the first time, the German domination of compact prestige sedan segment
(say, 3-series etc.) is going to end. Who can do that? not Rover, not
not Alfa, it is Jaguar. The car that will do that is called X-Type, a
advantages over its German rivals. First of all, the British premium
always has stronger image than BMW, Audi and - may I say -
You need not to recall the glorious history of SS, XK120, C to E-Type,
MkII ... just look at the XJ sedan and you’ll feel the sense of
the big cat delivers. Here, X-Type is benefited from the corporate
as well as traditional styling cues. You can see its beautiful shape
the best of various Jaguars, such as the grilles, headlights and
bonnet of XJ, the side windows and C-pillars of S-Type and the tail
of XK8 coupe. But just combining them is not enough, you need a great
like the late Geoff Lawson to merge them smoothly into a curvy, taut
That’s not easy, especially there are a hell lot of features to be
in the smaller body. The 4 circular headlamps, for example, are
to implement in style (see Mercedes E-class). Lawson was clever. He
the height of both grilles and headlamps, raised the bumper line thus
the nose slimmer. Yes, slimness is always the philosophy of Jaguar’s
styling, so Lawson decided to sacrifice a bit headroom in exchange for
a sleek streamline from nose to tail. Besides, to inject a sense of
unfound in S-Type and XJ, he added extra muscle to the shoulder at
C-pillar. As a result, X-Type looks far sexier and far more
than any German rivals. It is also, if arguably, the best looking
a mass-production Jaguar must share cost with Ford’s product, in this
is, Mondeo. I said it predictable because the S-Type is already doing
with Lincoln LS. Moreover, the new X-Type is produced in Ford’s
plant in England, where Escort used to be assembled. However, the
to base it on Mondeo platform is more a concern of development time
at least a year) instead of cost (we shall see later why). Basically,
Mondeo platform provides 20% common components, including front
struts and rear torsion-control multi-link setup. The front suspensions
employ twin-tube and twin-bearing. The rear is a space-saving design
from the Mondeo estate. Strangely, as opposed to Jaguar’s tradition,
rear suspension was chosen to optimize luggage space to a remarkable
litres. In contrast, the wheelbase is shortened from 2754 to 2710 mm in
order to make the car smaller than S-Type.
Now comes the
matter how brilliant the Mondeo chassis is, it is still a front-driver.
Question 1: can it cope with Jaguar’s bigger engines (3.0 V6 and then a
supercharged R model) and higher expectation ? unlikely; Question 2:
the public accept a premium sporty sedan - especially a Jaguar - to be
front-driver ? definitely not. That’s why Jaguar would rather add a
of £900 and a weight of 80kg per car to make it 4-wheel drive. It
is a simple design employing epicyclic center differential and
LSD to direct 60% torque to the rear wheels in order to obtain a
fun-to-handle character to match rivals. In case of wheelspin, viscous
coupler will lock up the differential thus send more torque to the axle
with more grip. You can see, this is a full-time 4WD like Audi (which
Torsen LSD instead of VC), thus is superior to the part-time system
by Volvo and the LSD-less BMW xi models.
handling of this
Jaguar is eye-opening: what Audi’s quattro system learned in the past
years, Jaguar surpasses in its first attempt. Yes, yes, this baby
is as surefooted in any corners, any surfaces as the new A4 Quattro
being more entertaining to drive. It attacks corners confidently at
speed, displaying superior body control and balance while ride quality
is unexpectedly good. In mid-corner, it can be balanced easily on
thanks to the rear-bias torque split. It let us wonder why Audi hasn’t
scrap its 50:50 Torsen system yet. At the limit, it will understeer
like the Quattro to provide a secure characteristic that rarely needs
intervention of DSC.
Audi is less
involving while rides far stiffer. Jaguar’s superior combination of
and ride must thanks to the super-rigid body shell which is claimed to
be 30% stiffer than the "previous class leader" (implying 3-series).
ride quality is at the firm side by Jaguar’s standard but excellent by
the standard of German marques. In fact, it is only bettered by
steering is another contribution to the great handling. Since the
mid-life makeover, Wolfgang Reitzle did not allow Jaguar to use Ford’s
flawed steering rack again. 2.6-turn lock-to-lock is a good balance
directness and refinement. Admittedly, it is a bit inert at low speed
to the friction generated by the 4-wheel-drive, once up to 40 mph the
is full of communication, again, more than Audi A4 Quattro. The
is just perfect, from light effort at parking, increase consistently
linearly as speed rise. As it isolates from vibration and unwanted
intrusion very well, cruising can be done with just finger tips on the
steering wheel. The last goodness about steering is the lack of torque
steer, thanks to the unusual twin-bearing Mondeo front struts and
less torque driving through the front wheels.
about C-class and 3-series? they might provide even better-informed
and more entertaining power oversteer, but the Jaguar achieves better
between sheer capability, confidence and entertainment. Its chassis is
is S-Type’s 3.0-litre V6, now re-rated to 231 hp perhaps because the
installation restricts a little bit breathing. Remind you, it is based
on Ford’s Cleveland V6 (powering Taurus) but is equipped with Jaguar’s
very advanced head (continuous intake VVT, 3-stage variable geometry
manifold, electronic throttle) and 32-bit microprocessor, the last two
were designed to comply with Euro VI emission regulation to be
in 2005. Remind you again, despite of these goodness, it used to be a
link in S-Type. No matter what Jaguar say, such as 80% peak torque from
1500rpm, 90% from 2500rpm etc., it is still obviously a loser.
a BMW 330i develops 90% of its 221 peak torque at 1500rpm, that equals
199lbft. In contrast, the Jaguar produces just 167lbft at the same rev.
No wonder the Jaguar V6 needs rev to realise its performance suggested
by the claimed 231 horsepower. Apart from mid-range torque, it is also
lack of the last 5% refinement. For instance, the engine gets booming
high rev, the throttle pedal has little response at its first half an
2.5-litre V6 is
available as entry-level model. It is essentially a small-bore version
of the 3.0 unit. Power and torque are 194 hp and 180 lbft respectively.
Although its bore / stroke ratio is more healthy than the larger one
is very oversquare at 89.0 x 79.5mm), their characters are similar.
engines are smooth and quiet most of the time, but the lack of
top-end refinement and a beautiful sound track send them to the second
also found in the 5-speed manual gearbox. Basically is Mondeo’s MTX-75
with some modifications. It is generally smooth (if heavy) and accurate
to shift, with short throw, but in a hurry it can be balky. Another
is a Ford 5-speed automatic with Jaguar’s unique J-gate shifter. It
the 3.0 engine while blunting the performance of 2.5. No matter which
there is some driveline shunt occurs when stuck in traffic, which is in
common with other 4WD cars. In contrast, the braking system is
- powerful, fadeless and good pedal feel.
a lot of rev, mating with manual gearbox, both 2.5 and 3.0 achieve
performance (see specification table below). In fact, the 3.0 is
than equivalent A4 and C320, just marginally edged out by the
330i. Now I really believe it has 231 horsepower on tap. It will be
remarkable if you know that the super-stiff, 4WD-equipped Jaguar weighs
100 kg in excess of rivals !
many Jaguar lovers, the best of Jaguar, besides exterior styling, is
leather-and-wood cabin. Having disappointed by the Ford-influenced
this baby Jaguar is not going to make the same mistakes. You’ll find
is trimmed with leather and bird’s eye maple wood. The dials recessed
a wooden panel like some Saab. They are colored in British racing green
in a retro style. Center console is designed like that of XJ, but a
7-inch LCD touch screen dominates it thus looks sophisticated. The
provides a lot of functions, such as climate control, audio control,
(optional) TV and mobile phone. As in other Jaguars, there is an
voice activation too. Fit and finish of the cabin is up to standard,
there are two flaws: 1) the door panel looks dull. Why not incorporate
an elegant grab handle like that of Rover 75 ? 2) Low quality plastics
used. Actually no better than Mondeo. Luckily, most surfaces are
with either leather or wood instead of plastics.
with everything adjustable. Nevertheless, space is not its strength. To
preserve Jaguar’s traditional low roof line, front and rear headroom
sacrificed, especially the latter, where passengers of 5ft 10 (me !)
find touching the roof. What a pity. The rear legroom actually matches
3-series and A4, if not C-class.
short, the new
is a far better attempt than S-Type to invade the segment used to be
by the German. In terms of styling, character and dynamic, it leaves
German rivals trailing. Had it got a real in-house-made engine, and a
bit extra effort in fine tuning, it would have been a clear class
a rare 6-star car in AutoZine’s verdict. Anyway, even without these
the baby Jaguar is still a remarkable car. It seems that Jaguar’s sales
target of 100,000 units / year is too conservative. You know, BMW is
some 450,000 Three-series this year. Halewood can build a maximum
cars annually. I think that will be easily exceeded when the X-Type get
a diesel V6 from PSA.
above report was last updated on 10 June,
2001. All Rights Reserved.
Jaguar, there was a strong argument whether they should build an
front-drive X-Type. The pro-side said they should not ignore the big
now being dominated by BMW 318i and Audi A4 2.0 or 1.8T. In Europe,
market is so big that BMW actually sells more 318i than any other
3-Series. Ditto the A4. At the other end of boxing corner, the
pointed out that front-wheel-drive does not fit into the image of
as the British marque has never built any front-driver in its 70 years
Is this a good
rejecting new development ? If so, they should have already rejected
X-Type for its first-ever 4-wheel-drive system and transverse engine,
were the first V6 used in S-Type and V8 introduced to XK8 and XJ8.
people once say Jaguars should have straight-6 ?
care about through which wheels Audi A4 drive. The same goes for Alfa
one of the most fun-to-drive car in the class. As long as the engine is
not too powerful, the latest FWD technology is good enough to provide
to FWD is easy. Remember, its basic architecture was derived from the
Ford Mondeo, therefore by employing more Mondeo bits at transmission
front suspensions the conversion was done at minimum cost.
2.5-litre V6 has been de-stroked to 2099c.c. - oddly, Jaguar calls it a
2.0-litre. Power and torque drop to 156hp and 148lbft respectively,
than BMW 318i and level with the turbocharged A4 1.8T. Performance is
remarkable, but the smoothness and free-revving quality of the V6
makes the Jaguar feel classier than its four-cylinder rivals.
because it is
thirsty - a thing that matter to the buyers of this segment. Combined
fuel consumption is 30.7mpg, versus 34.5mpg of A4 1.8T and - thanks to
Valvetronic - 39.2mpg of 318i. With 2 more cylinders than rivals, the
wastes more energy via thermal loss and frictional loss. There is no
lunch, you pay the price for superior engine refinement.
Devoid of 2
and drive shaft, in addition to the lighter engine, some 100kg was
compare with the X-Type 2.5. Despite of this, at 1450kg, the baby Jag
still a heavyweight. On the other hand, the short-stroke V6 delivers
peak torque at a high 4100rpm, therefore to exploit good performance
an enthusiastic foot on throttle and a busy hand on shifter. Doing this
is a joy, thanks to the eager engine and positive gearshift. That said,
like other X-Types, the 2.0 encourages its driver to involve deeper.
Push it into
baby X-Type feels like a grown-up Mondeo, where "grown-up" means better
damping and control over undulations. Its handling, balance and
are as impressive as the Mondeo. Compare with 4WD version, you can
detect a touch more understeer at the limit. Torque steer, however, is
absent unless pushing hard in tight corners at low gear. Similarly, the
less torquey engine rarely pushes the car beyond its grip limit.
better than Audi A4 and nearly good enough to challenge the rear-drive
BMW 318i. The management made a correct decision: front-wheel-drive
in a Jaguar !
above report was last updated on 18 Mar
2002. All Rights Reserved.