2004 Jaguar X-Type least expensive all-wheel-drive sport luxury sedan
By Bruce W. Smith - Special to GCN
Jaguar is a brand that instantly brings elegance and
richness to mind. The XJ, and XK8/XKR coupes are some of the most
technically advanced luxury cars on the road, with prices that are
targeted for the rich and famous.
But Jaguar also brings a level of high-class and
high-technology to mid-size budgets in the form of the S-Type sedan that
debuted in 1999, and the all-wheel-drive X-Type that hit the entry-level
mid-luxury market in 2002.
Jaguar’s 2004 X-Type 3.0, which is based on the
Lincoln LS platform and is the least expensive Jaguar offered, competes
against the Acura TL and Lexus ES300 in comfort and handling, and the Audi
A4 in traction. Best of all, the 2004 model is priced at $34,395.
Here’s what the new model offers:
Only compact luxury sedan in class to offer all-wheel drive
Effective $5,000* price reduction on fully-equipped 2004 3.0
Base price of 2004 2.5 V6 stays at under $30,000.
Optional 'Sport' package on 2004 3.0 V6 now features:
18-inch wheels - up from 17-inch.
320-Watt 10-speaker Premium Alpine audio most powerful in class.
New alloy wheel design for each 2004 X-TYPE model.
New exterior colors for 2004, along with new Sapele wood
veneer and new shades of leather seating surfaces.
Two models available in North America; X-TYPE 2.5 with 192
bhp 2.5-liter AJ-V6, and X-TYPE 3.0 with a 227 bhp 3.0-liter AJ-V6
Five-speed manual standard on 2.5, with five-speed automatic
as an option; 3.0 comes with five-speed automatic as standard. Five-speed
manual is available as a no-cost option with the Sport package.
Jaguar says the reduced pricing makes the baby Jag
even more attractive in a very competitive entry-level sport
The reduction in MSRP from the '03 X-TYPE 3.0 price
of $36,970 to $34,395 represents a saving of $2,675. The '04 X-TYPE 3.0
will be equipped as standard with a power moonroof and split folding rear
seat (normally a $1,750 option); a wood/leather steering wheel (value
$350) and auto headlamps (value $125) - equipment worth a total of $2,225.
"First and foremost, we set out to create a true
Jaguar,” says Ian Callum, Director of Jaguar Design. “From whichever angle
you view the X-Type, it has a strong, instantly recognizable Jaguar
That’s true. From front, rear, or side, the X-Type
evokes strong styling cues from the XJ-series, the XK sports car and
Introduced in August 2001, the X-Type was the first
compact-sized Jaguar since the classic Mark II of the early 1960s. It’s
seven inches shorter than the S-Type and has a subtle wedge shape, a first
for Jaguar. (Callum says Previously the line was always linear,
horizontal, so as to stretch the length of the car visually.)
"The wedge was important to ensure lots of trunk
space," explains Wayne Burgess, principal designer on the new entry. "The
tail-up, nose-down attitude was also key to giving the car a get-up-and-go
stance. Without the wedge, the car would look very static."
As for the exterior styling, Callum points out that
it was a deliberate move to pick-up styling cues from the previous XJ
sedan. Particularly what he calls the XJ 'face'—the quad headlamps, the
grille design and shape of the hood.
"Since Jaguar was entering into a sector of the
market people didn't immediately identify us with - the compact luxury
market - we had to enter with something people recognized."
There’s even more to the X-Type being familiar—even
though it’s more esoteric than visual.
to Simon Sproule, vice-president of public affairs for Jaguar Cars North
America, the S shares 40 percent of its parts, including the chassis and
engine block, with the Lincoln LS. Part of the suspension, the cylinder
heads, intake, exhaust system, and the transmission engineering come
straight from Jaguar.
POWER & TRACTION
Under the hood of this four-door sports sedan is a
227-horsepower 3.0L V6 (Ford Taurus block) that is smooth and quiet.
Acceleration is brisk, but not the fastest in its
class. Both the throttle and the five-speed automatic could be tuned to be
a bit quicker on the downshifts; even in the “sport” mode, the car is
still a bit slow to respond unless you are aggressive with the gas pedal.
Fuel economy is very acceptable in this day when the
cost of gasoline is well above $2 a gallon (the Jag uses Premium.) EPA
numbers show 18/25. Combined city and
interstate driving is just under 20mpg, which is what we saw driving more
than 300 miles.
Where the all-wheel-drive
baby Jag really shines is on wet pavement and slippery roads. The AWD
system keeps the tires planted and car under control in situations where
front- or rear-wheel-drive competitors are searching for traction.
The Jag’s advanced
all-wheel drive system makes it fun to drive regardless of weather.
Traction-4 is the first all-wheel drive system in Jaguar's history, and an
innovation that sets the X-Type apart from competitors like the Audi A4.
"Traction-4 is all about
the way the car performs on the road and its inherent stability. The
simple explanation is that it makes the X-TYPE feel bolted to the road
surface. It doesn't matter whether road conditions are wet, dry, or snowy,
the car feels stable," says Phil Hodgkinson, Director, Jaguar Product
senses the difference in speed between the front and rear wheels. Under
normal driving conditions, 40 percent of the engine's power goes to the
front wheels and 60 percent to the rear. However, if the rear wheels start
to slip up to 60 percent of the engine's power is automatically, and
seamlessly, directed to the front wheels—and vice-versa if the front
wheels begin to spin.
"This is what gives the
X-TYPE its sporty, agile handling," explains Hodgkinson. "It feels like a
rear-wheel drive car and that will always appeal more to the enthusiastic
We had the opportunity to
test it in all those conditions when a late spring storm dropped snow and
rain in the mountains ringing California’s high desert. The Jag never
skipped a beat on the slippery roads —and neither did our hearts.
Occupant safety is a big deal with Jaguar, and the
X-Type is not shy on the protection it offers.
According to Phil Hodgkinson, who directs some 300
engineers at Jaguar's engineering center at Whitley in the UK and scores
of Jaguar component suppliers on both sides of the Atlantic, "The most
impressive features on the X-Type are the ones you don't see. The
so-called ‘passive’ safety features, the unseen systems and components
that help protect those inside."
Hodgkinsons uses the brake pedal as a key example. He
explains that real-world research shows that in the
milliseconds after a major head-on collision, the driver's feet can flail
around in the footwell, often smashing into the pedal causing serious
In the X-Type that isn’t going to happen because the
rod that connects the pedal to the brake servo is designed to snap at its
thinnest point. As soon as the pedal is hit the rod snaps, and the pedal
sinks to the floor out of the way of vulnerable feet. This happens all in
a fraction of a second.
Another area where the X-Type broke new ground when
it debuted in 2001was in its use of side-curtain air bags.
“Picture an inflatable pool float dropping down to
cover both front and rear side windows - in six milliseconds flat. As a
passenger's head gets snapped towards the side window glass in a side
impact, the curtain bag is there to protect and cushion,” explains
“Each curtain - there's one on each side of the car -
is located above the doors between the headliner and the door seals. On
impact, the bag deploys downwards and is tethered at both ends to ensure
that it's held squarely in position across the window.”
This Jaguar “ring of safety” provides a lot of
protection for the occupants and also includes driver and front passenger
air bags, as well as side air bags that deploy from the outer side
bolsters of each front seat.
Inside the X-Type it’s leather-and-wood; the new
model also sports a sunroof, split folding rear seat, and new four-spoke
wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel.
"People buying this car
are very selective. Much more so than someone buying, say, an XJ8 or XK.
An X-Type is their primary vehicle,” says Callum. It will have to do the
grocery run. Take the kids to school. It'll be used for vacations.
Packaging was key."
explained that when an early pre-production model was shown to potential
buyers, styling was not their first consideration. They went straight for
"The first thing they did
was sit in the back, open the trunk, fold down the rear seat. Yes, they
loved the shape, but they wanted to know what the headroom was like, and
whether the trunk was big enough. Whether the car was practical."
That's why Callum's
interior design team made it a priority to offer a rear seat back that
splits 70/30 and folds flat to give even more luggage space - plus the
ability to carry long objects like skis.
In addition, Mark
Humphreys, the 30-year old principal ergonomist for X-Type.Jaguar, says
there are no fewer than 29 separate storage areas in the cabin. "Count
them; 29 separate, individual storage compartments Thirty if you include
"We've included places to
store phones, cassettes, CDs, mocha lattes, pens, maps, tissues. Even ice
scrapers and an umbrella. There's even a retractable hook on the glove box
release to hold a handbag, small shopping bag or Chinese take-out. It
keeps the contents from spilling, or rolling around on the floor."
Humphries says they
strived to make the baby Jag feel spacious. To do that they included
stretch-out space for rear seat passengers by creating more space under
the front seats and scooping out the backs of the front seats.
"We also raised the seat
cushion in the rear to give those in the back a slightly better view over
the shoulders of those in front," says Humphries. "It goes against the
ergonomist's grain to steal headroom, but it makes all the difference."
Nothing is lost in visual
appeal, either. The 2004 model’s standard features include Sapele rather
than Bird's eye Maple veneers combined with soft, luxurious trim
materials, and leather-covered seating surfaces.
The interior is very
pleasant. The sound system is rich as are the appointments. The overall
impression is the Jaguar heritage has been integrated quite well in the
baby of the pack, positioning it nicely against some formidable
So, if you want an
entry-level luxury sports sedan that accelerates like a Mercedes C320,
sticks to the road like an A4 Audi, and corners like a BMW 330, you’d do
well taking this cat for a spin around the country.
Engine type: 24V 2495cc V6
Power: 192 bhp (SAE) @ 6,800rpm
Torque: 178 lb-ft @ 3,000rpm
Transmission: 5-sp manual (5-sp auto optional)
Performance: 0-60 mph: 7.9 sec (man), 8.5secs (auto)
Manual, city/highway: 19/28 for 2003 (2004
Auto, city/highway: 19/26 for 2003 (2004
Engine type: 24V 2967cc V6
Power: 227 bhp (SAE) @ 6,800rpm
Torque: 206 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission: 5-sp auto (5-sp manual no cost option w/Sport package)
Performance: 0-60 mph: 6.6 sec (man), 7.1 sec (auto)
EPA mileage:Manual, city/highway: 18/28 Auto, city/highway: 18/25
GCN Observed: 19.6