November 1, 2014

Jaguar to offer 4WD across its range – but does that mean for the UK too?

Jaguar has revealed it plans to offer all wheel drive models across its range for future models, but will the UK get the chance to buy a 4WD Jaguar?

Photo of 4WD Jaguar XJ & XF


We revealed almost two years ago that Jaguar were planning to give at least some of their cars a 4WD option to help mop up some extra sales in colder countries and North America’s snow belt. Which, with Land Rover as a sibling, made a lot of sense.

Not only was the lack of a four wheel drive platform hampering sales, but it was cited as one of the main reasons Jaguar hadn’t given the green light to an XF Estate. But things have moved on in the last couple of years and Jaguar has recently launched a 4WD XJ and 4WD XF (although not for the UK) and finally delivered the XF Sportbrake (but without a 4WD option).

Now, Jaguar has revealed it plans to offer a 4WD option across its entire range as soon as possible (yes, it seems that will also apply to the new F-Type and next generation XK too), which makes a lot of sense.

So far, Jaguar has only managed to offer 4WD on the XF and XJ with the new V6 supercharged engine, but that should change as Jaguar engineers re-jig Jaguar’s current (and future) engines to take the 4WD gubbins, which is great news.

It’s great news because that’s exactly what the Jaguar XJ Supercharged, in particular, needs; more traction. The 5.0 litre XJ is a stunningly quick super saloon, but it can be a bit of a handful, particularly when you’re making a swift exit from a junction. Sensible owners have taken to clicking the ‘Winter’ mode button to get a clean getaway, but 4WD would solve that problem. And a 4WD XJ could see the arrival of the 550PS engine from the XFR-S to create a Jaguar XJR. Very appealing.

But right across the Jaguar range 4WD would be a great addition, particularly as the Jaguar setup means almost all the traction still goes to the back wheels unless there’s slip in the mix, so even ‘purists’ shouldn’t object too much.

The only concern is whether Jaguar’s future 4WD offerings will be sold in the UK. Jaguar say the new 4WD XJ and XF aren’t being offered in the UK because there’s no demand, with the UK only buying around 5 per cent of its cars with an all wheel drive platform.

But it seems to us that it’s a chicken and egg problem; sales of 4WD cars in the UK are relatively low because the offerings are relatively modest. If more 4WD models were offered, sales would rise, particularly with the harsh winters of recent years focusing drivers’ minds on traction.

So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Jaguar will have a change of heart and offer a full range of 4WD cars in the UK.

And they could start by changing their minds and offering the new 4WD XJ and XF in their home market as soon as possible.

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