Jaguar has confirmed four-wheel-drive models will join its range once again, for the first time since the AWD X-type was killed off back in 2009.
The first 4wd Jaguars will be the XJ and XF ranges. They'll be petrol-powered only, and just in saloon form for now, but don't get too excited if you're a UK customer: Jaguar has no plans to bring the all-paw big cats over here any time soon.
Why is Jaguar making all-wheel-drive cars?
To raise the appeal of their models in some of the most lucrative overseas markets. The AWD XJ and XF are expected to see greatest success in the more wintry parts of North America, as well as Russia, China, and Alpine continental Europe.
Jag says the United States is the world's happiest hunting ground for AWD sales; initially more than three-quarters of the AWD models will find homes Stateside.
Adding AWD opens up Jaguar's ranges to approximately 80% of the luxury saloon market, four times what it contests currently with only rear-drive cars.
Jaguar's all-wheel-drive models will have to play catch up with its bitterest German rivals, who already offer their own 4x4 systems: BMW offers xDrive-fitted models, Mercedes has 4Motion, and Audi has of course built so much of its brand around the security of Quatto drive.
No AWD Jags in the UK?
Nope, not during the 2013 model year, at least.
It seems that despite the country grinding to a halt every time there's a sharp frost, Jaguar doesn't think the extra heft and cost of four-wheel-drive Jags are justified in the home market. 'Just 5% of the luxury sector is four-wheel drive in the UK,' said a spokeswoman. 'They have only been engineered for left-hand drive for now.'
Unless that opinion (or the level of demand) changes, we'll just have to wait for the long-rumoured Jag crossover. Or just buy a JLR sister-brand Land Rover instead...
If you're not a UK resident and like the sound of an all-paw Jag, they'll be going into production at Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory from October 2012.