by Greg Wilson
The best way to get some driving fun out of the 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 is to equip it with the manual 5-speed transmission and optional Sport Package with 17 inch tires and sport-tuned suspension. Baby’ Jags start at $42,950 but numerous options can boost that price into the upper $50,000 range.
Manual transmission brings out best in 2.5 litre V6
Last month, I drove a Jaguar X-Type equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission – this month, I got my hands on a base 2.5 litre model with the 5-speed manual transmission and optional Sport Package which includes a tuned suspension and 17 inch tires.
Click image to enlarge
Now when I say ‘base model’, I don’t mean a stripper with vinyl seats and a hand-cranked radio. All X-Types are sumptuously equipped starting with Connolly leather seats, automatic climate control, a 120 watt AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows, power seats, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, alloy wheels, side and curtain airbags, and of course, standard all-wheel-drive. The starting price is $42,950.
My test car was equipped with the optional Sport Package ($2,000) which includes Z-rated 17 inch tires and 17 inch alloy wheels, stiffer shocks and springs, front sport seats, grey stained wood veneer (instead of birds eye maple) and some unique exterior styling touches such as a small rear lip spoiler and rear skirt, body-coloured grille surround, and black trim around the windows.
On X-Type 2.5 models, the power passenger seat ($600) is required if you order the Sport Package (why, I don’t know). My car also had Dynamic Stability Control ($1,000) which requires (for equally unexplainable reasons) the Weather Package ($1,000) which includes heated front seats, headlamp washers and a heated windscreen. My car also included the Premium Package ($2,000) which includes 70/30 folding rear seatbacks, reverse parking sensors, rain sensing automatic wipers, power lumbar support, and trip computer. With a freight charge of $670, that brought the total ‘as tested’ price to $50,220.
There are other options available on the X-Type 2.5 which can boost its price to over $60,000. These include the 5-speed automatic transmission ($1,490), Navigation System ($3,900), Premium Sound system ($1,650) with a 6-disc CD changer and 180 watt 10 speaker stereo; Moonroof ($1,550), HID headlamps ($1,150), and Metallic Paint ($795).
To these eyes, a fully-equipped X-Type 2.5 seems overpriced when you start comparing what else you can buy for $60,000. How about an Acura 3.2TL Type S with 260 horsepower for $41,000? Still, the X-Type’s unique appeal based on Jaguar’s heritage and styling cannot be duplicated by, say, a well-equipped Japanese sport sedan.
Jaguar looks, Mondeo suspension
As I mentioned in my previous column, the X-Type shares some of its components, mainly suspension and powertrains, with the new European Ford Mondeo – a car that is getting rave reviews over there. Jaguar maintains that only 20% of the X-Types parts are shared with the Mondeo — in particular the manual transmission, fuel pump and windshield – but it’s also true that the X-Type’s 2.5 litre and 3.0 litre V6 engines and independent suspension are modified Ford components. The X-Type’s 2.5 litre DOHC 24 valve V6 engine has a new cylinder head and variable valve timing for increased torque and efficiency. It puts out a credible 194 horsepower @ 6800 rpm and 180 lb-ft of torque at @ 3000 rpm (compared to the 3.0 litre V6 which has 231 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 209 lb-ft at 3000 rpm.) The X-Type’s European-designed suspension is a fully independent front MacPherson strut/rear multi-link setup.
While the X-Type’s mechanicals may owe some allegiance to Ford, its styling is all Jaguar – there is a distinct family resemblance between the X-Type and the larger XJ sedans. In particular, the X-Type’s quad headlamps, sculpted hood lines, and flowing profile are reminiscent of the bigger Jags.
The X-Type 2.5 looks almost identical to the X-Type 3.0 model – the best way to tell them apart is to look for the ‘2.5’ badge on the rear deck. I noticed that there is a distinctive leaping cat hood ornament as well as a Jaguar crest on the grille – perhaps the crest is a backup in case the hood ornament is stolen..
The X-Type’s Connolly leather-covered front sport seats look and feel great and offer excellent side support when cornering. The power driver’s seat includes height and lumbar adjustment and there’s a standard manually-adjustable tilt/telescopic steering wheel, so it’s easy to find a good driving position. The interior is luxurious-looking although I prefer the warm tones of the birds eye maple wood trim than the dark-stained trim that comes with the Sport model. Visibility is generally very good, although the right rear height-adjustable head restraint can impede visibility slightly.
In general, the X-Type’s acceleration is comparable to competitors with similar sized engines. With the manual transmission, 0 to 100 km/h in the X-Type takes about 8.1 seconds and about half a second longer with the optional 5-speed automatic transmission. That’s not far off the BMW 325Xi AWD, Audi A4 1.8T AWD, Volvo S260 2.4 AWD, and Mercedes-Benz C240 Sport. The X-Type’s engine is not quite as smooth as the 325Xi and A4 1.8T though.
As well, the X-Type’s torque is not as good as the turbocharged Volvo S60 2.4T AWD and Audi A4 1.8T AWD which develop maximum torque around 2000 rpm compared to the X-Type’s 3000 rpm. Also noteworthy is that the X-Type’s average fuel consumption is higher than all of its competitors.
Under acceleration, I found that the 2.5 litre engine has an even torque curve and revs willingly up to its 6500 rpm redline — a sporty exhaust note from its dual tailpipes is audible but not noisy. Compared to the X-Type’s 3.0 litre though, the 2.5 litre engine lacks low and mid-range responsiveness, and that’s where the manual transmission comes in handy. By being able to select shift points, the driver can keep the revs above 3000 rpm where most of the power and torque lies.
I found the 5-speed manual shifter had a smooth, comfortable shifting motion while the clutch pedal offered a firm, but not overly heavy pedal motion. A spring loaded release mechanism on the shift lever must be pulled up in order to engage Reverse gear. My only complaint was that I couldn’t execute a really quick take-off because the clutch engages slowly, although smoothly. Also, I experienced some powertrain ‘lurch’ when changing gears.
The X-Type 2.5 is a comfortable highway cruiser: the engine does just 2,400 rpm at 100 km/h and 3000 rpm at 120 km/h.
Handling is excellent, with minimal lean and good balance. The optional Sport suspension makes the ride stiffer and creates some ‘bobbing’ at speed — but I found the ride comfortable rather than harsh. I thought the ride was particularly good considering the low-profile sidewalls of 45 series 17 inch performance radials. The tires on my test car were Continental Conti Touring Contact 225/45R-17 summer tires.
Brakes, which are four wheel discs with ABS, have a nice pedal feel and offer sure, straight stops. AJAC 100 to 0 braking tests show the X-Type stops in just 40 metres (132 ft.), a relatively short stopping distance.
The standard all-wheel-drive system incorporates a planetary gear centre differential and viscous coupling which distributes 60% of the power to the rear wheels and 40% of the power to the front wheels. If front or rear wheels begin to slip, more power is sent to the opposite end. My car also had optional Dynamic Stability Control which automatically brakes one wheel when the car begins to understeer or oversteer, thereby correcting steering direction. I didn’t have a chance to drive the X-Type in the snow, but the X-Type’s AWD system is designed to provide greater traction and directional control on any kind of slippery surface — in snow, the only drawback here would be the car’s low ground clearance.
Finally, when driving at night, I found the X-Type’s projector beam headlamps cast a wide, bright beam with a sharp upper cutoff while the high beams added more vertical light, but not quite as bright in intensity.
Jaguar interior typically rich
My test car’s interior was finished in black leather with a dark wood dash trim. The X-Type features four round gauges with a dark green backgrounds, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a Jaguar crest in the middle. The optional trip computer is operated by a button on left stalk which allows you to see average speed, odometer reading, trip odometer, range, average fuel economy and average speed.
The leather-covered front sport seats have unique suede upper side bolsters which seem to add a little extra grip when cornering. I also noted that the dark stained wood trim is not found on doors or console like the birds eye maple in other X-Types.
The automatic climate control system has an LCD display for temperature, fan speed, ventilation and outside temperature, and the standard 120 watt AM/FM/cassette offers great sound, but I noticed there was no Tune function. A 180 watt, 10 speaker stereo with 6 disc CD changer is optional.
Behind the leather-wrapped floor shifter is a single cupholder and handbrake. Between the seats is a handy bi-level storage compartment – the lower part will hold six CD’s, while the upper part is a shallow tray for storing small items like letters or keys. There is also a deep bin on the lower left dashboard for storing a cell phone or garage door opener.
The X-Type includes a remote key fob which includes a flip-out key, door unlock/lock, trunk unlock buttons, and alarm button.
At the rear, there is adequate but not generous headroom and legroom for two adults, though there are three seatbelts. The raised front seats allow generous rear footroom. The rear seats are sculpted with meaty side bolsters, and include a fold-down centre armrest with two cupholders. For storage, there are map pockets on the back of the front seats and rear door pockets.
My X-Type had optional 70/30 folding rear seatbacks which provide access from the carpeted trunk for longer objects. The 453 litre trunk is comparatively large in its class, and includes a full-size spare tire and alloy wheel under the floor.
Most mid-sized luxury sedans now offer 3.0 litre or bigger V6 engines, so the X-Type 2.5 has fewer direct competitors than the X-Type 3.0. The 2.5’s closest competitors would be the all-wheel-drive BMW 325Xi ($42,100), the Audi A4 1.8T Quattro ($37,225), and the Volvo S60 2.4T AWD ($43,995). Other competitors might include the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz C240 Sport ($47,500), the front-wheel-drive Saab 9-3 Viggen ($51,300), and the Subaru Legacy GT Limited AWD sedan ($34,395).
The X-Type offers comparable horsepower and acceleration to all of these cars (except the Viggen), but is not quite as roomy as the C240 and the Audi, and not quite as smooth as the BMW. It’s probably the most stylish of the bunch — my test car received frequent compliments from passers-by.
A stylish, luxurious compact luxury sedan with excellent handling, braking and the traction of all-wheel-drive — but engine could use more torque, and options can boost its price to almost $60,000.
|2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5|
|Price as tested||$50,220|
|Type||4-door, 5 passenger compact sedan|
|Layout||transverse front engine/all-wheel-drive|
|Engine||2.5 litre V6, DOHC, 16 valves|
|Horsepower||194 @ 6800 rpm|
|Torque||180 @ 3000 rpm|
|Transmission||5-speed manual (opt. 5-speed automatic)|
|Curb weight||1555 kg (3428 lb.)|
|Wheelbase||2710 mm (106.7 in.)|
|Length||4672 mm (183.9 in.)|
|Width||1789 mm (70.4 in.)|
|Height||1392 mm (54.8 in.)|
|Trunk space||453 litres (16.0 cu. ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 12.1 l/100 km (23 mpg)|
|Hwy: 7.8 l/100 km (36 mpg)|
|Warranty||4 yrs/80,000 km|