History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.

Now, in 2013, Jaguar is planning a new 3 Series challenger based on the platform previewed by the C-X17 Concept, while Ford is attempting to take the latest Mondeo upmarket. The moves have both brands recognizing where, why, and how the X-Type failed. "It didn't look mature or powerful or anything. It was just a car," Jaguar's current head of advanced design, Julian Thomson, told PistonHeads. Basing the X-Type on a front-drive car while giving it styling that was meant for a rear-driver lead to proportions that "were plainly wrong," Thomson told PH. Ford's European head of quality, Gunnar Herrmann, added that the X-Type was "a fake Jaguar, because every piece I touch is Ford."

For what it's worth, the X-Type's successor in the segment will sport rear-drive, with plenty of input from Ian Callum. Thomson described the new model, which would challenge the 3 Series as having, "Big wheels right to the ends of the car, low bonnet, short overhangs, very low cabins." Sounds good to us.


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  • 79 Comments
      RobbyCough
      • 1 Year Ago
      The way people talk about the X-Type, you'd think it caused AIDS or something. At the time, Jaguar wasn't doing anything to move forward their car designs so making it look like a downsized XJ wasn't a horrible gamble. I can think of worse platforms for an entry-level luxury car than an AWD Ford Mondeo. Let's not forget that it was briefly offered as a wagon, and considering how all the comments around here would suggest every wagon model should have annual sales in excess of 50k, I'm surprised there's not more love for this thing. If it failed, it's because of the same reasons that Jaguar itself was failing at the time, not because this was a truly terrible car.
      Spartan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Say what you want, but the 02-04 Jaguar X-Type Sport 5MT 3.0L V6 was a hoot, the 05 and later had different AWD systems (read: less fun, more reliable) and felt like different cars. I had a 2002 V6 5MT Sport for a few years. The base/lux trim was just ugly. The Sport model was the one to have. With that being said, I welcome a RWD Jaguar Sport Sedan to take the BMW 3 head on.
        EXP Jawa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spartan
        We had one that was a 3.0L a/t in the fleet in '02, and a m/t version at another plant. They were entertaining cars. At the time, I had an SVT Contour, and the parallels were striking even though the X-Type's Mondeo underpinnings were a generation newer than my Contour's.
      cmjnapoli
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sorry to hear that Jaguar considers the X-Type a 'mistake'. I bought a 2006 VanDenPlas with all-wheel drive, which was one of the 'Types" that was dumpted onto the lease/rental market when sales were slow. After 50,000 miles I had my first and only mechanical problem, an electronic control module for the fan. My car sits out doors in all weather, under pine trees, and in hurricane winds. The paint, trim, and Mag wheels look like new! People regularly ask if I bought a new car... And I don't have trouble finding the car among all the look-a-likes that pass for "modern' styles. It runs great on regular gas, ( a Ford engineer clued me in on this little trick!). Don't bury the X-Type quit yet...
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cmjnapoli
        A co-worker of mine had a 2002 X-Type 2.5 AWD that he bought new, and sold last year with 160,000 miles. He didn't have to do anything other than routine maintenance and an oxygen sensor and absolutely loved the car.
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          I should say he replaced it with another Jag, a 2008 XJ which he loves even more.
      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I agree, but I feel hindsight will always be 20/20. Twelve years ago, I don't think the X-Type was all that bad considering what the competitors offered. Of course, it was no 3-Series, but neither was anything else. That was smack dab in the middle of the E46 life cycle, and right when the 2nd generation C-Class debuted. I can't think of much else there was to contend with in the entry-level luxury car segment at the time. Maybe an Acura TL? Let's not forget that what Cadillac was offering at the time was the Opel Omega-based Catera! I don't know how well they aged (reliability, interior pieces, etc.) so I can't comment on that aspect of it, but being based on the Mondeo means it shouldn't have been a huge developmental / financial undertaking either. Hearing that Ian Callum (one my favorite designers of modern times) is involved with the replacement though, is music to my ears! Or in this case... my eyes.
        Spartan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dwight Bynum Jr.
        The X-Type was the A4 before it was cool. No one else offered an AWD V6 manual transmission sport sedan in 2002, EXCEPT Jaguar. So many "enthusiasts" clamor about how they want an V6 manual transmission sport sedan and don't put their money where their mouth is. Hell, there was even a wagon offered for a while and we know how much people complain about not having that choice. I bought an '02 X-Type Sport 5MT and it was awesome. Many days, I wish I'd kept it. The amount of hate this car gets is unreal and unjustified.
      xtabay1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The X type wagon is actually a pretty nice looking car and very unique/rare
        raughle1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @xtabay1
        Totally agree. I kind of wanted one for awhile but forgot about it (because I see so few). It's not a stunner but it's nicely proportioned. For sure you'd be the only one in the parking lot wherever you went.
        Dane Grant
        • 1 Year Ago
        @xtabay1
        I just said that in my post, almost!
      timber
      • 1 Year Ago
      The X-type still sold quite well particularly at the beginning. The problem is that quality was a bit lacking, Ford heritage was a bit too obvious and engine options came too late (Diesel!) And the X-type was left to die on the market. By 2008 a new one had to be ready. German manufacturers don't only produce excellent cars within strong brands. They are also relentless with their 7 year (one mid refresh cycle) cycle. So the X-type was somewhat competitive in 2001 but by 2005 comparing this X-type with the E90 or the W204 in 2007 was just a joke.
      CJ_313
      • 1 Year Ago
      The X-Type was a good looking car in its day, the styling (inside & out) wasn't the problem. When it debuted for the 2002 MY, it was plagued with build quality issues and recalls, which I think were a much larger problem. By 2004 the quality control issues were mostly fixed, but the X-Type name was tarnished. It was also over-priced when it launched. I think the X-Type could have been salvaged as they still sold fairly well & Jaguar reduced the starting price quite a bit not long after it debuted, but it languished with no meaningful updates until it was finally discontinued. To call it a mistake or failure seems odd, as it may not have been competitive with the 3-series or C-class, but it wasn't a "flop".
      Dane Grant
      • 1 Year Ago
      I quite like the Estate version of this car.... Always thought it was interesting..... I think I will look on Autotrader this morning.... Fun to play!
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Given how nice the F-Type turned out, this new compact sports sedan could prove to be a real winner for them.
      me
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow they still don't get it. Xtype designs were actually its strong suit. It's a sexy car with good proportions. Take a 2001-2004 c class 3 series A4 TSX G35 sedan and IS300 and look see it parked next to a sport or vp edition with 17-18 in wheels. And it looks better even today by far. The interior was average in this segment a lil better if you had the NAV. The engine was ok with decent power at the time. It just wasn't put together well. Also the awd in xtypes are brilliant
      PTC DAWG
      • 1 Year Ago
      I saw a wagon version the other day south of Atlanta..
      express2day
      • 1 Year Ago
      The X-Type brought a lot of buyers/sales to the brand that wouldn't have otherwise come which I assume was a major goal. The X-Type accounted for about 50% of Jaguar's total sales during its first few years. Back in 2002 (first year for the X-Type), U.S. Jaguar sales were around 61K. Last year they were around 12K. If Jaguar wants to be more of a volume luxury brand, they need something that can bring buyers to the brand like the X-Type did. Hopefully the X-Type successor will do that for them.
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