NOT A LOT of people know this. The new all-aluminium Jaguar XJ actually made its Australian public debut as part of the Australian Innovation Exhibition 2010, staged in Brisbane.
Why the Australian Innovation Exhibition (AIE 2010) in Brisbane? The reason was an astonishing and little-known fact: the self piercing riveting system used to build Jaguar's XJ and XK aluminium bodied models was invented and patented by Brisbane engineers Ralph Fuhrmeister and Stuart Blacket and today it is marketed globally by the Henrob group of companies
The Jaguar XJ is a platform for automotive innovation in its own right. Apart from its muscular external styling - and, its design director Ian Callum happily admits, an interior ambience reminiscent of the classic American wooden launches - the XJ has won global engineering and design acclaim for its sustainability innovations as much as its automotive prowess.
Jaguar won the Luxury Car category in the 2010 What Car? Green Awards in the UK with its XJ 3.0 Diesel V6 Luxury.
Jaguar says its new XJ benefits from the most advanced, powerful and efficient Jaguar powertrains ever built and is constructed using Jaguar's aerospace-inspired aluminium body technology, which makes the XJ lighter than its rivals by at least 150kg.
These technologies combine to improve performance, handling and economy, while delivering increased strength, refinement and safety.
What Car? editor-in-chief Steve Fowler said, "British designed and built, the Jaguar is equipped with an efficient, high-tech diesel engine which in a comparatively light car makes for some spectacular emissions figures: CO2 is just 184g/km, while NOx is an equally impressive 0.142g/km.
"Look no further if you want a luxury car that's as good for the driver as it is for the environment."
Design makes a strong statement in all aspects, with a unique panoramic glass roof, standard on all models, dramatically enhancing the sense of light and space inside the new XJ, even though it has a low swooping roofline.
The XJ also introduces a new generation of interior technologies, pioneering the use of display and infotainment systems such as the innovative Virtual Instrument dials (they mimic chrome-surround analogue types of Jaguar's heritage, but are entirely projected on the LCD screen) and an optional 1200W Bowers & Wilkins premium surround sound system.
An option is Jaguar's no-compromise diesel alternative to petrol V6 and V8 engines, provided by the formidable 275PS 3.0-litre AJ-V6D Gen III. With twin sequential turbochargers, this is an engine that delivers on every aspect of the Jaguar driving experience, marrying tremendous drive (UK figures: 0-60mph in 6.0 secs, 0-100kmh in 6.4 secs) with impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions (UK: 40.1mpg and 184g/km of CO2).
The XJ is guided by a new approach by Jaguar to sustainable motoring, with its lightweight aluminium body structure and advanced powertrains. Jaguar has developed its approach to sustainability by focusing on the ‘lifecycle' of a vehicle, which Jaguar asserts to be a "more stringent approach to sustainability than standalone measures like fuel consumption or CO2 emissions".
"Environmental considerations are increasingly important to car buyers," said Geoff Cousins, the managing director of Jaguar UK at the launch. "By taking a lifecycle approach to the new XJ we have minimised the amount of materials used, we use recycled material and low-energy manufacturing processes, as well as making the vehicle easy to recycle at the end of its life."
Jaguar's aluminium architecture is a significant contributor to the green credentials of the new XJ. It uses around 50 percent recycled material in the body, and plans are in place to increase that figure to 75 percent. This alone creates a saving of three tonnes of CO2 per vehicle, compared to a bodyshell made from new aluminium.
"This accolade from What Car? demonstrates that we have successfully created a green car without compromising the quality, luxury and sports car-like drive that our customers want to enjoy in their Jaguar," Mr Cousins said.
"This all helps make the Jaguar XJ more desirable which boosts residual values - industry experts already predict that the new Jaguar XJ will have class-leading residual values; better than Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz over the next three years (in the UK)."
In the first month on sale in the UK, the XJ took the market lead, outselling the rival Mercedes S Class and BMW 7-Series.
- The Australian Innovation Exhibition was presented by Business Acumen Magazine and Venture Capital Corporation. Its foundation sponsors were the Australian Institute for Commercialisation, the Angel Investors Association of Australia and the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited.
- AIE 2010 was also an event of Enable 2010, an initiative of Brisbane Marketing and Brisbane: Australia's New World City.