From £29,375
Jaguar turns X-type into a good sport

The last time I drove a Jaguar X-type it was – superficially – the same machine as this one: diesel-powered, stiffly sprung and rolling on 18-inch wheels with low-profile tyres.Driven eight months apart, I can’t believe they are related. On an overnight 560-mile sprint to Scotland, the older car was coarse, inflexible and rough-riding. I could still feel the background tremor of coarse asphalt when I finally climbed into my Highlands bed.This bodykitted Sport-spec 2.0-litre X-type couldn’t have been more different. Okay, the cabin isn’t any wider (and the electric seats are still set too high) but it was on another plane in terms of ability. The (now Euro4 emissions-compliant) engine is impressively subdued from start up and the combination of the fat torque curve and gearing is beautifully judged. Even in fifth at 70mph, there is instant and impressive shove thanks to the 244lb ft of torque.Though undoubtedly tuned for sportiness, the ride is never harsh and only huge potholes make an impression through the suspension. The steering is beautifully linear as it responds with complete consistency from one end of the rack to the other. There is an overwhelming sense of a car that’s been honed and polished.It’s not as accomplished as a BMW 320d, but cheaper and definitely worth a look.Hilton Holloway

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