1 May 2002
By CHRIS HARRIS
FOR years people were expecting Jaguar to release competitors to the big-selling BMW 3 and 5 Series.
And in the space of three years Jaguar went from offering just one sedan – the XJ – to three. The X-Type, the last to be released, was the British marque’s answer to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-class and Audi A4.
But it was constrained by two things – 100 per cent owner Ford’s insistence on basing the baby Jaguar on the fine but front-wheel drive Ford Mondeo II platform, and the company’s heritage that dictated retro styling – in the X-Type’s case a shrunken 1968 XJ sedan.
Both conspired to scuttle sales and keep Jaguar from profitability, particularly in the vital US market where the X-Type failed to find a large enough audience.
Using the Mondeo II platform was not such a bad start, and the front-wheel drive family car was extremely talented in the dynamics department.
And only one front-wheel drive X-Type was offered, the smooth but not very powerful 117kW/200Nm 2.1-litre V6 mated – like all models – to a five-speed automatic or five-speed manual transaxle.
Meanwhile the 145kW/244Nm 2.5-litre V6 was a more convincing sports sedan, courtesy of its full-time all-wheel drive and healthier power and torque output.
The top-line X-Type was the 3.0, powered by a 172kW/284Nm 2967cc engine, also driving all-four wheels.
So the X-Type was modern underneath that seen-it-all-before exterior, but the cabin was also a shine to yesteryear, with lashings of wood and a blocky dash that could not stand comparison with Audi’s worst efforts, let alone its best.
From February ’04 a model-range upgrade saw more standard equipment added, while the 2.5 V6 models vanished in a rationalised range 2.1 V6 FWD and 3.0 V6 AWD range in early ’05.
The MY08 Jaguar X-Type range on sale Down Under mid 2007 gained an entry-level model offering a claimed $9000 worth of extra value for a recommended retail price increase of $1000.
Priced from $53,990, the 2.1 LE model variant will be fitted standard with dynamic stability control, 17-inch Belize alloy wheels, 10-way electric adjustment (including lumbar) on both front seats, three-position memory function for the driver’s seat and wing mirrors, an electric fold-back function for the exterior mirrors, a sliding front armrest, and rear head restraints.
Exterior changes to all models include a “bright mesh” grille.