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Old 17th May 2006, 00:27   #1
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Default The Jaguar XJ Special



Introduced in 1968, the Jaguar XJ has appeared in 7 different avatars till date. Itís the car that has saved Sir William Lyonsís company more than once. While the S-Type and X-Type are nothing more than Lincolns and Fords in drag, the XJ is and has always been a proper Jaguar. Here is my attempt to portray the various incarnations of this wonderful luxury sedan that has ruled my heart since I first saw it in 1981.


XJ6 / XJ12 Series I (1968 Ė 1973)

This car was launched in 1968 to replace the Jaguar 420.
A part of British Leyland then, it is a wonder Jaguar even managed to survive. The XJ was lower, longer and wider than the outgoing 420 and had better road manners. The sleek and graceful shape of this car made it very desirable. Its engines were silky smooth. The 5.3L V12 was fast, but, reliability was nothing to write home about.
Engine range: 2.8L Inline 6, 4.2L Inline 6 & 5.3L V12


XJ6 / XJ12 Series II (1973 Ė 1979)

There was not much of a difference between the Series I and Series II. The 2.8L engine was dropped in favour of a 3.4L Inline 6 and the front indicators were placed below the bumper. This car could easily waft at speeds up to 240km/h quietly and without fuss. Compared to its only rival, the Mercedes S Class, it had great stability,clean handling and better ride and refinement, but, it felt cramped in the rear (a fault that remained unsorted till recently), was not as reliable and lacked the Germanís build quality.
Engine range: 3.4L Inline 6, 4.2L Inline 6 & 5.3L V12


XJ6 Series III (1979 Ė 1986); XJ12 Series III (1979 Ė 1992)

The XJ Series III appeared in 1979. This was the car responsible for dragging a lot of new customers to Jaguar showrooms.
The old XJ body was wonderfully modernized by none other than Pininfarina. None of the character of the old car was lost. The back window was enlarged and the bumpers were modernized to comply with international safety standards. The grille was made smaller and the car was a little lower and longer. The ride characteristics of this car are considered by many to be the best by any car till date. It was amazingly quite too and the 5.3L V12 was now producing close to 300bhp. Its steering lacked feel and reliability continued to be a problem. While the XJ6 stopped using the Series III body in 1986, the V12 continued till 1992.
This car is one of the most beautiful sedans Iíve ever seen and remains my personal favourite.
Engine range: 3.4L Inline 6, 4.2L Inline 6 & 5.3L V12


XJ40 (1986 Ė 1994)

The XJ40 was the first Jaguar sedan to use ABS, lots of new age electronics and smoother new engines. Jaguar was now bought by Ford and reliability improved. Jaguarís engineers put a lot of effort in improving the quality of the car. In terms of looks, a bit of the character of the Series III was lost - the headlights were squared off. Still, the car managed to retain a lot of its grace. It was not quite on par with the Mercedes W140, but, it was good enough to see to it that Jaguar didnít lag far behind Mercedes and BMW.
Engine range: 2.9L Inline 6, 3.6L Inline 6, 4.0L Inline 6 & 6.0L V12


X300 (1994 Ė 1997)

With the X300, Jaguar returned to a curvaceous and elegant look. Longer and more graceful than ever, this car had some of the smoothest 6 cylinder engines money could buy. With its 322bhp supercharged Inline 6, it was also the first XJ to sport the XJR badge, larger wheels and a mesh grille. The X300 was also the last Jaguar to sport the V12 engine. Very few X300 XJ12s were made and the 6.0L V12 was retired in 1996. Superb engines, brilliant chassis, unmatched ride and now, good reliability put the X300 in a league of its own.
Engine range: 3.2L Inline 6, 4.0L Inline 6, Supercharged 4.0L Inline 6 & 6.0L V12


X308 (1997 Ė 2003)

The X308 looked similar to the X300. The difference between the cars laid under the hoods. The Inline 6s were replaced by some magnificent V8s, while the Mercedes sourced J-Gate automatic gearbox allowed for smooth shifts.
The 4.0L 370bhp Supercharged XJR was the most entertaining monster saloon money could buy. The interior was old fashioned. The woolen carpets, Smith instruments and abundant wood and leather made this one of the most pleasing cars to sit in. All models had high levels of equipment.
Engine range: 3.2L V8, 4.0L V8 & Supercharged 4.0L V8


X350 (2003 - present)

Good bye steel. Welcome aluminium!
The X350 was the worldís first mass produced, rivet-bonded, aluminium automobile. This car is longer, wider and more spacious that all the earlier XJs, but, thanks to the use of aluminium, it manages to be a fifth of a ton lighter than its predecessor.
The legendary XJ6 badge has made a comeback, thanks to the introduction of a 3.0L V6 engine. An award winning twin-turbocharged 2.7L V6 diesel engine broadens this big catís appeal. The existing V8s were enlarged to 3.5L and 4.2L respectively. While itís very hi-tech, this XJís onboard computer is less complicated than its rivals. The plastic switchgear however, does not feel up to the mark.

All in all, the X350 is one car worthy of carrying the leaping cat badge.
Engine range: 2.7L V6 Diesel, 3.0L V6, 3.5L V8, 4.2L V8 & Supercharged 4.2L V8
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Old 17th May 2006, 00:42   #2
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Well done undisputed Jaguar-Man!!! Thats some history there. Waiting for more. Btw any idea what are the figures for the 2.7L V6 diesel.

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Old 17th May 2006, 00:56   #3
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The 2.7L Diesel produces 207bhp@4000rpm and puts out 321 lb.ft. / 435NM of torque.
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Old 17th May 2006, 04:46   #4
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Thumbs up jagman

a true Jaguar fanatic to the core.

this fellow can live purely on his knowledge of Jaguar - past, present & future....
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Old 17th May 2006, 09:44   #5
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Excellent write up, Aditya.

The XJ40 was actually one of the most problematic Jaguars. Its rather suspect electricals often gave owners a scare. And, as you have mentioned, the original series 1 & 2 XJ's were plagued with reliability problems and factory strikes.

Aditya, do correct me if I am wrong, but I remember that the XJ12 was only launched with the series 2, not not series 1. Is my memory correct?
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Old 17th May 2006, 09:59   #6
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Great write -up

A friend of mine in Holland took me to visit a freind who had restored two XJ series 3 - one was a 4.2 and the other a 5.3. He allowed me to take them both for a spin, awesome, the V12 was amazing, like having someone discretly shoving the small of your back when you accelerate.

This guy knew the ins and out of the cars to the extent of having replacement cylinder heads ready as these cars esp the 4.2 kept blowing the gasket - He nicknamed it the Steamboat
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Old 17th May 2006, 10:13   #7
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Awesome write up. Was waiting for something like this to come from you
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Old 17th May 2006, 14:08   #8
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VERY informative, Aditya. I'm a Jag fan too - an XJ fan, to be precise. Its one of the most majestic looking automobiles on the road, and it has stayed that way. Timeless!

One of these days..........

Last edited by Steeroid : 17th May 2006 at 14:09.
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Old 17th May 2006, 14:43   #9
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I've had the pleasure of cruising in an X308 for several days, a few years ago in London. Few things, till date, could dare match the sheer quality that car reeks.

Nice writeup, dude.
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Old 17th May 2006, 16:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by islero
Aditya, do correct me if I am wrong, but I remember that the XJ12 was only launched with the series 2, not not series 1. Is my memory correct?
Very close. The V12 was introduced in 1972 - a year before the Series I was stopped.
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Old 17th May 2006, 19:50   #11
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Hey Aditya, how about a mention of the XJC?? The royal Jags, and the other specials XJ's?? That would make for an interestin addition.

I especially love the XJC. Too bad it bombed. I'll have one in red with the beige top, please. lol.
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Old 18th May 2006, 03:55   #12
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Hey Addy. Very nicely put. Just loved this thread. The new XJ looks so elegant in person.
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Old 18th May 2006, 23:33   #13
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Hey Aditya good job there ...very informative!


A close friend of mine owns a S type V8... I must say the engine sounds awesome when he revs it and it has brilliant pick up... but over all he always has some issue or another with electronics (you name it... fog lights, wiper, automatic seats etc) and every now and then ratteling noise. Its a 2003 year still under warranty so everything that breaks is covered (he is worried what would happen when the warranty runs out) I know ford has been working really hard to improve things but i guess ford has to continue working on reliability and other issues to regain the respect that Jag once had.
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Old 24th May 2006, 08:53   #14
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Hey Aditya....great write-up....how about more for some other cars also?
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