for the Chinese market, where rear seat space and comfort is of high importance and in high demand.

As far as we know the XEL will feature a slightly longer wheelbase, with talk of around 120mm being added in. You can kind of see this in the prototypes, which reveal a large rear quarter window and longer rear door. The door opening is also expected to be more welcoming as a result.

Once you’re in the back, a range of additional technologies and creature comforts are expected. Think along the lines of reclined rear seats, a special centre console piece through the middle housing a storage trough and cup holders, and some massage functionality built into the seat cushioning as an option. There’s also speak of power rear blinds and touch-screens.

As for powertrains, Jaguar will probably reduce the overall availability somewhat, with only one of the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol options, the diesel, and the range-topping 3.0-litre supercharged V6. Official details are yet to be announced.

On the day we managed to spot two different prototypes. Both of them sport the dual, centrally-mounted exhausts like on the regular XE S V6, potentially indicating the V6 engine. However, they are wearing different wheels. One features smaller wheels with taller profile tyres while the other seems to adopt 18- or even 19-inch items perhaps indicating a S variant.

Click play below to take a listen – apologies for the shakiness of the camera, we misplaced our tripod. A full debut is expected later this year with market entry in China in 2018.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.