- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

Jaguar has a new lightweight for 2005. The popular XJ line of stylish sedans from Jaguar increases from three to five distinct model derivatives with two standard wheelbase models continuing from the 2004 model year.

New for 2005 is the return of the long wheelbase (LWB) format. This configuration is found as the XJ8 L, the Vanden Plas, and the Super V-8 at 390 supercharged horsepower. The new LWB entries make Jaguar the leader in the industry with the longest wheelbase and overall length in its class, featuring a new 124.4-inch wheelbase and 205.3-inch overall length.

This design allows for exceptional interior space, while still being compact enough for everyday drivability. The turning circle is a tight 39.5 feet, a figure that outmaneuvers the XJ LWB’s competitors.

The classic design of the XJ Jaguar sedans, introduced in 1968, have garnered the largest sales ever for Jaguar with more than 860,000 sold worldwide. Continuing on this success, it was a natural step to introduce a long-wheelbase version of the new XJ. This seventh-generation Jaguar XJ is the largest model ever produced by the luxury carmaker and the lightest in its class. Having said that, Jaguar’s answer to fuel economy, without sacrificing performance, is the use of lightweight materials formed and assembled in a manner found in the aerospace industry. It is this extraordinary technology that allows this new “stretch” to have exceptional weight savings capabilities.

Aluminum monocoque construction is the secret weapon that allows a car of these dimensions to achieve high strength and stiffness with no compromise in economy, emissions, or performance. In fact, fuel economy is best-in-class among segment competitors with a combined rating of as high as 22 miles per gallon.

The 2005 new XJ LWB cars are the first to have the complete body structure manufactured from aluminum alloy. Aluminum alloy is notable for its high strength and low weight. Aluminum is no stranger to Jaguar production; however, it is now used in a unique and innovative way. Unlike other aluminum-alloy-bodied cars, which typically use unstressed outer panels over a separate chassis, the XJ’s body shell uses conventional, stressed-skin monocoque construction. By employing advanced assembly techniques from the aerospace industry, including adhesive bonding and self-piercing rivets, the XJ uses lightweight aluminum alloys, rather than steel, as its principal body material. In effect, riveting is used in a similar way to spot welding on a steel shell, and adhesive bonding is used in a similar way to seam welding. Using both together produces immensely strong, durable joints and a lightweight body shell with exceptional torsional stiffness.

With this lightweight monocoque construction, any new XJ sedan is some 180 pounds lighter than the equivalent model from the previous generation, and significantly stronger. Because of exceptional shell stiffness and careful weight management, the LWB adds only 53 pounds of weight compared with the standard wheelbase models. “This beat our own weight-gain target by 20 percent,” said Mike Mohan, chief program engineer, XJ.

Other advantages are inherent in these materials and in Jaguar’s unique construction method. The most technically sophisticated XJ to date doesn’t disappoint in any category. Jaguar’s answer to economy and performance is found in this lightweight construction having a very beneficial effect on power-to-weight ratio; which is a major factor in almost all aspects of vehicle performance.

Reducing a vehicle’s weight (without compromising its strength) will improve its performance for the same power output. That not only improves straight-line performance, and especially acceleration, but buy allowing the engine to work less strenuously it also improves fuel consumption.

The best part of all is there is no compromise in luxury or style, both icons of Jaguar’s XJ line. The 2005 LWB XJ’s really do carry their own weight very nicely.

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