There’s a new Jaguar XE, but maybe you should consider one of the old ones at a fraction of the cost?
I’ve got a Jaguaaar. Is there any finer sentence in the English language? Probably not. It does depend though on which one you have, which is why this Top 10 should help you. Traditionally though a Jag has been the preferred choice of life’s characters who would rather take a risk than be bored by a Mercedes. Yes the XJ belonged to entrepeneurs like the much missed Arthur Daley who I understand finds the new XJ just a bit too avant garde. Yes Jaguars were for those who could not quite afford a Bentley but still appreciated the finer things in life like, leather and walnut interiors and silkily smooth yet powerful engines.
Indeed powerful engines kept those pesky bank robbers clear of the Sweeney’s Granadas until they hit that pile of inconveniently placed cardboard boxes. Driven properly though a Jaguar is a tidy performer, but even more than that it is a thing of rare beauty. From the old Mark 2s to the E-Type, XJs and XKs most of them have been achingly pretty. Even so we can still make a case for the four-eyed S-Type. Yes Jaguars have been brilliant for all sorts of reasons, but probably the best is that they depreciate so damned quickly.
XJR Do you need a four-door supercar? Course you do, the whole family should enjoy the experience. Power delivery is seamless and strong. Here you have a super saloon without the crippling bills or the tantrums and real world practicality. Yes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and 155mph top speed plus realistic room for three more in the back is always a pretty convincing argument. There is the quintessential true Brit bruiser with wood ‘n’ leather. The big service is 70k miles and that costs around £700 as belts are changed. Under normal servicing conditions however the average cost at a specialist is only around £200-£300.
XJS V12 The XJS is the classic Grand Tourer, with a big engine and long sexy bonnet. Time has been kind to the design which has matured to the point where it now looks elegant and understated. In theory it is a four seater, though you will only get children or adults in the back for short journeys. Rust is serious issue even before you lift the bonnet on that scarily expensive engine. Changing plugs after all there are twelve of them is not a job to be taken lightly. Serious rot though will kill off this model unless you want to spend thousands.
XK8 The XK8 spoils you in so many ways being hugely comfortable with more than adequate performance and above average refinement. The fact that you can’t see very much in the mirror thanks to the massive blind spots, and that the rear seats are for kids hardly matters at all, because this Jaguar makes you feel so special. Also the XK, with some exceptions, is one of the better-built Jaguars for several generations. The timing chain and tensioners can fail once the miles build up, given away by a metallic rattle from the top of the engine, but make sure you start from cold. If you do need four 4 new tensioners and a new timing chain that will cost around £700 to sort out.
X Type Jaguar’s overdue response to the BMW 3 series and although it isn’t better the X Type is a distinctive and appealing car in its own right. There is a range of V6 petrol engines which are refined plus a diesel engine, which is not quick, but returning over 50mpg is good and the smooth way it performs also satisfies. Whereas a diesel Jag would have been unthinkable, the X-type proved that the concept would work. The estate is very pretty. V6 engines are tough, but there has been an issue with failing coil packs, which are readily available. Suspension bushes and ball joints are a traditional Jaguar MOT fail point.
XJ6 1995 – 1998 This is when the XJ got really good again. After the disappointing square cut XJ40 the X300 went back to the beautiful basics. Lots of Ford investment meant that everything worked properly too. The six cylinder engines are wonderfully smooth and if you need plenty of room in the back then find yourself a longer and lovelier Sovereign. Rear suspension bushes are the usual MOT fail point. But at least it is relatively cheap to sort out. A lot of electrics to go wrong so make sure that the seats and steering column all function properly. History is vital for these models.
Jaguar XJ8 1997 – 2003 Old model XJ looks like a Jag should, low, sporty and sexy, but also because it is reassuringly British and not cold and German. It is smooth, powerful and certainly sumptuous inside. Oh yes and you get plenty of standard equipment and the prices could not be lower. The 3.2 is the entry-level model but does not feel it. Many owners report that they can coax a genuine 30mpg out of theirs.Engines don’t cause a problem. Ensure that main agent recalls have been done. Shock absorbers and worst-case scenario subframes need replacing at £400 plus. Also air conditioning condensers can go.
S Type What you get here is creamy performance all wrapped up in a very distinctive shell. It certainly delivers all the wonderful Jaguar characteristics of smoothness, sophistication and a wonderfully cosseting interior. Handling is sharp enough but later cars are better certainly from 2001 upgrades. Petrol hungry V6 and V8, diesel not until 2004. Faulty coil packs, suspension anti roll bar bushes are the usual Jaguar problems, though more seriously the automatic gearboxes can jam in park. Fractured gas pipe can mean air con no longer works but access is limited, so costly to fix.
S Type R Here is our prediction for a future classic. The Type R has the attitude and performance, which turned it into one of the most aggressive Jaguars ever built. Performance is truly breathtaking as the V8 engine tugs the car along at a limited 155mph. Very crisp handling and compact package. When it stops depreciating quite it is bound to increase in value. A great way to have fun. V8 engine is particularly strong, but wear and tear on the brakes and suspension is the major concern on a mileage heavy example. Engine access on S-Types is tight so even routine jobs like plug changes take longer and cost more to do.
XKR If the standard XK is not enough, then here is the 911 frightening, supercharged XKR which is better value and far easier to own than that Aston you thought you wanted to own. You never tire of the wood and leather ambience of it all, but getting to 60mph in a smidgen over 5 seconds is priceless. When it fails the MOT, mostly it is because the big cats cat has gone, the cost is over £400 to replace the important end of the exhaust. Also air flow meters, which also affect emission readings, are over £300.
E Type Which isn’t very Bangernomics and never really was, but if a more beautiful sports car has ever been designed we have yet to see it. This is the most iconic of classic cars that screams swinging sixties at you, baby. Coupe or convertible both are seriously sexy, have great six cylinder XK engines and still turn heads today. Never buy an E that needs work, as it will take years and a fortune to fix. Better to buy a solid example. Great parts availability means that it is a practical proposition as an almost daily driver, though you should upgrade cooling, electrics and brakes.