Think of a performance saloon car and your mind is immediately drawn to Jaguar. Their back catalogue includes some desirable machinery, none more so than the XJR.
Between 1997 and 2003, the X308 ditched the familiar straight-six and V12 motors for all-new 3.2-litre and 4.0-litre V8 engines. These were married to a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic gearbox.
The traditional XJ three-box shape was brought bang up-to-date, with four round headlamps set under a wonderfully low-slung bonnet. The low roofline, leading into a long sloping boot lid completed the rakish side profile.
The interior was covered in fine leather, with a liberal dose of wood for the full Jaguar effect. Equipment count was suitably high, with little need to raid an options list.
The two V8 engines were wonderfully refined and plenty powerful enough for most buyers, but those who felt the need for speed were able to choose the XJR. This added a supercharger to the larger 4.0-litre engine.
Now boasting a whopping 370bhp and 387lb/ft of torque, the performance on offer was truly startling. Top speed was limited to 155mph, quite fast enough, but it was the XJR V8’s sprinting ability which truly impressed. In dry conditions, the super quick Jaguar could sprint from 0 to 60mph in a whisker over five seconds. Yes, you read that correctly.
Not only that, with sport mode engaged on the gearbox, the Jag’s overtaking ability was truly astonishing. A twitch of the right foot would see the box drop a cog or two and then any slower traffic would be dispatched in the blink of an eye. All this and the ability to carry 3 passengers in comfort, with a generous sized boot for all their chattels.
Past owners include the Top Gear duo of Messrs Clarkson and Hammond. Richard so regretted selling his example, that we gather that he recently bought it back. Jeremy, meanwhile, was said to have claimed that the XJR is “faster in the real world than a Ferrari 355.” If our memory serves us correctly, he owned both, so was more than suitably qualified to comment.
Registered on 1 August 1998 by Stratstone Jaguar of Mayfair, this Jaguar XJR was sold to a gentleman who resided in Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge - the kind of street where the rows of performance cars parked along it say as much about the area as the white-fronted Georgian properties themselves.
It remained in the first owner’s possession until 2019 before being sold to a Jaguar enthusiast who kept it only a year. A further short-term owner later and it has come into stock with our trade vendor.
Incredibly, the car has covered just 27,000 miles, as verified by the MOT and service histories.
On the Outside
The exterior of the Jaguar is painted in their Platinum Silver colour and the condition overall is very good.
It obviously isn’t perfect, no car ever is, there are a few minor blemishes and signs of use, such as a tiny scuff to the nearside corner of the front bumper and a little lacquer damage on the boot lid - but these are few and far between and only to be expected on a car of this age, even a low mileage one.
The XJR sits on its factory optioned 18-inch Penta alloy wheels, which present reasonably well with no obvious damage. They are shod in matching Pirelli P-Zero tyres dating from 2020 at the front and 2012 on the rears - the latter of which would benefit from replacement in the near future.
On the Inside
The interior is clad in Warm Charcoal leather - an almost black shade that is also perforated on the seat facings and steering wheel hand grips. The upholstery appears in a good condition - again as you’d expect on a low mileage car - with just a little light creasing on the front seats and a small crack in the wood veneer of the passenger door trim.
All looks good across the dash and instrument panel - there is a slight delamination happening on the LCD displays of the radio and the odometer, but neither affects the readability or functionality.
As with the majority of XJRs, this car was well specified with the high end tech of the time, such as the Harman Kardon sound system, cruise control, multi-zone climate control, fully electric leather seats and a CD multi changer.
The floor carpets appear clean and undamaged - with overmats for further protection - and the headlining is unmarked with no sagging.
Under the front-hinged bonnet, the engine bay looks clean and well packaged, with just enough space to fit all the ancillaries around the V8, with its supercharger and coolers on top.
The vendor reports that the undersides are free of rust, and he also says that the running gear such as the brakes work well and that there is no play or noise coming from the suspension anywhere on the car.
Inside the boot, which goes back a good way, the carpet and linings are intact and relatively clean. Installed to the left side are the CD changer and what looks like an additional Pioneer audio module. Under the floor is a full-size spare alloy, complete with Pirelli P-Zero tyre.
This XJR has a current MOT valid until Jan 2024, which it passed with no advisories - as it has since 2019.
The history file contains a number of old MOTs and garage invoices for parts and work done. Both keys and key fobs are present along with the original owner's book pack. The service book contains the following entries:
Jul 1998 - 27 miles PDI - Stratstone Jaguar Mayfair
Jun 2000 - 5,355 - a/a
Jun 2001 - 8,405 - a/a
Jul 2002 - 12,726 - a/a
Jul 2003 - 14,308 - a/a
Jul 2004 - 15,607 - Stratstone Jaguar St John’s Wood
Jul 2005 - 17,599 - Sevan Motors, Hammersmith
Aug 2019 - 24,389 - Renaissance, Surrey
Jan 2020 - 24,732 - WS Autos/Hurst Park - top tensioners and drive belts
Mar 2021 - 25,102 - P&C Motor Engineers, Letchworth
Jan 2023 - 27,641 - C&K Motors, Leominster
What We Think
The XJR V8 Supercharged was Jaguar’s ultimate sports saloon of the twentieth century. With 380bhp going straight to the rear wheels, and without many of today’s driver aids, this big cat will still chastise an over-exuberant driver with a wag of its tail. For those who just want to be wafted along swiftly, it performs brilliantly.
This example has been very well looked after and the vendor reports that it is in top condition both mechanically and aesthetically. There won’t be many opportunities to find a well presented XJR with such low mileage and we think it will sell for between £12,500 and £15,500.
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