Jaguar X-type: the facelift
Two-thousand-and-one seems a very long time ago now... The Millennium celebrations were slowly receding, George Bush junior stepped up to the presidential plate and Jaguar released its smallest car, the X-type. Remember that? Now all the launch hubbub has died down, the X-type has soldiered on into old age with barely a facelift to its name; the addition of an estate helped of course, but the X-type's fortunes have reflected those of Jaguar as a whole. It's not been selling especially well and Jaguar flogged just 32,500 last year worldwide (down from a high of twice that the year after launch). BMW sold more than half a million 3-series models last year. Time for Jaguar to act, then... The facelifted X-type will be seen later this year, going on sale in spring 2008.
So what's new on the facelifted X-type?
Jaguar is wielding the surgeon's knife inside and out. We hear that the changes will be akin to those foisted on the XJ luxury car, itself recently facelifted. So expect nothing radical: there will be a new grille (just visible under the disguise in our shots), different bumpers and side mouldings, fresh paint colours and new wheels. The shots at the rear show a newly emphasised Jaguar blade, the chrome strip across the bootlid.
What's new under the bonnet of the facelifted X-type?
Most of the changes will be to the skin of the X - both inside and out - although there will be some smaller tweaks to the mechanical spec. The 2.2 diesel will finally be available with automatic transmission, but there will be no clever swivelling Jaguar Select control for gear selection like on this autumn's XF. Elsewhere it's business as usual. The existing range of 2.0- and 2.2-litre diesels will take the lion's share of sales here, but the 2.5 and 3.0 V6 petrols will continue too. The former are front-wheel drive, the latter come with 4wd. We've always liked the way the X-type drives, and there's not a huge amount wrong with the dynamics. But we can't help feeling that it'll all be too little too late; the German compact execs have cornered the market - indeed they're entering the mass market - and the X-type lives on almost as a reminder of Jaguar's current woes under Ford (mis)management. Many critics cite the Mondeo-based X-type as one of the reasons for the Coventry firm's parlous financial state. Was it too little too late? We'll find out soon if there is a credible buyer for Jaguar, and sister company Land Rover. Watch this space...