The Jaguar XJ is a saloon (or sedan) produced by Jaguar, launched in 1968. It was the last Jaguar saloon to have had the input of Sir William Lyons, the company's founder.
At the time, the XJ6, using 2.8, 3.4 and 4.2 litre versions of Jaguar's renowned XK engine, replaced most of Jaguar's saloons, which, in the 1960s, had expanded to four separate ranges. The upmarket version was called the Daimler Sovereign. The 'XJ' designation was from the car's code name during development, standing for Experimental Jaguar.
The XJ12 version, with a 5.3-litre V12 engine, was launched as part of the Series II in 1973 along with long-wheelbase models and a coupé, now considered a collectors' item due to its rarity. The top 12-cylinder Daimler was called the Double Six. These Series II models were known for their poor build quality while part of the British Leyland group as well as problems inherent in the design of certain Lucas-sourced components. On television, the Jaguar XJ Series II was immortalized in the TV show Minder.
In 1979, a Pininfarina redesign on the long-wheelbase platform saw the launch of the Series III with the long-awaited introduction of electronic fuel injection to replace its predecessor's troublesome carburettors. The coupé was dropped. This style of Jaguar saw the company through from its darkest days toward its emergence as an independent company under John Egan who oversaw a marked improvement in build-quality and reliability for the company's products.
1995 Jaguar XJ6All through the 1970s, Jaguar had run Project XJ40, which was meant to replace the 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 made. Eventually, it was decided an internal design would be carried through to production.
This car was finally released in October 1986 with controversial square headlamps, a carryover from the 1970s' development. It was considered more evolutionary than revolutionary, and had to fight off a new competitor: the newly upsized BMW 7-series. 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 3.2 and a 3.6 litre. Production of the Series III body continued until the early 1990s with the V12 engine. The V12 (XJ12) and a long wheelbase model, including a high-roofed Daimler Majestic model destined for official use (one was used by the British prime minister), were again delayed, launching at the very end of the XJ40's life.
By the late 1980s, Ford had become Jaguar's owner and ordered the XJ40 be "retrolutionized", reintroducing the style of the popular Series III. X300, as redesigned by head designer Geoff Lawson, was launched as the XJ6 and XJ12 in 1995. In addition, a supercharged version of the inline-six was offered and badged as the XJR. This was the first supercharged Jaguar in the company's history and only the second car they ever made that used forced induction—apart from the extremely rare and expensive Jaguar XJ220.
The XJR is the fastest and most expensive model. Its competitors include the Mercedes-Benz S600, BMW 760Li, and Audi S8. A distinctive wire mesh grille and chrome-finished side mirrors set the XJR apart from the less expensive XJ sedans.
1998 Jaguar XJ8 The centre section of the X300 model—namely the doors and glass area—was shared with the XJ40. So, realistically, little changed about the packaging of the automobile. It was this generation that saw continued improvement in build quality, including incorporation into Ford Motor Company development programmes.
New eight-cylinder models (called XJ8) were introduced in 1998 as the X308 series, seeing the end of the legendary 12-cylinder engine. The interiors were changed greatly, but some still considered the issue of limited legroom for rear passengers to be an Achilles' heel when comparing the car with competing models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz to be an area in which improvement was needed.
Addressing this, and other issues, the brand-new X350 began production in model year 2004, based on a stretched and upgraded Ford DEW98 rear-wheel-drive platform which also underpins the Jaguar S-type, Lincoln LS and Ford Thunderbird. The top-line XJs are branded as Vanden Plas (in North America) and Daimler (everywhere else). All North American XJs are powered by a 300 bhp naturally aspirated version, and 400 bhp in supercharged from 4.2 litre V8 petrol engine. European models come with the option of a 3.0 litre 240 bhp V6 engine. This generation is also notable for its use of aluminium, both in the structure and the body shell.
Daimler Corsica Concept
1996 Daimler Corsica prototypeA 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. It is painted a now-discontinued colour called "Jade." The Daimler Corsica was named after the coach building firm Corsica of the 1930s. The concept was a one-off, and was never intended for production. The car made a limited number of appearances at auto shows and events, but has not been available for public viewing since.
Road accident statistics on a model-by-model basis from the UK Department of Transport show that the XJ series Jaguars are the safest cars on the UK roads (measured in terms of chance of death in an accident)—between three times safer than the safest Volvo models and only matched by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Land Rover.
XJ Series I
XJ Series II
XJ Series III
X308 (XJ8 model, 1998–2003)