Jaguar XJ

From Academic Kids

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1989 Jaguar XJ6

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.

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1995 Jaguar XJ6

All 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 2.9 (in Europe) 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. The single cam 2.9 L engine found in Europe was a derivative of Jaguar's legendary 5.3 L V12 HE, but it proved to be underpowered and thirsty compared to the 3.6. L 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.


1998 Jaguar XJ8
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1998 Jaguar XJ8

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 Jaguar ever made that used forced induction—apart from the extremely rare and expensive Jaguar XJ220. The XJR has been powered by a supercharged V8 engine since 1998.

A limited-edition XJR called the XJR 100 was available in 2002 only. The XJR 100 came only in black 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.

The center section of the X300 model (namely the doors and glass area) was shared with the XJ40. It was this generation that saw continued improvement in build quality.

The Super V8 is the fastest and most expensive model, with the XJR a close second. The Super V8, which debuted in the 2004 model year, is essentially a long-wheelbase, supercharged XJ8. Its primary competitor is 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 sedans.

In early 2005, Jaguar announced its most exclusive, powerful and expensive XJ sedan since it ceased V12 production. Called the 2006 Super V8 Portfolio, it is a limited-edition trim level of the flagship Super V8 sedan. It debuted at the New York International Auto Show in March 2005. The Portfolio features added power as well as exterior and interior enhancements, including DVD and 7-inch screens in the rear headrests. The Super V8 Portfolio, aimed at American and Canadian markets, will become available in August 2005. It will be available in only two new, limited colors: Black Cherry and Winter Gold.

The Super V8 Portfolio is powered by Jaguar's supercharged 400hp, 4.2-liter, 32 valve, AJ-V8 engine. Top speed is 155 mph and the Portfolio has a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of five seconds.


Contents

X308

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 and considered it to be an area in which improvement was needed.

X350

Addressing this, and other issues, the brand-new X350 began production in the Spring of 2003 and as a 2003 model in Europe and as a 2004 model for the North American market. The X350 has an all-new aluminum structure and bodyshell. Steel is used in some places throughout the chassis. Aluminum underbody components are fastened together with aerospace-grade epoxy adhesives and around 3,200 self-piercing rivets to create the new XJ's unibody. The top-line XJs are branded as Vanden Plas (in North America) and Daimler (everywhere else). Two of the things that distinguish the X350 from previous XJ models include the outer headlights which are larger than the inner headlights and the wheels are pushed closer to the corners, both like the original XJ. Also, the X350 has a curve in its rear door like that of Jaguar saloons of the 1950s and 1960s.

All North American XJs are powered by 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 electronically limited.

Daimler Corsica Concept

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1996 Daimler Corsica prototype

A single 2-door XJ covertible 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 is a fully operational car with all the luxury features of an XJ sedan, but a shorter wheelbase. It is painted a now-discontinued color called "Jade." 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 auto shows and events since 1996. It has most recently appeared at the Belfast Sportscar Show in January 2004. The Daimler Corsica prototype is owned by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, and is on display at the JDHT Museum at Browns Lane in Coventry, England.

Safety

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 generations

  • XJ Series I
  • XJ Series II
  • XJ Series III
  • XJ40
  • X300
  • X308 (XJ8 model, 19982003)
  • X350

Current XJ models

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