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Scoop! Jaguar X-Type chases youth

Wild X-Type: But maybe the new Sport won't be as wild as this racing concept revealed recently.

Jaguar vies for a younger demographic with an enhanced X-Type range

13 May 2004

JAGUAR is poised to provide a high-performance "sports line" package on its X-Type as part of a model realignment due in September.

To be unveiled at October’s Sydney motor show or at the Melbourne event in early March next year, it will be part of a pricing and model revamp for the three-year old range.

Jaguar Australia boss David Blackhall has confirmed to GoAuto that the current (and slow-selling) Sport moniker – applied as a cosmetic-only contrast package to the more luxury-focussed SE badge – will disappear from the X as well as the larger S-Type.

Competitors Audi and BMW have recently revealed sports-orientated additions to their respective X-Type rivals, with the $69,500 A4 1.8T S-Line and the 3 Series’ "Sport" – a suspension, wheel, cabin and trim package that adds about $2500 to the BMW’s price.

But only the Audi offers a sizeable performance increase, up from the regular $60,500 A4 1.8T’s 110kW to 140kW. This is the style of X-Type Jaguar wants.

Going by Audi’s example, the most inexpensive X-Type "sport line" should include all-wheel drive, begin from around $60,000 and offer power in the 140kW-plus region.

The current X-Type range is motivated by Ford Duratec-based V6s of 117kW 2.1, 145kW 2.5 and 172kW 3.0-litre capacities.

The new "sport line’s" biggest visual giveaway will be a mesh grille, a feature that was first applied to modern Jaguar sedans sold locally in the 1995 supercharged XJR, as well as a subtle bodykit.

Firmer suspension and a lower ride height, along with the de-rigueur 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels, metallic cabin trim and black leather upholstery, should also form part of the sportier package.

A six-speed manual option to the regular five-speed automatic gearbox may also be made available.

Jaguar believes that a move away from the limited cosmetic superficialities the current ‘Sport’ nomenclature brings to the X-Type will increase its appeal to younger consumers.

To this end, Mr Blackhall said Jaguar was considering implementing a low-end lease package that could make the X-Type more affordable. But he said Lexus’ current $148-per-week IS200 lease campaign was not quite the appropriate approach for his marque.

Mr Blackhall is also very keen to display the R-D6 Concept at this year’s Sydney event.

Featuring fastback styling and Mazda RX-8-like flipside doors, the 2003 Frankfurt motor show star definitely points to the look of future Jaguars. However it isn’t a certainty for a Sydney start.

Aspects of its styling should find their way onto the 2007 X-Type facelift, while the second generation X-Type due in 2009 may even be based on the R-D6’s basic design.

Meanwhile, to gauge public reaction only, Jaguar is expected to unveil the European market-only X-Type Estate in top-line 3.0-litre all-wheel drive guise at the Sydney show.

Met with critical acclaim in Europe, it is the first ever Jaguar wagon and has all-new bodywork rear of the B-pillars, courtesy of design boss Ian Callum.

Like the rest of the range, the X-Type sedan is the work of Jaguar’s late design chief Geoffrey Lawson.

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