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Future models - Jaguar - X-Type - 2.1

Jaguar's frontal assault

Pulling not pushing: No rear wheelspin for this Jaguar.

A 2.1-litre X-Type is announced with - gasp - front-wheel drive

Jaguar logo6 Dec 2001

CAN it be true? A front-wheel drive Jaguar. It's enough to make an Englishman turn republican!The X-Type, which was the British luxury maker's first all-wheel drive, will become its first front-wheel drive car when a 2.1-litre V6 version goes on sale internationally next March.

The car will be offered as an entry-level fleet oriented model called Classic, as well as Sport and top-specification SE.

We can expect to see the 2.1-litre X-Type here around mid-year, but specification, pricing and range is far from finalised.

However, it can be expected to significantly undercut the 2.5 and 3.0-litre V6 X-Types, which kick off here with the 2.5 Sport at $68,150, perhaps even busting the $60,000 barrier if the Classic makes it.

The 2099cc unit is the familiar 24-valve AJ-V6 with a shorter stroke, producing an impressive 117kW at a high 6800rpm, and 200Nm of torque at 4100rpm.

Jaguar claims the five-speed manual version accelerates to 100km/h in 9.4 seconds (add one second for the auto) and has a top speed of 210km/h (deduct 5km/h for the auto). Claimed combined fuel economy is 9.2l/100km for the manual, and 10.0l/100km for the auto.

The deletion of drive to the rear wheels has helped cut kerb weight by as much as 145kg compared to the 2.5 and 3.0 AWD X-Types.

Jaguar's chief test driver, Mike Cross, said the aim with the company's first front-wheel drive car was to create a neutral, agile and stable chassis, with equipment such as the ZF variable-ratio power steering and front suspension design shared with the AWD models.

"Our engineers optimised the steering for the front-wheel drive chassis to ensure no corruption from either the engine or suspension," he said.

Standard equipment for the entry level 2.1 include driver's seat powered height adjust, air-conditioning, dual front, side and curtain airbags, front foglights, Bird's eye maple veneer, leather steering wheel, anti-lock braking and traction control.

Sport additions include 17-inch alloy wheels (the 2.1 gets plastic wheel covers), rear spoiler, cloth/leather sports seats, while the SE adds full leather, fully powered front seats, cruise control, climate control air-conditioning and trip computer.

Unsurprisingly, Jaguar predicts the majority of 2.1-litre X-Type buyers will be new to the marque. The UK and continental Europe are expected to account for 50 per cent of sales.

In Australia, the AWD X-Type looks like just falling short of the forecast 450 sales for 2001, with 263 sold since its October 1 debut. Up to 1500 X-Type sales are forecast here for 2002, including the 2.1.

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