Jaguar’s forthcoming XE will house a 489-horsepower supercharged V8 in SVR guise

You knew this was coming.

Jaguar’s all-new XE luxury sedan has been billed as many things, but ‘BMW 3 Series fighter’ is probably the most relevant label the saloon has.

Bimmer’s range-topping M3 still has a firm grip over the sport compact executive category, so without an answer for the suped-up 3 Series, Jaguar might as well hang up its gloves before the match even starts.

Here comes a new challenger.

Auto Express is reporting that Jaguar is planning a performance-focused SVR version of the XE, courtesy of the brand’s scrappy and innovative special operations division. It will use the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 from the F-Type S to produce 489 horsepower, enabling the car to hit 60 mph in approximately four seconds.

The BMW M3 houses a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six that produces 425 hp, and with the optional DCT gearbox, the streamlined German will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. If the reported specs on the SVR are accurate, it looks like we may have a real fight on our hands.

Related: Preview the Jaguar XE’s InControl infotainment system

The supercharged power will be sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the same unit found in the XJ and F-Type, however it’ll be tuned to shift faster in the baby Jag. An electronic limited slip differential will play nanny to the boisterous supercharger.

Given the M3’s track prowess, upgraded brakes, stiffer suspension, and intensive Nurburgring track testing are probably in the SVR’s future as well.

As with all vehicles that graduate from Jaguar Land Rovers special operations division, the XE will likely wear aggressive and improved bodywork, complete with flared wheel arches, redesigned bumpers, and quad exhaust tailpipes. More details to come on that.

The Jaguar XE SVR may be going head-to-head with the mighty M3, but it better have some tricks up its sleeve. It’s set to debut in early 2016 for around £60,000 (nearly $100,000), which is a significant step up from the M3’s base price of $62,000.

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