XJ8 (X308)

The later evo­lu­tion of a line that be­gan with the 1968 XJ6

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

Jaguar’s XJ range may well be one of the finest sport­ing sa­loons ever pro­duced, with a lin­eage span­ning 30 years by the time the XJ8 was in­tro­duced. Ford’s ma­jor in­vest­ment in Jaguar came just in time. Rapid im­prove­ments to the XJ40, then a com­pro­mise facelift for the X300 worked well to carry a dated plat­form into a sec­ond decade of pro­duc­tion, but more was needed. A new en­gine, sub­stan­tial re­vi­sions to the body struc­ture and con­struc­tion, a fresh in­te­rior and im­pres­sive per­for­mance de­riv­a­tives al­lowed the am­bi­tious XJ40 plan to end on a very high note in­deed, paving the way for the alu­mini­um­con­struc­tion XJ and the dy­namic, mod­ern Jaguar we have to­day. The XJ8 had a great re­spon­si­bil­ity – to re­tain Jaguar’s lithe chas­sis dy­nam­ics and driver-fo­cused ex­pe­ri­ence, yet match the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and most im­por­tantly, Lexus for re­li­a­bil­ity and qual­ity, tak­ing on the Amer­i­can mar­ket as one of Ford’s pre­mium mod­els. The 32-valve 3.2- and 4.0-litre alu­minium V8 en­gines would be the key to this, of­fer­ing bet­ter econ­omy and per­for­mance than the straight-six, but with the re­fine­ment as­so­ci­ated with the V12. The su­per­charged XJR and Daim­ler Super 8 are sought after, and in the lat­ter case, re­mark­ably rare.

WHY YOU WANT ONE Su­perb ride qual­ity and han­dling de­fined the Jaguar XJ from the very start, and the XJ8 adds a po­tent V8 to 30 years of de­vel­op­ment. This was Jaguar’s best sa­loon car in decades, Now it’s a bar­gain with a unique blend of style, lux­ury and in­volved driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

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