On the day the Obama administration proposed doubling the U.S. fuel economy standard to 54.5 mpg, Jaguar Cars announced that it had just finished a cross-country run in a four-cylinder, diesel-powered XF sport sedan that averaged 52 mpg over nearly 3,000 miles.
The Nov. 16 timing was fortuitous, but not planned.
“This project was designed primarily to test the potential economy of the XF 2.2,” Paul Alcock, XF Project Manager, Jaguar Cars, said in a release. It is the most efficient Jaguar ever created, he said.
Piloting the large, four-door sedan was a pair of independent British test drivers, David and Alexander Madgwick, who began the journey in New York and finished a week later in Los Angeles on Nov. 14, in time for the Los Angeles Auto show.
With a driving range of more than 800 miles per tank, the team made only four fuel stops. Peak economy of 55.7 mpg was achieved in the desert Southwest, they said. The average speed was 53 mph, which was real-world driving with weather and traffic variables and a climb to 7,275 feet above sea level.
The 187-hp, 2.2-liter four-cylinder has 332 foot-pounds of torque and with its eight-speed automatic transmission is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph.
The new 2.2-liter diesel has direct injection and an auto stop/start feature to save fuel and emissions when stopped, said Jaguar design chief Ian Callum in a phone interview from the auto show.
The cross-country run “was an opportunity to arrive at the LA show and make a statement,” he said.
Jaguar has made no announcements about adding a diesel powertrain to U.S. models, Callum said, “but it is something to consider if the business plan works.”
The XF 2.2 has fine driving power, he said. “It’s not a supercharged V-8, but compared to (diesels) 10 years ago, it has power,” Callum said. “It’s seamless.”
The project was broadcast live on Twitter and on Facebook, charting the progress of the car as it crossed America.