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2004 Jaguar X-Type Compact Sedan

New Car Review of the 2004 Jaguar X-Type Compact Sedan.

Description: Compact Sedan
Base MSRP Range: $29,330 - $33,330
Invoice Price Range: $26,690 - $30,330

Assembled in England at Jaguar's Halewood plant, the X-Type luxury sports sedan for the compact class comes to North American markets in 2004 in two editions -- X-Type 2.5 and X-Type 3.0.

Both carry a computerized mechanism that applies engine power to all wheels. The device normally divides the engine's torque with forty percent sent to front wheels and sixty percent to the rear ones, but in slippery conditions a viscous coupling automatically transfers more force to whichever set of wheels -- front or rear -- can hold a better traction bite. Then factor into this physics equation the car's weight distribution biased toward front wheels by sixty percent -- a reverse of the torque split. The result: There's uncanny balance with the vehicle in motion, so much so that wet pavement and tight road curves fail to upset it.

Sleek skin drapes over a sensuous form that projects the familiar slink of a Jaguar prow with signature round headlamps offset by a twin-port grille rimmed in chrome. However, X-Type breaks the Jaguar mold of a low-cast tail because it hikes high to forge a wedge-shaped profile and craft the rare Jaguar asset of a surprisingly spacious trunk. It's large enough to hold a couple of sets of golf clubs.

A generous cockpit in X-Type adds twin front bucket seats and a rear bench for two or three, plus extensive touches of luxury and sophisticated electronic controls for comfort, navigation and safety.

The price-leading entry -- X-Type 2.5 -- contains a 2.5-liter six producing 192 hp. A second twin-cam V6 measures to 3.0 liters and drops into X-Type 3.0, with as much as 227 hp. A manual five-speed is available with either engine. A five-speed automatic with Jaguar's J-pattern gate for automatic as well as clutch-less manual shifts is also offered for the 2.5-liter plant but becomes the standard for the 3.0 six.