WHEN SIR WILLIAM LYONS RETIRED FROM HIS Company in 1972 he declared the Jaguar he was most proud of was the XJ saloon introduced four years earlier. What had not happened yet was that the XJ of all variations was to remain the epitome of what a Jaguar represents - and that is still the case.
Luxurious, stylish, comfortable, quick, with an exceptionally comfortable ride, its loss from the range is mourned. The good news is that if you are on the lookout for a classic of the future, one with astonishing value for money and ownership satisfaction - keep reading.
We have had experience with all XJs - Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, XJ6, XJ12, XJ-C, XJ40, X300, X308, X350 - the latter is the world's first all-aluminum monocoque bodied car. Then there is the X351.
It's true we particularly love the rare supercharged XJR6 X300 (really code-named the X306 and with just over 5000 created). But what would we be looking for though if we were contemplating the purchase of the best value Jaguar now? Simple, the X351 - the final model XJ - was discontinued in 2019 having been revealed in 2009 and in showrooms from 2010.
The used car buying price can be astonishingly good. Build quality is exceptional, and you can choose from the short or long wheelbase, three-litre diesel, three-liter six-cylinder, V8 and supercharged V8 engines. Then of course, there are the limited edition variations.
Celebrities chosen by Jaguar to launch the car in the UK in 2009 were the beautiful Aussie supermodel Elle McPherson and the almost as beautiful US television host and car nut Jay Leno, such was its importance to Jaguar.
Looks of the new car was the work of Ian Callum and his small styling team in Coventry - and while retaining nothing of the style of the previous model's shapes - it carried all of the essential Jaguar styling lines and character points in modern language. It remains ageless.
It went out with a bang too, the XJ-R 575 in 2018 injected a final bit of interest by delivering 575PS - that's 423kW of power - and 700Nm of torque, a 4.4 seconds 0-100 kph time and a 300 kph top speed.
In that same year it was announced that a Castle Bromwich-built XJ was going to reappear in the all-electric form in 2020. For unknown reasons that didn't happen even though the car was ready to roll down the production line, and we're still struggling to come to terms with a Jaguar range that doesn't have a large XJ saloon as its flagship. Not even an EV one. Jaguar without an XJ feels like Ferrari without a V12 range-topper - the demise is hard to take.
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LE MANS HINTED-MAYBE
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