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