|Jaguar jumps on the European diesel bandwagon, adding a 2.0L four-cylinder to the list of optional powerplants for the X-Type.|
Aren’t Jaguars all about silky smooth 6- and 8-cylinder petrol power? And in an everchanging world, isn’t Jaguar that last bastion of tradition?
Both of course are true, but on the principle that if you can’t beat ‘em, you have to join them, Jaguar has fallen in line with Europe’s love affair with the diesel engine. It used to be all about simple economics. The more you drove, the less per mile it cost you with a diesel under the hood.
Now — and this might come as a surprise to those in the U.S. — it’s a matter of choice. People love the way the modern diesel drives with oodles of torque in the mid-range and quiet high speed cruising (and we’re talking 100 mph plus for mile after mile here, not pottering along at 60 mph). The economy is seen almost as a bonus.
But the petrol engine is fighting back with new FSI engines. First was Volkswagen’s fourcylinder 1.4L FSI engine which uses stratified direct injection, similar to the direct injection in a diesel engine, to give remarkable economy. The fuel is injected into the combustion chamber at a pressure of 100 bar. Direct injection allows precise control of the quantity of fuel injected and the fuel spray pattern, bringing the petrol engine closer to the efficiency of a diesel.
Volkswagen claims that compared with other petrol engines of equivalent power, FSI can provide an improvement of around 15 percent in fuel consumption.
This gives the small Polo FSI a combined fuel economy of 47.9 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 142 g/km putting it in the lowest U.K. company car tax bracket.
And VW in the U.K. sells the FSI Polo for about $300 less than the 1.4L TDI diesel version — and you get 86 PS in the petrol against 75 PS in the diesel.
Also new is the Audi A3, which accounts for between 25 and 30 percent of all Audi sales in the U.K.
Two of the engines available at launch are the 150 PS 2.0L FSI petrol engine, already in the A4 and A6 but new to the A3, and the new 140 PS 2.0L TDI diesel engine, Audi’s most powerful four-cylinder oil burner. Audi expects sales to be split fairly evenly between petrol and diesel, a view shared by most car makers for most of their model ranges.
Both are refined, frugal and responsive. The FSI engine has 147 lbs.-ft. of torque while the 2.0 TDI diesel boasts a hefty 236 lbs.-ft. so the mid-range performance is better. For me that is the clincher.
And I’m obviously not alone. Diesel sales in the U.K. have climbed for 33 successive months and in May, took 26.5 percent of the market with the VW Golf as the top diesel seller. Which brings us back to where we started and the joint venture between Ford and PSA Peugeot Citro?n.
While Peugeot and Citro?n engineers have been the team leaders for the first three engines in the Ford PSA alliance announced five years ago, Ford has taken the lead with the new V-6 diesel project.
It will be based at Ford’s new Diesel Business Center which is the next step in the transition of the Dagenham plant into Ford’s global centre of excellence for diesel engineering and manufacture. The new center will open in July this year and annual V-6 diesel engine production will be 150,000 units. The total investment by Ford and PSA in design, engineering and manufacturing for the V-6 diesel is about $350 million.
Bob Dover, chairman of Jaguar Cars says, “competition is fierce in the premium diesel market and expectations of a Jaguar diesel are particularly high. The new 2.7 V- 6 diesel employs advanced powertrain technologies to deliver the levels of power, refinement and spirited performance that our customers expect.
“The new common rail, direct injection twin turbocharger engine will be offered with power outputs up to 207 PS and torque outputs of up to 440Nm. The new unit is Euro IV compliant and fitted with a diesel particulate filter where particulate emissions are reduced to a level where they are almost undetectable,” says Dover.
This article was provided exclusively to Automotive Industries by Interchange, a U.K.-based automotive business agency and consultancy servicing media and corporate clients. Anthony Lewis is a partner in Interchange and can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.