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Old 07-28-2002, 19:51   #1 (permalink)
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X-type newspaper review

it's a bit old (last year) but some may find it interesting - from The Australian

Jaguar X-type

15nov01

Verdict ***1/2

There's plenty of growl to the cheapest ever leaping cat, writes Robert Wilson

Jaguar X-type 2.5 Sport
Specs at time of test
Price: $68,150
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Engine: 2.5 litre V6
Power: 145kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 244Nm at 3000rpm
Performance: 0-100km/h in 8.3 seconds
Fuel consumption: 10.5l/100km (city); 6.6l/100km (hwy) manufacturer's claims; 12.2 l/100km on test
Fuel tank: 61 litres
Transmission: all-wheel drive, five-speed manual or five-speed automatic ($2600)
Turning circle: 10.84m
Standard equipment: Climate control air-conditioning, CD player, cruise control, electrically adjustable front seats, leather seats, heated exterior mirrors, rear spoiler 17-inch alloy wheels.
Safety features: Dual front, side and head protection airbags, anti-lock brakes with force distribution, lap-sash belts all seats, front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. Stability control optional

Value ***
Performance ****
Overall ***1/2


THE quintessence of British tradition is often invoked in connection with Jaguar. But that's not how the company made its name.


Since the 1930s Jaguar has seen off generations of impeccably credentialled competitors. Its old rivals Armstrong Siddeley, Lea-Francis, Alvis and Frazer-Nash are names now only found in automotive history books.


Jaguar prevailed not because it represented some quasi-mystical set of national characteristics but because its cars were faster, better looking and better value. Often they were not traditional at all, but scandalously modern.


But in the 21st century competition is global and one or two model lines is not enough to sustain a car maker. Enter the X-type – Jaguar's tilt at the big time. Its aim is to tempt buyers out of the entry- level sedans from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus.


The compact X-type also introduces a new mechanical layout. All previous Jaguars have been rear drive, but the X-type is all-wheel drive. With Jaguar now part of the Ford Motor Company, the X-type uses the front-drive platform of the latest Ford Mondeo – a car not seen in Australia – and adds drive to the rear wheels.

Modern production engineering means there's no reason why a prestige car that shares its underpinnings with a mass-market car should be compromised or second rate. But the X-type has to meet two demands. It should uphold Jaguar's traditions of style and performance – and it should be a credible rival to the European and Japanese competition.


Certainly the X-type's styling evokes previous models. It's strongly reminiscent of the large XJ series. To many eyes the headlights look too small but that may be because the rest of the automotive industry is going through a large headlamp phase. Designer Ian Callum says we'll get used to the small lamps in time. Aesthetic judgments aside, the styling works on one level – it's unmistakably a Jaguar.


The interior also draws on previous models for inspiration, revisiting the well-worn themes of wood and leather. It's reminiscent of the XJ series, although an optional touch screen controlling climate, audio, telephone and navigation emphatically makes the point that it's 2001, not 1951. It's an expensive option but one that works well, as do the cruise and audio controls on the steering wheel. The sport model features heavily bolstered seats which are comfortable, if bulky.

Front accommodation is as spacious as Jaguar's larger models. That's not to say it's huge, by any means – snugness is a Jaguar tradition. The rear compartment offers good foot and leg space but headroom is only acceptable. Fit and finish are fine but the interior does not give off quite the impression of functional opulence of a Mercedes or BMW.


Power comes from a choice of two V6 engines of 3.0 and 2.5 litres capacity. They are mounted sideways in the engine bay. Like the Ford Duratec motors from which they are derived, they give off a pleasing growl as they go about their business, but the 2.5, in particular, is sometimes worked hard by the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system. With its best power and torque developed at high revs it's not particularly suited to the X-type's substantial 1555kg weight. That German marque feeling of solidity and substance comes at a price the 2.5 litre engine can't quite pay.


The pay-off is in the handling. Jaguar has biased the X-type's all-wheel-drive system towards the rear wheels, which receive 60 per cent of the torque. The result is the feel of a rear-drive car – positive traction when exiting a corner – with the extra grip of all-wheel drive.

Curiously, this grip is combined with a relatively high degree of body roll. That's not all bad because it serves as feedback. The brakes and the speed-sensitive power steering also communicate with the driver, making the X-type a more tactile car to drive than many all-wheel-drive designs. Ride in the sport model is firm by Jaguar standards, although far from harsh.

The five-speed manual has a positive and well-oiled but slightly slow shift feel. Clutch take-up – a bugbear in the manual S-type – is better in the new car although there's occasionally a hint of driveline shunt. Automatic models retain the outdated Jaguar J-gate shift.


Safety equipment levels are more comparable to its German rivals with ABS brakes and front, side and head protection airbags as standard. Interestingly, traction control is unavailable and electronic stability control is optional rather than standard. The all-wheel-drive system performs a similar function by mechanical rather than electronic means.


The X-type is a good car that impresses gradually rather than in an overwhelming flash. It might lack the traffic-stopping style and relative bargain pricing of Jaguar's great cars, but as a first attempt in this class it is a credible alternative to BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

__________________
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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