The Jaguars on all fours
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2013 Jaguar XF/XJ AWD
Jaguars have long been known for their exclusivity and British craftsmanship but have been plagued by a bad reputation on reliability to which past owners still lament about. Though the cars always had the ‘wow’ factor, its reputation was terribly marred when it came to reliability. And to add its woes, it almost faced the axe by its then owners Ford. It was not until the Indian car and truck manufacturing giant Tata stepped, that Jaguar was given a new lease of life.
Fast forward to a few years later and Jaguar Land Rover group have seen their profits go just one way… up! Though the XF and the XJ were enjoying good sales in the North American market, there was one thing lacking that the competition had taken advantage of — it was the all-wheel drive feature that most Canadian drivers would opt for taking into consideration the snowy conditions in the region.
For Jaguar, introducing an AWD model was no big deal at all. Their close relative Land Rover is almost unbeatable when it comes to all-wheel drive vehicles. So come 2013, Jaguar is offering the XF and the XJ in AWD versions for a few dollars more. Both the models now come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a new engine Auto Stop/Start system for better fuel efficiency. After driving both the models for a week, I have truly fallen in love with these elegant machines that exude British royalty in every sense of the word.
For 2013, the Jaguar flagship sedan, the XJ, comes with a new 3-litre 340hp supercharged V6 engine and Instinctive All-Wheel Drive while the 5-litre V8 continues in supercharged 470hp and 510hp forms. The exterior hasn’t seen changes since the new generation was introduced in 2011. The XJ model line for 2013 includes standard and long-wheelbase (XJL) versions, the latter offering 1121 mm of rear seat legroom, 132 mm more than in the standard-wheelbase model. The long-wheelbase XJL models offer option packages that heighten luxury for the rear cabin and facilitate mobile office capability.
The XJ interior is the most luxurious ever offered in a Jaguar, blending in-demand infotainment technology with a wide choice of leather and wood finishes. One can never get enough of the rotary gear selector – called the JaguarDrive selector — that rises out of the centre console every time the car starts. With gadgets never ceasing to thrill, Jaguar has thrown in another cool feature in the XF. The air vents roll open and close every time the air conditioner is turned on or off. I was, however, disappointed to see the absence of the automatic folding side view mirrors in the XF. The XJ did have the feature.
Two new Jaguar powertrains for 2013 combine a broad powerband with high efficiency, along with the refined performance expected from a Jaguar. The new DOHC 3-litre supercharged V6 engine added to the XF and XJ lines is based on the same architecture and technology as the brand’s supercharged 5-litre V8. The new supercharged 3-litre engine provides performance comparable to the naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 it replaces in the XF line, including zero to 100km/h acceleration in just 6.4 seconds5, but with better fuel efficiency.
The new DOHC 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine added to the XF line harnesses performance-enhancing technologies including direct fuel injection, low-inertia turbocharging and variable valve timing control on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. The 2-litre engine delivers 240hp and sustains a 251 lb.-ft. torque peak from 2,000-4,000 rpm. Teamed with the new eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine gives the 2013 XF spirited performance.
The new Jaguar Instinctive All-Wheel Drive system is exclusively available with the new supercharged 3-litre V6 engine in the 2013 XF and XJ models. The system’s active power transfer control technology adds the benefit of enhanced all-season traction while retaining the sporty agility and steering feel of the rear-wheel drive models. In dry-road conditions, the electronically controlled wet multi-plate clutch sends a small amount of “pre-load” torque to the front wheels as the vehicle starts off, and then seamlessly sends most torque to the rear wheels once underway. Instinctive All-Wheel Drive can transfer up to 50 percent of available torque to the front wheels, either in response to wheel slip or to pre-empt the possibility of rear-wheel slip.
In ‘winter’ mode, the system sends more “pre-load” torque to the front wheels before switching to a 30:70 torque share between front and rear to maximize traction on slippery surfaces. However, for pure driving pleasure, turning it into ‘dynamic’ mode, is the way to go! In the case of the XJ, when ‘dynamic’ mode is selected, the whole dash turns into a deep red glow indicating its ‘serious business’. In ‘dynamic’ mode, gearshift points are raised, and the suspension stiffens . You could safely say, the car gets into its true character, Jaguar-like!
Coming to the sound department, the 2013 Jaguar XF and XF 3.0 models come standard with a 250-watt Jaguar premium audio system with 10 speakers and now offer a choice between two new premium audio systems from Meridian, the renowned British maker of high-end home audio equipment and speakers. This can be upgraded to an optional Meridian 825-watt surround system.
I have to say driving the AWDs gave me some extra confidence to push a little harder and harder on twists and turns. Both the XF and the XJ drove like nothing else mattered. I was fortunate enough to get some snow during my time with the XJ. Again, the XJ performed like a true cat on all fours. At this point, I’m positive the Jags will take a huge bite out of the competition’s market share.
The XF 2.0L I4T RWD starts at $53,500 while the XF 3.0L V6 S/C AWD starts at $61,500. The XJ 3.0L AWD is priced at $89,000 and goes all the way up to $128,500 for the XJL 5.0L Supersport! Why would anyone buy a Jaguar, you might ask? The Jaguars are a class act!