Jaguar XJ

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Jaguar XJ
XJ6, XJ8, XJ12, Vanden Plas, XJR, Super V8
Jaguar XJR X308 (US)
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
Parent companyTata Motors
ClassFull-size luxury car
LayoutFR layout
ManualsService Manual

The Jaguar XJ is a luxury saloon sold under the British Jaguar marque. The XJ was launched in 1968 and has served as the Jaguar flagship model for most of its production span which continues through to today. The original model was the last Jaguar saloon to have had the input of Sir William Lyons, the company's founder.

Mark 1 - Series 1, 2 and 3 (1968–1992)

Series 1 (1968–1973)

XJ Series I
Jaguar XJ Series I Jaguar badged
Also calledXJ6, XJ12
Daimler Sovereign
Daimler Double-Six
82,126 produced
AssemblyCoventry, England
Cape Town, South Africa
Nelson, New Zealand
Predecessor240, 340 & Daimler 250
Jaguar S-Type (1963)
Jaguar 420 and Daimler Sovereign (1966–69)
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)2.8 L XK I6
4.2 L XK I6
5.3 L Jaguar V12 engine V12

The XJ6, using 2.8 L (2790 cc/170 in³) and 4.2 L (4235 cc/258 in³) straight-six cylinder versions of Jaguar's renowned XK engine, replaced most of Jaguar's saloons – which, in the 1960s, had expanded to four separate ranges. An upmarket version was marketed under the Daimler brand and called the Daimler Sovereign, continuing the name from the Daimler version of the Jaguar 420. The "XJ" designation was from the car's code name during development, standing for Experimental Jaguar.

The car was introduced in September 1968. Power assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard on the 2.8 L 'De Luxe' and 4.2 L models and air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 L. Daimler versions were launched in October 1969, in a series of television advertisements featuring Sir William. In these spots, he referred to the car as "the finest Jaguar ever". In 1972 the option of a long wheel base version, providing a modest increase in leg room for passengers in the back, became available.

The XJ12 version, featuring simplified grille treatment, and powered by a 5.3 L V12 engine (coupled to a Borg Warner Model 12), was launched, also in 1972: 3,235 of these first generation XJ12s were built. Again, an upmarket version, this time called the Daimler Double-Six, was available, reviving the Daimler model name of 1926-1938.

Total production figures for the Series 1
Model Production
Jaguar XJ6 2.8 swb 19322
Jaguar XJ6 4.2 swb 59077
Jaguar XJ6 4.2 lwb 874
Jaguar XJ12 swb 2474
Jaguar XJ12 lwb 754
Daimler Sovereign 2.8 3233
Daimler Sovereign 4.2 swb 11522
Daimler Sovereign 4.2 lwb 386
Daimler Double Six swb 534
Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas 351
Total Production for Series 1 98527

Series 2 (1973–1979)

XJ Series II
1980 Jaguar XJ6 Series III
Also calledXJ6, XJ12
Daimler Sovereign
Daimler Double-Six
Production1973–1979 (1981)
91,227 produced
AssemblyCoventry, England
Cape Town, South Africa
Nelson, New Zealand
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)2.8 L XK I6
3.4 L XK I6
4.2 L XK I6
5.3 L Jaguar V12 engine V12

Commonly referred to as the "Series II" (pronounced Series 2), the XJ line was facelifted for 1973. The 4.2L I-6 XJ6 (most popular in the United Kingdom) and the 5.3L V12 XJ12 were continued with an addition of a 3.4 L (3442 cc/210 in³) version of the XK engine available from 1975.

In April 1975 the North American Series II got a slightly revised set of front bumpers which had rubber overriders cover the full length of the bumper with embedded turn signals at each end. The cars also got the addition of electronic fuel injection in the place of Zenith-Stromberg carburettors.

These Series II models were known for their poor build quality, which was attributed to Jaguar being part of the British Leyland group, as well as to problems inherent in the design of certain Lucas-sourced components.

Visually, apart from the optional longer wheelbase and available "XJ12" badge, the Series II cars are differentiated by raised front bumpers to meet US crash safety regulations, which necessitated a smaller grille, complemented by a discrete additional inlet directly below the bumper. The interior received a substantial update, including simplified heating and a/c systems to address criticisms of the complex and not very effective Series I system. 91,227 were produced, 14,226 of them with the V12 engine.

Though worldwide production of the Series II ended in 1979, a number were produced in Cape Town, South Africa until 1981.

Engines [1]

Years Type Capacity Horsepower
1973-1975 DOHC I-6 2,792 (171 cid) 140
1975-1979 DOHC I-6 3,442 (210 cid) 161
1973-1979 DOHC I-6 4,235 (258 cid) 245/162-186 See Note
1973-1979 SOHC V12 5,343 (326 cid) 265/244 See Note

Note: HP varies depending on emission standards imposed on particular vehicles

Production Count [1]

Year XJ6 XJ12
1973 1488 168
1974 13526 4744
1975 11990 2239
1976 12157 3283
1977 9043 1913
1978 12138 3284
1979 1099 429
Total 61,441 16,060

XJ Coupé

1977 Jaguar XJC S2 Pillarless Coupe
Also calledXJ-C, XJ6-C, XJ12-C
Daimler Coupé
10,487 produced
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)2-door coupe
Engine(s)4.2 L XK I6
5.3 L Jaguar V12 engine V12

An 8,378-car run of 2-door XJ coupés with a pillarless hardtop body called the XJ-C was built between 1975 and 1978. The coupé was based on the short wheelbase version of the XJ. The coupé's elongated doors were made out of a lengthened standard XJ front door (the weld seams are clearly visible under the interior panels where two front door shells were grafted together with a single outer skin). A few XJ-Cs were modified by Avon into convertibles with a retractable canvas top, but this was not a factory product. Both six and twelve-cylinder models were offered, 6,505 of the former and 1,873 of the latter. Jaguar had intended to introduce the car as early as 1973, but problems with window sealing delayed production. Even with the delay, these cars suffered from water leaks and wind noise. The delayed introduction, the labour-intensive work required by the modified saloon body, the higher price than the four door car, and the early demise promulgated by the new XJ-S, all ensured a small production run.

All coupes came with a vinyl roof as standard. It has been speculated that this is due to the rough welds around the windows of the roof, however many owners have removed these roofs and found no such rough welds. Other explanations point out that all V12 Jaguars received vinyl roofs at this time to signify the introduction of fuel injection, but this does not explain the vinyl roof on the 6 cylinder cars. Today many XJ-Cs no longer have their vinyl roof, also removing the threat of roof rust.

A small number of Daimler versions of the XJ-C were made.

Production Count [2]

Model \ Year 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978
4.2l Coupe 2 1 2925 1746 1776 37
5.3l Coupe - 11 821 663 329 31
Daimler Sovereign Coupe - - 471 587 613 6
Daimler Double Six Coupe - 1 76 149 159 22
Total 2 13 4293 3145 2877 96

Grand Total = 10,426

Series 3 (1979–1992)

XJ Series III
US-spec Vanden Plas
Also calledXJ6, XJ12
Daimler Sovereign
Daimler Vanden Plas
Daimler Double-Six
Double-Six Vanden Plas
Jaguar Sovereign (from 1983)
132,952 produced
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)3.4 L XK I6
4.2 L XK I6
5.3 L Jaguar V12 engine V12

In late 1979 the XJ was facelifted again, and was known as the "Series III" (pronounced Series 3). Using the long-wheelbase version of the car, the XJ6 incorporated a subtle redesign by Pininfarina. Externally, the most obvious changes over the SII were the thicker and more incorporated rubber bumpers with decorative chrome only on the top edge, flush door handles for increased safety, a one-piece front door glass without a separate 1/4 light, a grille with only vertical vanes, reverse lights moved from the boot plinth to the larger rear light clusters and a revised roofline with shallower glass area. There were three engine variants including the 5.3L V12, the 4.2L straight 6 and 3.4L straight 6. The larger 6-cylinder, and V12 models incorporated Bosch fuel injection (made under license by Lucas) while the smaller 6-cylinder was carbureted. The smaller 3.4L 6-cylinder engine was not offered in the U.S. The short wheelbase saloon and coupé had been dropped during the final years of the Series II XJ. The introduction of the Series III model also saw the option of a sunroof and cruise control for the first time on an XJ model.

The 1979 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ6 3.4 & 4.2, XJ12 5.3, Daimler Sovereign 4.2, Daimler Vanden Plas 4.2, Daimler Double-Six 5.3 and Daimler Double-Six Vanden Plas 5.3.

In 1981 the 5.3 V12 models received the new Michael May designed 'fireball' high compression cylinder head engines and were badged from this time onwards to 1983 as HE (High efficiency) models. Also in 1981 a top spec Vanden Plas model was introduced for the US market, a model designation still used today for the top-level XJ saloon in the US.

In 1982 the interior of the XJ underwent a minor update. A trip computer appeared for the first time and was fitted as standard on V12 models. A new and much sought-after alloy wheel featuring numerous distinctive circular holes was also introduced, commonly known as the "pepperpot" wheel.

In 1983 the Sovereign name was transferred from Daimler to a new top spec Jaguar model, the Jaguar Sovereign. The Vanden Plas name was also dropped at this time in the UK market, as the designation was used on top-of-the-range Rover-branded cars in the home UK market. Daimler models became the Daimler 4.2 and Double Six and were the most luxurious XJ Series III models, being fully optioned with Vanden Plas spec interiors.

The 1984 UK model range included the Jaguar XJ6 3.4 & 4.2, Sovereign 4.2 & 5.3, Daimler 4.2 & Double Six 5.3.

The last Series III XJ with a six-cylinder engine was produced in 1987. Production of the Series III XJ continued until 1992 with the V12 engine. In 1992, the last 100 cars built were numbered and sold as part of a special series commemorating the end of production for Canada. These 100 cars featured the option of having a brass plaque located in the cabin. It was the original purchaser's option to have this plaque, which also gave a number to the car (such as No. 5 of 100, etc.), fitted to the glove box, to the console woodwork or not fitted at all. This brass plaque initiative did not come from Jaguar in Coventry. It was a local effort, by Jaguar Canada staff and the brass plaques were engraved locally. 132,952 Series III cars were built, 10,500 with the V12 engine.

In total between 1968 and 1992 there were around 318,000 XJ6 and XJ12 Jaguars produced.

The Jaguar XJ is a popular car with UK banger racers due to its simple but tough construction. Many are raced with the original engine replaced by a Ford V6 as used in the Granada cars but others are raced with the original Jaguar engines. These cars are often used at 2.0litre + meetings where they are raced alongside Ford Granadas and Volvos.

Mark 2 - XJ40, XJ81, X300, X305 and X308 (1986–2003)

XJ40 (& XJ81)
Also calledXJ6, XJ12, Sovereign, Daimler
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)2.9 L AJ6 I6
3.2 L AJ6 I6
3.6 L AJ6 I6
4.0 L AJ6 I6
6.0 L Jaguar V12 engine V12
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase113 in (2870 mm)
Length196.4 in (4989 mm)
Width1986-1991: 70.8 in (1798 mm)
1992-94: 79.3 in (2014 mm)
Height53.1 in (1349 mm)

XJ40 (1986–1994)

A link to a photo album of a 1988 Jaguar XJ40 Sovereign Throughout the 1970s Jaguar had been developing "Project XJ40" which was an all-new model intended to replace the original (by now Series III) XJ6. Due to problems at British Leyland and the fuel crisis, the car was continually delayed. Proposals from Jaguar's in-house designers and Pininfarina were received. Eventually, it was decided an internal design would be carried through to production.

This car was finally released in October 1986 with (in European markets) controversial square headlamps on all but the lowest specification; these were a lingering feature from the 1970s development. The car was considered more evolutionary than revolutionary, and had to fight off a new competitor: the recently enlarged BMW 7 Series (E32). While the British press favoured the Jaguar, the XJ40 tended to lose comparison tests run by German publications. Only six-cylinder models were initially offered: a 2.9 L (in Europe) and a 3.6 L. The V12 (XJ12) and a long wheelbase model, including a high-roofed Daimler Majestic model (reviving the model name of 1958-1962) and destined for official use (one was used by the British prime minister), were again delayed, being launched at the very end of the XJ40's life.

The delay in fitting the V12 engine was due to the design of the engine bay which was too narrow to allow a V formation engine, said to have been designed deliberately in that fashion as the designers feared that their parent company would insist use of an engine based on their widely-used Rover V8 engine. After Jaguar's takeover by Ford in December 1989, work began on redesigning the engine bay to accommodate the V12. Ironically, thanks to Ford, Jaguar was later to find itself back in common ownership with another part of the old Rover family: Land Rover, where they had previously been thanks to British Leyland. However, having since developed their own more modern V8, they saw the reverse happen with a version of their engine fitted to Land Rover models, from which the old Rover V8 was finally dropped.

The single cam 2.9 L straight-6 engine found in Europe was a derivative of Jaguar's legendary 6.0 L V12 HE, but it proved to be underpowered and thirsty compared to the 3.6. L Frequent timing chain failures were also a problem. The engine was later replaced with the 3.2 L, based on the durable 3.6 L, which then became the 4.0 L.

XJ40 (1989–1994)

In 1989, under Ford control, the model range was revised with the deletion of the 2.9 L engine, replaced at the low end by a twin-cam 3.2 L version. The 3.6 L was upgraded to 4.0 L. The most obvious interior improvement was replacement of the often unreliable digital dashboard with conventional analogue instruments. In 1994 the XJ6 received a passenger's side airbag which meant the loss of the in-dash glove box.

In 1989 and 1990 Jaguar Cars produced a special model of the XJ40 called the Majestic. All of these had maroon exteriors with special mesh wheels where the interior of the mesh was painted the same maroon colour as the exterior of the body, although the British prime minister had an armoured black ministerial Majestic. Inside there were autolux leather seats with contrasting piping along the edges. There may have only been 527 of the 1990 Majestics made.

XJ81 (1993–1994)

With the design alteration of the XJ40 engine compartment finally completed, the XJ81 or XJ12 saloon reached the market in 1993 and continued until the end of the 1994 model year. The 1993 - 1994 XJ12 cars marked the introduction of the 6.0L V12 and four speed automatic transmission in the four door saloon. The new four speed automatic transmission in these cars was based on the GM 4L80E and featured an overdrive fourth gear for extended cruising comfort. The 1993 XJ12 cars that entered the United States were titled as 1994 cars. The primary differentiation between these early 1994 cars and the later 1994 cars is the presence of a in-dash glove box in the early cars that was replaced by a passenger's side airbag in the later 1994 cars. The V12 cars also had a latice or BBS style wheel and body coloured grille vanes. XJ-R versions of the XJ40 were produced; they featured upgraded suspension, engine and appearance, but lacked the supercharger of later XJRs. With numbers somewhere in the hundreds, they are quite rare and difficult to find.

X300 (1995–1997)

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Also calledXJ6, Vanden Plas, XJR, Daimler
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)3.2 L AJ16 I6 4.0 L AJ16 I6
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase113 in (2870 mm)
Length197.8 in (5024 mm)
Width70.8 in (1798 mm)
Height53.1 in (1349 mm)

With an all-new replacement still years away, in the early 1990s Jaguar recognised the boxy 1980s lines of the XJ40 needed to be facelifted and decided a "retro" path was the way forward. This path worked as Jaguar's biggest markets, the Americans, the Germans and the Japanese all associate Jaguars with sleek, voluptuous and taut feline curves. This revamp reintroduced many styling cues of the popular original XJ series. The X300, as it was known, was based on the XJ81 chassis, designed by chief Jaguar designer Geoff Lawson and was launched as the XJ6 for the 1995 model year.

In addition, a 326 bhp (243 kW) supercharged version of the straight-6 was offered and badged as the XJR. This was the first supercharged Jaguar in the company's history and only the second car Jaguar ever made that used forced induction – the other being the extremely rare and expensive turbocharged Jaguar XJ220 sports car.

The centre section (namely the doors and glass area) was shared with the original "Mark 2" (XJ40/XJ81) but the X300 saw the XJ6 revert to a traditional fluted bonnet and 4 individual headlights. The front and rear wings, bumpers and bootlid were also redesigned. The interior remained more or less the same as before. The engines were basically the same 3.2 L and 4.0 L units (engine code AJ6) found in the XJ40, but were mildly revised to further increase power and refinement (engine code AJ16). It was this generation that saw continued improvement in build quality.

1997 was the final year of production for the XJ6. Jaguar switched exclusively to an all-new V8 engine when the XJ8 (engine code AJ26) was introduced at the end of 1997 which fitted perfectly in the XJ81 chassis.


According to the UK Department for Transport's road accident statistics on a model-by-model basis (Table A, Page 10), which shows risk of injuries to car drivers involved in two-car accidents, the X300/X308 series Jaguars were among the safest cars on UK roads (measured in terms of chance of death in an accident during the four year assessment period) – three times safer than the safest Volvo models and matched only by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Land Rover.

X305 (1995–1997)

Also calledXJ12, Daimler Double-Six
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)6.0 L Jaguar V12 engine V12
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
Wheelbase117.9 in (2995 mm)
Length202.8 in (5151 mm)
Width70.8 in (1798 mm)
Height53.5 in (1359 mm)

In September 1994, the XJ12 got the same styling revisions as the X300 XJ6. The 6.0 L Jaguar V12 engine offered 318bhp and was continued for the 1995 model year mechanically unchanged from the 1994 XJ81 car. From 1995 on, the engine used a distributorless Denso electronic management system. The XJ12 was visibly differentiated from the XJ6 not only by a badge on the boot lid, but also by a "V12" badge on each side of the central pillar. The X300 XJ12 was available in both short- and long-wheelbase forms, although in the North American market, the long-wheelbase version was only available with the 1996 model year. No 1997 MY XJ12s were sold in North America.

The last Jaguar to be powered by a V12 engine was a black XJ12 which left the production line on April 17, 1997. It now resides in the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Museum, Coventry. Only 3,400 XJ12s were produced in the X300 body style, making it rarer than V12 rivals such as the BMW 750iL and Mercedes-Benz S600.

Daimler Corsica concept

1996 Daimler Corsica show car

A single 2-door XJ convertible was built in 1996 to commemorate Daimler's centenary. The concept car, called the Daimler Corsica, is based on the Daimler Double-Six saloon and can seat four. The prototype, which lacked an engine, had all the luxury features of an XJ saloon, but a shorter wheelbase. It is painted in a now-discontinued colour called "Seafrost." The Daimler Corsica was named after the 1931 Daimler Double-Six Corsica. The concept was a one-off, and was never intended for production. The car has made a limited number of appearances at car shows and events since 1996. It has most recently appeared at the Belfast Sports Car Show in January 2004. The Daimler Corsica prototype is owned by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, who have recently commissioned the work required to complete the prototype as a fully functional road-legal car. It is on display at their museum at Browns Lane in Coventry, England. The car was recently displayed at Harewood House as part of the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club show.

X308 (1998–2003)

Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas LWB
Also calledXJ8, Vanden Plas, XJR, Daimler
AssemblyCoventry, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)4.0 L AJ-V8 V8
Transmission(s)5-speed automatic
Wheelbase113 in (2870 mm) (SWB)
117.9 in (2995 mm) (LWB)
Length197.8 in (5024 mm) (SWB)
202.7 in (5149 mm) (LWB)
Width70.8 in (1798 mm)
Height52.7 in (1339 mm) (SWB)
53.2 in (1351 mm) (LWB)

September 1997 saw the "Mark 2" XJ revised for a final time, and this time the car (known as X308) had changed more over the X300 than the X300 had done over the XJ40. The exterior styling was mildly revised, the only real notable changes being new, shallower grille, bumpers incorporating oval front indicators & side reflectors with 1/4 chrome trims instead of the full width ones of the X300, as well as revised clear indicator rear light clusers and the fitting of modern clear lens projector headlamps.

The biggest changes lay under the bonnet and inside. An all-new, and hugely praised, V8 engine was introduced and was available in 3.2 L, 4.0 L and 4.0 L supercharged versions. The new 8-cylinder engines, built in Bridgend, Wales, not only saw the temporary end of 6-cylinder and 12-cylinder power in an XJ, but the legendary XJ6 moniker was dropped(but later re-introduced in the 2003.5 X350; the cars with naturally-aspirated engines were now called XJ8. The new performance figures were 290 bhp (216 kW) and 240 bhp (179 kW) for the naturally-aspirated 4.0 L and 3.2 L versions respectively and 370 bhp (276 kW) with 525 N·m (387 lb·ft) of torque for the supercharged version.

The interior was changed greatly, featuring an all-new "oval design" dashboard (first seen in the XK) with matching door veneers. However, the basic car was now 12 years old and some now considered the limited legroom for rear passengers (except, of course, in the long-wheelbase model), which was an issue back in 1986, to now be a real Achilles' heel, especially when compared to competing models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Nonetheless, many overlooked this issue, citing the continued "Jaguarness" and "Britishness" of the new interior as a preferable place to spend time when compared to rivals, with the abundance of wood, chrome and leather that is a British luxury car trademark. However, for those who considered rear legroom to be a very real issue, there were LWB (long-wheelbase) versions available (and, at the very top of the range, the supercharged Daimler, known as the Super V8 in the UK & the Vanden Plas in the United States complete with fluted boot plynth & grille top, as well as full "autolux" leather interior trimming, extra highly figured walnut trim and rear picnic tables inside).

1998 Jaguar XJ8

Although the new car was improved over the X300 and featured revised dynamics (including an excellent ride) along with its excellent new V8 engines (designed solely by Jaguars engineers), the basic design was now 12 years old and was launched less than a year before a new version of the traditional heavyweight of the class: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220. Although the XJ was considered by critics as still competitive in some areas in many roadtests the X308 was essentially outclassed by the new S-Class, a car which was proclaimed by critics to be the "best car in the world" at launch. However, despite the Mercedes' plaudits it is important to note that the Mark 2 XJ was the best-selling luxury car in the UK.

The XJR-version featured an 5 speed automatic transmission W5A580 from the Mercedes-Benz AMG E55 and other high power Benz models.

A limited-edition XJR called the XJR 100 was available in 2002 only. The XJR 100 came only in black (paint as well as exterior trim) with black leather interior. Features exclusive to the XJR 100 were unique alloy sport wheels, gray-stained birdseye maple trim, red badges and red stitching throughout the interior. Only 500 were produced.

In final production run of x308 series the XJR was in 2003 MY and offered with an "R1" package that used the 2002 XJR 100 Brembo brakes and larger drilled rotors with future 18 inch x350 series BBS Milan wheels. The CATS Computer Active Technology Suspension was also offered which was first introduced in the 2002 XJR 100.

The model continued until an all-new aluminium-bodied replacement (X350) was unveiled in 2003.5

Mark 3 - X350 (2003-6)

2004-05 Jaguar XJ X350 Vanden Plas (US)
Also calledXJ6, XJ8, Vanden Plas, XJR, Super V8, Daimler Super Eight
AssemblyCastle Vale, Birmingham, England
Body style(s)4-door saloon
Engine(s)3.0 L V6
3.5 L AJ-V8 V8
4.2 L AJ-V8 V8
4.2 L supercharged AJ-V8 V8
2.7 L V6 Diesel
Transmission(s)6-speed automatic
WheelbaseSWB: 119.4 in (3033 mm)
LWB: 124.4 in (3160 mm)
LengthSWB: 200.4 in (5090 mm)
LWB: 205.3 in (5215 mm)
Width2004-05: 73.2 in (1859 mm)
2006-07: 83.0 in (2108 mm)
2008-present: 76.5 in (1943 mm)
HeightSWB: 57 in (1448 mm)
LWB: 57.3 in (1455 mm)

X350 (2003-2006)

Although major revisions (through the X300 and, particularly, the X308 updates) kept the Mark 2 competitive in some areas against its rivals, the basic design dated back to 1986 which meant the car was very quickly being outclassed and losing ground to its rivals, many of which were now two generations advanced from the original competitors of the Mark 2 XJ. For example, since the model had been unveiled in 1986 (at the same time as the BMW 7 Series E32), BMW had launched Mark 3 (E38) and Mark 4 (E65) versions of its 7 Series in 1994 and 2001 respectively – all while Jaguar was still producing the Mk 2 XJ.

In early 2003, the all-new third generation XJ (known as X350) arrived in showrooms. While the car's exterior and interior styling were traditional in appearance, the car was completely re-engineered. The new car also saw the return of the fabled XJ6 badge, and with it 6-cylinder power, albeit in a V-configuration.

Design and engineering

Like the Audi A8's, the X350's chassis and body are constructed from aluminium. While some steel is used in places throughout the chassis, the X350 has a stressed aluminium monocoque/chassis similar in general design to a conventional steel structure, but with two differences; its underbody components are bonded together with aerospace-grade epoxy adhesives while around 3,200 self-piercing rivets are used to create the new XJ's unibody. This differs from the A8's construction which uses an aluminium spaceframe to which aluminium panels are then attached.

However, the aluminium Audi A8 weighs a comparatively high 1,830 kg (4,000 lb) (3.0 V6 TDi) compared to 1,539 kg (3,390 lb) of the (3.0 V6) XJ.

On its own, the current XJ's bodyshell weighs about the same as a contemporary BMW MINI. If the car were made of steel, it is estimated that it would weigh 40% more.

Some of the styling features that distinguish the X350 from the previous XJ include the outer headlights, which are larger than the inner headlights, and wheels which are pushed out further towards the corners of the car (due to an increased wheelbase), both like the original Mark 1 XJ. Also, the X350 dispenses with the separate "sixthlight" rear side window of its predecessor, reverting back to two side windows with quarterlight glasses mounted in the rear doors, like the Mark 1. Moreover, beginning in 2004, changes have been made to the distinctive chrome side window frames of the XJ, where the use of chrome in the areas in between the front and back doors has been discontinued, in effect hiding the B-pillars. The curve in the rear door and rear screen resembles that of the Jaguar saloons of the 1950s and 1960s.


The V8 engines remained in the new model, but were now the revised and more powerful versions found in the 2003 S-Type. The 290 bhp (216 kW) 4.0 litre and 370 bhp (276 kW) 4.0 litre supercharged engines from the X308 Mk II were replaced by the S-Type's 294 bhp (219 kW) 4.2 L and 400 bhp (298 kW) 4.2 L supercharged units respectively, while a new 3.5  V8 was also introduced for the European market. Derived from the 3.2  engine of the previous model, it produced 265 bhp (198 kW).

The 240 bhp (179 kW) 3.2 L V8 from the previous model was replaced by the 240 bhp (179 kW) 3.0 L V6 from the X-Type and S-Type. The V6 powers the XJ6, while the XJ8 is powered by a naturally-aspirated V8. The XJR is powered by a supercharged 4.2 L V8. The XJ6 and the XJ TDVi are the only X350 models not sold in the Americas.

In 2005 Jaguar introduced the diesel-powered XJ TDVi. The XJ TDVi features the same Ford-Peugeot-developed 2.7 litre twin-turbo V6 found in the S-Type. The model produces 204 bhp (152 kW) and 321 lb·ft (435 N·m) of torque, earning it praise as the most refined diesel engine to be found in any car, anywhere, with electronically controlled engine mounts in order to minimise vibration.


Despite some critics' concerns that the XJ's styling is dated, the general consensus is that the X350 is an efficient car featuring sharp and agile handling, a smooth ride and powerful engines, particularly the V8 and diesel engines.

The Super V8, also known as the Daimler Super Eight, is the most expensive model, with the XJR second. The Super V8, which debuted in the 2003 model year in the new X350 body style, was essentially a long-wheelbase, supercharged XJ8 with the more upscale Vanden Plas, or Daimler interior. Its primary competitor was the Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG. A distinctive wire mesh grille and chrome-finished side mirrors set the Super V8 and the XJR apart from the less expensive XJ saloons. In 2005, the Super V8 model was replaced by the Daimler Super Eight in all markets outside of North America. The Daimler Super Eight is essentially the same car, but with the addition of a different grille, boxwood inlays into the wood veneer and several other interior luxuries as standard. Daimler's US equivalent is no longer known as the Vanden Plas, but the Super V8. The Vanden Plas name is used on models that would be known as Sovereign elsewhere.

All North American XJs come standard with a 300 hp (224 kW) naturally aspirated engine. A 400 hp (298 kW) supercharged from 4.2 L V8 engine is optional. The valvetrain has a dual overhead cam design with four valves per cylinder. The top speed is limited electronically.

In early 2005, Jaguar announced its most exclusive and expensive XJ saloon since ceasing V12 production. Called the 2006 Super V8 Portfolio, it is a limited-edition trim level of the flagship Super V8 saloon. It debuted at the New York International Auto Show in March 2005, and is the most expensive Jaguar saloon produced to date, with a base price of US$115,995. The Portfolio features added power as well as exterior and interior enhancements, including a DVD player and 7-inch screens in the rear headrests. The Super V8 Portfolio, aimed at North American markets, became available in August 2005. It is available in only two new, limited colours: Black Cherry and Winter Gold.

The Super V8 Portfolio is powered by Jaguar's supercharged 400 hp (300 kW), 4.2 L, 32-valve, AJ-V8 engine. Top speed is 155 mph (249 km/h) and the Portfolio has a 0-60 mph acceleration time of under five seconds.

X350 (2007-present)

Towards the end of February 2006 Jaguar unveiled a facelifted version of the Mk 3 XJ for the 2008 model year.

Since its launch in 2002 the XJ's exterior styling has attracted much criticism from many motoring journalists who claim that the car looks old fashioned and barely more modern than its predecessor, many even citing that the 'Lyons line' had been lost in the translation from MKII into MKIII XJ, even though beneath the skin lies a highly advanced construction that has put the XJ to very near the top of its class.

2007 Jaguar XJ from the Montreal Auto Show

To counter this criticism and boost sales Jaguar has given the car a mildly revised front grille, though still of a similar design to that of the pre-facelift XJ, (rather than following the contemporary design language of the Jaguar XF) while the new front bumper assembly features a prominent lower grille. The Jaguar Logo has been changed from the 3D bonnet ornament to the logo of the Jaguar face within the grille that is currently also found on the front of the XK and XF. The front lights have detail changes while the revised door mirrors now incorporate side repeaters. The front wings on all models have been remodelled to feature side vents which were once the preserve of only the Super V8 Portfolio (and XJR Portfolio in the UK) model, while the side sills, rear bumper and tails lights have been revised. The interior has been only mildly revised, featuring resculptured front seats that give extra support to occupants, and provide additional legroom in the rear, allowing rear passengers over a metre of legroom.

These changes are not only expected to boost falling sales but to keep the current model soldiering on until replacement model, the X351, arrives in 2009. While its styling and interior are expected to owe much to the acclaimed Jaguar XF model, the new XJ will share its basic floorpan, engines and aluminium manufacturing methods with the current model.

Current XJ models

As of November 2007, the following XJ models are available in the UK (according to Jaguar UK):

  • XJ 2.7D Executive
  • XJ 2.7D Sport Premium
  • 3.0-litre Executive
  • 2.7D, 3.0-litre, and 4.2-litre Sovereign
  • 4.2-litre supercharged XJR
  • Daimler Super Eight

Notice: the models with the 2.7-litre diesel engine or with the 3.0-litre petrol engine are also known as the XJ6 (since the engines have six cylinders), while the 4.2-litre eight-cylinder petrol engine mounted in the Sovereign results in that model being known as the XJ8. Also notice that the model list for the UK does not include the 3.5-litre V8 engine available in Germany, for example.

As of May 2007, the following XJ models are available in Germany (and presumably other Western European countries) (according to Jaguar DE) (German nomenclature applies):

  • XJ6 2.7 litre Diesel Classic
  • XJ6 2.7 litre Diesel Executive
  • XJ6 3 litre Executive
  • XJ8 3.5 litre Executive
  • XJ8 4.2 litre Executive
  • XJ6 2.7 litre Diesel Sovereign
  • XJ8 3.5 litre Sovereign
  • XJ8 4.2 litre Sovereign
  • XJR 4.2 litre V8 Kompressor (i.e. the supercharged V8 variant)
  • Daimler Super Eight

As of May 2007, the following XJ models are available in the US (according to Jaguar US):

  • XJ8
  • XJ8L
  • XJ Vanden Plas (this model is equivalent to 'Daimler' in Europe; the name 'Daimler' is not used by Jaguar in the US)
  • XJR
  • XJ Super V8

Notice: the XJ6 and the XJ 2.7D are not available in the US, unlike in Europe. The 'L' on the XJ8L badge denotes the long-wheelbase version.

See also

External links