Don’t be too tempted to conclude from the vinyl cone on the center tunnel that the XE is packing a manual transmission, unfortunately. We firmly believe that the XE will come only with an automatic transmission—a disappointment, but not a surprise in the era when several Ferraris come only with two-pedal setups. The XE will probably feature a new V-6 engine that will proliferate throughout the company’s lineup, but Jaguar’s outstanding 5.0-liter V-8 is a possibility, too.

The XE should appear for the 2013 model year, and it’s likely that both coupe and roadster versions will be offered. Figure on pricing in the same ballpark with higher-end Mercedes-Benz SLKs and BMW Z4s.

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By Steve Siler