EU automaker loan may lead to fuel-sipping hybrid Jag XJ

Don't call it a bailout. The European Union has agreed to fund a £307 million loan to the newly minted Jaguar Land Rover conglomeration, known as JLR by those on the inside -- like Tata who owns it. However, unlike the US's rather open-ended (and dire-looking) cash infusions, this offer was made specifically to help the company up its eco-cred. JLR pledges to start with a so-called "Limo Green" version of the next generation XJ luxury sedan (that's the current, decidedly dark one pictured above). The model will use a Volt-like series hybrid drive train, in which the electric motor (or motors) powers the wheels and an onboard gasoline engine serves only to recharge on the go, a combination that should deliver 57 mpg -- three times the current machine's 19 mpg combined figure. The only question now is whether this future-Jag will still smell like leather and tweed smoking jackets, or will the whole thing reek of ozone and patchouli.