- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2003

Setting mileage benchmarks is usually not what one would expect to hear from a luxury automaker. But this week Ford Motor Co.’s Jaguar division is tooting its horn for just that reason.
   
   It seems that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that Jaguar’s new 2004 XJ8, its flagship model, has achieved a best-in-class highway rating of 28 miles per gallon.
   
   The city rating was 18 miles per gallon, putting the Jaguar in a dead heat with BMW’s 745i.
   
   The Jag however wins the overall with a combined 22 miles per gallon.
   
   What makes this luxury leaper so light on its feet?
   
   Well, the yet-to-be-released XJ is constructed using lightweight aluminum and assembly techniques from the aerospace industry, such as self-piercing rivets and epoxy adhesives, both lots lighter than standard rivets and bolts.
   
   The 2004 is almost 200 pounds lighter than the previous-generation XJ, and while 200 pounds in a large car doesn’t sound like a great deal, consider that the new Jaguar is longer, wider and taller, as well as lighter, than the vehicle it replaces.
   
   The reduced weight also helps the new Jaguar go faster. The company claims that accelerations time from zero to 60 is only 6.3 seconds, far quicker than the 6.9 seconds tested in the 2003 XJ.
   
   While I didn’t put a stopwatch on it, I can personally attest that during early drive tests the XJ was not only quick but also exhilarating.
   
   The XJR, Jaguar’s supercharged version that reaps 390 horsepower, was even more so with a zero-to-60 time of a mere five seconds, and there’s no “gas guzzler” tax.
   
   Combine that with the lighter weight and a stiffer body and the new XJ’s performance is over the top.
   
   I really didn’t want to give up either version at the conclusion of the test drives but they made us do so nevertheless.
   
   Of course the XJR gives up some of that ballyhoo regarding gas mileage that the normally aspirated version is glowing about, but when one considers the power rating of the R, the 17 miles per gallon city and 24 miles per gallon highway, is quite remarkable.
   
   So the efficient, elegant and entertaining Jaguar XJ sets environmentally favorable benchmarks, indeed something to be excited about.


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