Classic Sports Car - - Letters -

XJ40 (1986-’94)

‘XJ40’ was the in­ter­nal code for the Se­ries III re­place­ment. It was bet­ter built, eas­ier to ser­vice and cheaper to run. Later cars are the best, but aren’t im­mune to rust. They were all AJ6 ‘sixes’ at first – in­clud­ing the sin­gle-cam 2.9 – with the 6-litre V12 of­fered for the fi­nal year. To­day, in­ter­est is qui­etly grow­ing in these cars.

X300 & X308 (1994-2003)

A bet­ter-look­ing suc­ces­sor us­ing 3.2- or 4-litre twin-cam ‘sixes,’ voted ‘most beau­ti­ful car in the world’ by a panel of Ital­ian style gu­rus. The XJR was the first to use Ea­ton’s M90 su­per­charger, mean­ing 0-60mph in 5.5 secs. For the 1997 XJ8 (X308), V8s re­placed ‘sixes’ and V12s. The XJR 4-litre was then the most pow­er­ful Jaguar road­car en­gine, boast­ing a su­per­charged 370bhp – with a rare Daim­ler vari­ant called the Su­per V8.

X350 & X358 (2003-’09)

This laid to rest the XJ40 ge­ne­ol­ogy with an all­new alu­minium mono­coque, bonded rather than welded for huge weight sav­ings and gains in strength. There were petrol V6s and V8s, plus a diesel V6. The su­per­charged V8s give the most thrills, but com­plex tech­nol­ogy and elec­tron­ics don’t auger well for to­day’s en­thu­si­ast own­ers. The 2007-on facelifted X358 at­tempted to an­swer crit­ics of the car’s ‘golf-club’ styling.

X351 (2009-DATE)

The cur­rent, Ian Cal­lum-styled flag­ship is based on the pre­vi­ous model and is one of the light­est cars in its class. Stan­dard- and long-wheel­base ver­sions plus lav­ish specs main­tain the XJ’S rep­u­ta­tion for re­fine­ment and value. There are V6s and V8s, while the 2013-on XJR is a 542bhp rock­et­ship. Spe­cial ver­sions in­clude an ar­moured vari­ant, as used by the Bri­tish PM.

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