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Old 11-07-2003, 09:31   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Tuned for Luxury: Jochen Arden Jaguar X-Type

Fancy Cat: Jochen Arden spices up Jaguarís X-Type

AutoWeek
By MAC MORRISON

Question: Whatís a Jaguar if not exclusive?
Answer: An X-Type.

Okay, letís get this straight.
We appreciate the X-Typeís strong powertrain, grippy chassis and all-season usability. But if we learned anything from our yearlong test of Coventryís entry-level cat, it was that we didnít feel as special behind the wheel as we anticipated. Oh, we tried to make our car stand out. We washed. We waxed. We got sideways. No one (except the gazillion other X-Type owners) noticed. Much too late (for us, not you), we discovered help was a mere ocean away, in the form of Jochen Arden.

Ardenís Jaguar association began as a dealer in 1982. Today, his Krefeld, Germany-based company (arden.de) engineers and produces cosmetic and engine upgrades, as well as everything in between, for the entire Jaguar line. Ardenís U.S. affiliate, XKs Unlimited in San Luis Obispo, California, stocks a range of parts for the S-Type, XK, earlier XJs (a product line for the new aluminum XJ arrives shortly) and X-Type.

To demonstrate the understated X-Typeís style potential, XKs own-er Jason Len equipped his personal 3.0-liter, manual-transmission car with Ardenís upper ($384) and lower ($452) stainless mesh grilles, front spoiler ($754), rear valance ($742) and side skirts ($749). Roadholding improves thanks to 18x8.5-inch Arden/OZ five-spoke, split-rim alloy wheels carrying Pirelli P Zero rubber ($3,867), and Arden/Eibach progressive-rate springs ($495) that reduce ride height by one inch. Len kept the OEM shocks, which XKs recommends for new cars, but Eibach units are available to those for whom OEM is a four-letter word. Ardenís four-tip stainless muffler exhaust ($1,668, requires rear valance) and aluminum pedal kit with dead pedal ($430) complete the car.

The Arden conversion, which XKs completes in about a day (expect to pay around $1,300 for paintwork and installation), works wonders for the stock X-Typeís runt-of-the-litter aura; the car of choice for upwardly mobile 30-somethings no longer looks so out of place in the CEOís parking space. With its poised-to-strike stance, chunky bodywork and gurgling exhaust note, the baby Jag at last possesses enough panache and, yes, exclusivity, to match the rest of the marqueís line.
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