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Jaguar AWD (Petrina Gentile for The Globe and Mail)
Jaguar AWD (Petrina Gentile for The Globe and Mail)

First Look: Jaguar AWD

Jaguar adds AWD to 2013 XF and XJ lineup Add to ...

If a cat has nine lives, Jaguar is breathing new life into one of them.

For 2013 is adding a new all-wheel-drive system to its XF and XJ models as well as new engines, new transmissions and new innovative technology. All designed to boost Jaguar sales higher.

“Jaguar Land Rover as a whole has been doing quite well. Last year, we were up 18 per cent globally. We generated a billion and a half in profits and this year we’re on pace to do something similar. … We have a plan to invest [£1.5-million] in product development each year for the next five years. That’s a huge amount of money that’s enabling us to develop the technologies like the new powertrains,” says David Pryor, brand vice-president, Jaguar North America.

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Jaguar officials unveiled the new powertrains at a flashy press conference in NYC’s trendy meat-packing district. Despite the 30 Celsius-plus temperatures, Jaguar created a winter wonderland under a life-size snow globe complete with snowflakes made of bubbles while NBC’s 30 Rock celebs Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski jumped out of a 2013 Jaguar XJ 3.0 AWD and two-time Olympic figure skating champ Johnny Weir skated circles around the sedan.

The Jaguar Instinctive All-Wheel Drive system is a big selling feature for the brand. Available on the 2013 XF and XJ, the AWD system adds the safety benefit of enhanced traction year-round, in the rain or snow. In dry-road conditions, the AWD system favors the steering-wheel feel of its rear-wheel drive siblings. Normally, it sends most of the torque to the rear wheels, but if a wheel starts slipping, the system can transfer up to 50 percent of the torque to the front wheels. The active electronically controlled system constantly monitors grip levels, steering and throttle inputs to predict rear-tire slip and send torque to the front wheels when needed to help increase traction and control on the road.

Besides the available all-wheel drive system, Jaguar is also following in the footsteps of its luxury counterparts by offering two new downsized engines. The 2013 Jaguar XF gets a 2.0-litre, DOHC, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which delivers 240 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. It has direct fuel injection, low-inertia turbocharging, and variable valve timing control on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. The XF and XJ both also add a 3.0-litre, DOHC, supercharged V-6 engine to the lineup that pumps out 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque and is based on the same architecture and technology as Jaguar’s 5-litre supercharged V-8. In the XF, the new supercharged 3-litre delivers performance comparable to the naturally aspirated 5-litre V-8 engine it replaces. It’ll hit zero to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds while returning better fuel economy figures. The supercharged V-6 engine averages 9.8 L/100 km combined driving; the more fuel-efficient four-banger returns a combined fuel economy of 8.9 L/100 km. On the XJ 3.0-litre AWD, the fuel economy has improved significantly over the previous V-8 model – it is 9.8 L/100 km combined driving versus 11 L/100km combined driving for the outgoing 5.0-litre V8 model.

Jaguar’s AWD system is only available on the 3-litre supercharged V-6 engine in the 2013 XF and XJ models. Jaguar also finally catches up to its German competitors by offering an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the former six-speed, in all XFs and XJs. Some trims also get the added benefit of fuel saving technology including an auto engine start/stop system that kills the engine when stopped and restarts automatically to save gas and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The auto start/stop function comes on the supercharged V-6 and V-8 models. Among the other changes on the XF and XJ are more equipment perks such as premium audio systems developed by Meridian, the British maker of high-end home audio components and speakers, and an upgraded navigation and infotainment system.

For 2013, the Jaguar XK expands its lineup with a new Touring coupe and convertible, with aluminum construction and 5-litre V-8 engines ranging from 385 hp to 550 hp. Limited-production 300 km/h XKR-S models are available, too. But there are only 12 coupes and 8 convertibles up for grabs in Canada for 2013. . Prices for the 2013 Jaguar XK range from $98,625 to $146,000.

Prices for the 2013 Jaguar XJ 3.0L AWD sedan, the base model, start at $89,000; an XJL 3.0L AWD Portfolio (L stands for long-wheelbase version, which adds 132 mm of extra rear seat legroom compared to the standard model) trim costs $96,000. Prices for the 2013 Jaguar XFs aren’t available yet. The 2013 Jaguar XJ AWD offerings go on sale in December, followed by the XF AWD in January.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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