Due to go on sale in September, the 152bhp saloon and estate variants double the X-type diesel offering and should make the range a more attractive alternative in the German-dominated corporate sector, according to Jaguar’s UK managing director Phil Popham.
He said: ‘This is a conscious effort to line ourselves up against the German brands and the fact we are now best-in-class on benefit-in-kind tax liability means we are coming into the ring fighting fit.
‘We now have a great opportunity to use new price points, value for money and low cost of ownership to our advantage and we intend to make the most of it.
‘Three years ago, everybody under-estimated the extent and the speed of the swing to diesel in the premium segment. But we were still surprised when we came into the arena 18 months ago and soon discovered a pent-up demand for diesel Jaguars. We also found that the corporate opportunity was greater than we’d expected as long as we could offer the right engine choice.’
According to Popham, a new £19,995 price makes the entry-level 2.0D X-type a strong A4 rival and its new six-speed 2.2-litre stablemate, costing from £22,995, matches the market-leading BMW 320d in performance but is 7% cheaper.
He said: ‘We estimate that an 18% tax banding for the 2.2D gives business and corporate users a potential reduction in annual company car tax of around 3%.
‘Apart from its superior driving characteristics, this car is a package which should appeal to customers looking for comfort and upmarket motoring with comparatively low running costs.
‘Alongside that, our sub-£20,000 car beats all its main competitors as far as benefit-in-kind taxation is concerned and now comes with automatic air conditioning and electric rear windows as standard.’
The Euro IV-compliant 2.2-litre engine returns a claimed 47mpg on the combined cycle and is capable of covering more than 600 miles on a tank of fuel. The car, which introduces new paint shades and fresh alloy wheels, carries a £1,000 premium over 2.0-litre versions in similar trim. Coinciding with the launch of 2.2-litre versions, the X-type range has been rationalised to 25 models with only two examples, the 3.0-litre V6 petrol Sovereign and Sport estates, breaking the £30,000 barrier.
With electronic noise reduction gadgetry adjusting engine settings three times every millisecond, the lusty newcomer will be billed as one of the smoothest and quietest diesels in its class.
As in its application in the Ford Mondeo, the unit features an overboost facility to make 11% of additional torque available for up to 20 seconds as an aid to rapid overtaking manoeuvres.
Special acoustic trim lines the engine bay and the car’s undertray has been specially tuned to absorb some of the characteristic diesel clatter that comes with cold starts.
Engine mounts have also been developed to cancel out potential vibration into the chassis and advanced sound-cancelling equipment is claimed to promote exceptionally low noise levels. Popham added: ‘We are moving up a gear for the 2006 model year and the new 2.2 will win us a lot more fans.’
Behind the wheel
THE new 2.2-litre diesel is one of the fastest four-cylinder diesel cars available, but some clever engineering touches hold the sudden surge of turbo boost at bay to keep the power delivery seamless right through the rev range.
As a result, the 2.2 feels more akin to a petrol engine from the driving seat and looks set to win more converts to diesel.
Remarkably, economy of up to 60mpg is available during open road cruising, thanks to a genuine overdrive sixth gear which has the engine lazing along at only 2,000rpm at the legal limit.
Ideal for motorway cruising, the super-high top gear is strictly for out-of-town use because the car needs to be travelling at a minimum of 50mph before it can be fully exploited.
JAGUAR’S engineering team has worked wonders to make a good engine even more refined with the 2.0-litre X-type... and it’s done it again with this larger version.
As a result, the X-type gets broader appeal, with stronger performance and even more potential for use as a long distance business express, particularly in estate form. And as another bonus, the economy penalty over the 2.0-litre version is negligible.
Engine (cc): 2,198
Max power (bhp/rpm): 152/3,500
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 266/1,800
Top speed (mph): 137
0-62mph (sec): 8.9
Fuel consumption (mpg): 47.1
CO2 emissions (g/km): 159
On sale: September
Prices (OTR): £22,995-£29,665