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Jag AWD? (long with zero Audi content)

Text lifted shamelessly from the Sydney Morning Herald. US listers divide $
by 2 for approx value

A new baby Jaguar, Britain's rival for the BMW 3 Series, will use a novel
all-wheel-drive system when it arrives in 2001. Codenamed X400, the  Jaguar
will be the smallest, lowest-priced model in the company's history, costing
about $50,000 in Australia and styled for nostalgia lovers. It will
resemble the Jaguar Mark II of 1960.

 Ford, which owns the British brand, anticipates building 100,000 X400s a
year, making it the biggest-selling Jag of all time.

The surprise decision to use all-wheel-drive solves an engineering impasse
and saves face for Jaguar. The baby Jag will use the floorpan from Ford's
next generation Mondeo, also slated for 2001.

                     It is relatively easy to modify the front-drive Mondeo
platform to accommodate AWD. Using the Mondeo underpinnings saves Ford a
fortune, and enables the X400 to be developed quickly.

 The downside is a potential lack of Jaguar character, in a marque noted
for its ride and
 handling - but the AWD solution should give the X400 best-in-class
handling and may also impart a whiff of novelty. Little is known about the
type of drive system Jaguar will use, but it seems certain to be a
high-tech Detroit design.

The Ford-Jaguar stand-off came when stalwart British engineers vetoed any
suggestion of a front-drive Jaguar, fearing it would be "me-too" and not in
keeping with the badge's history; Ford's bean counters insisted that
developing a new rear-drive platform purely for the baby Jag was

Engines will be 2.5- and 3.0-litre V6s based on Ford's Duratec family,
which is used in
Australia in the Taurus. Jaguar will modify moving parts, cylinder heads
and electronic tuning  on these engines.

Ford is contemplating, and Jaguar is resisting, a price-leading 2.0-litre.
The 3.0-litre V6 will be used in the Jaguar X200 mid-sized sedan, due in
early 1999.

 Transmissions for the X400 will include four- and five-speed automatics
(the former for the base 2.0-litre) and a five-speed manual - currently,
Jaguar has no manual shift. The use of  Mondeo platform means the X400 will
be the first Jaguar with mass-market McPherson strut front suspension.

Styling presents the Jaguar design team with a problem. Jaguars
traditionally use old styling  cues, to ram home the company's unique
design reputation - but there has never been a Jaguar quite this small.

 Design chief Geoff Lawson and his team will "downscale" the X200's
styling, borrowing from BMW's "smaller cut of the same sausage" philosophy,
so the X400 will not be an especially roomy car. It will have roughly the
same external dimensions as the new BMW 3 Series.

The X400 will look like a modern, but smaller, version of the old Mark II.
It will be a rounded, sweeping, big-wheeled design with a large upright
oval grille (dripping with
chrome), but with modern, flush-fitting bumpers and accessories. Inside,
most versions will use wood and leather.

 Production starts at the ex-Ford factory at Halewood, near Liverpool, in
2001 and Jaguar is looking at a Far East assembly plant.