LIFE AFTER THE SIII
‘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.
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.