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Jaguar joins AWD club

2013 Jaguar XF and XJ sedans will be available with all-wheel-drive

Published: August 17, 2012, 2:00 PM

2013 Jaguar XJ with AWD

If you're going to play the game successfully you've got to have the right equipment. In the North American luxury sedan market that means you need all-wheel-drive.

While Audi is widely recognized as the AWD pioneer in that market, the fact is that the majority of BMWs and Mercedes-Benz sold in Canada now are also equipped with all-wheel-drive.

Jaguar is now joining that club. The 2013 Jaguar XF and XJ sedans with the company's new 340-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-litre V-6 engine will be available in selected markets, including North America, with what the company calls Instinctive All-Wheel Drive (IAWD).

It's the first time Jaguar will offer AWD here since sales of the ill-fated X-Type were discontinued after the 2008 model year.

Jaguar engineers spent 18 months testing the new all-wheel drive system in a variety of conditions, including the frozen lakes and split friction coefficient surfaces of the Jaguar Land Rover development facility in northern Sweden.

The active torque-management IAWD system employs an active power transfer control technology that is said to provide the benefit of enhanced all-season traction while retaining the sporty agility and steering feel of the rear-wheel drive versions.

It has a performance-oriented rear-drive bias which can shift power to the front wheels to either pre-empt or counter wheel-slip.

The IAWD system doesn't sacrifice the agile feel that Jaguar's rear-wheel-drive cars have, according to David Pryor, brand vice president of Jaguar North America.

"There has been quite a lot of tuning of the suspension so that in most conditions you have 100% of the power going to the rear wheels and it is only when you need the traction that we send it to the front," he said. "Because of that, steering stays communicative and light."

The AWD models are making their public debut in North America this weekend in a unique over-sized snow-globe styled display called Jaguar CHILL NY in New York City's High Line Park.

Various personalities, including 30 Rock stars Jane Krakowski will be on hand to promote the introduction.