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There are few more elegant cars than the big cats, they’re long and lithe and seem poised to pounce the moment you bury your right foot in the shag pile. The company once used the slogan “pace with grace” and that pretty much sums up the big Jaguar saloons. The seventh generation Jaguar XJ saloon emerged in 2003, and yet again it looked for all the world like a makeover of the first XJ shown back in the late-1960s. The XJ8 of 2003 boasted a similar balance despite being significantly larger than the model it replaced. If it looked a throwback to the past the X350, as it was known, was no such thing once you dug under the skin and realized the depth of engineering that marked this cat out as a very new beast. If there’s been a constant criticism of the big cats over the years it’s that its exterior size wasn’t translated into interior room and that the interior was cramped, particularly in the rear seat.
At the core of the XJ was a rivet-bonded aluminium monocoque construction that slashed the big cat’s weight by 200 kg or more. While Jaguars have always been a pleasure to drive the dynamics and sheer speed of this model shifted it into an elite class occupied by the likes of BMW M-Series and ’Benz AMG models.
When it arrived in 2004 the double overhead camshaft 3.0-litre V6 had 179 kW at 6800 revs and 300 Nm at 4100 revs. Add to the aluminium masterpiece self-leveling air springs to adjust the ride height to suit the speed the big cat is being driven at, and Jaguar’s adaptive shock absorbers and you have an awesome package.
Jaguar lost lots of ground to its German rivals when it, along with the entire British car industry, suffered a meltdown in the 1970s and ‘80s when it lost its way with build quality and engineering integrity.
There’s an awesome array of safety features in the XJ, as there should be on a car that cost around $200,000 when new. A big lump of a car, but surprisingly light for its dimensions means quite reasonable fuel economy.
Classic looks belie a thoroughly modern sporting saloon capable of matching the German bahn-stormers. There’s always a risk when revisiting the past that you won’t be able to recreate what you once adored. That was the way it was when Jaguar launched the S-Type in 1999 with much ado about the great Mark II that helped forge Jaguar’s great sporting tradition in the 1960s. With Jaguar’s lusty double overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine purring under its sleek bonnet, a racy four-speed manual gearbox, independent suspension and disc brakes, the Mark II stood head and shoulders above the ’60s crowd. Its reception was luke warm, particularly when compared to great cars like BMW’s 5-Series or Benz’s E-Class, and there were lots of scribes ready to put it down if it showed even the most minor weakness.
A major part of the problem was the decline of the British motor industry since the great days of the 1950s and ‘60s when it was a world leader in automotive technology.
With all of that baggage the S-Type faced an uphill battle to convince the sceptics it was worthy of considering alongside the new prestige heavyweights. The S-Type was clearly an attempt to snare more of the prestige market than Jaguar then had with the bigger XJ sedan. The headlamps, and adjacent driving lamps, screamed Mark II, the only thing missing was the famous ‘leaper’ bonnet mascot. Leather was used on the seats, which were supportive and comfortable, there were all the appropriate features like air-conditioning, CD sound, cruise along with a full array of instruments. The alternative V8 was a smooth and zesty 4.0-litre double overhead cam unit with 209 kW at 6100 revs and 380 Nm at 4100 revs. While the shift was reasonably effective, it really couldn’t compare with the simpler and more efficient manual shift functions offered by its rivals. The suspension was independent front and rear, and the handling was nicely balanced and secure when pressed on a challenging road. It’s times like that you also appreciate the presence of four-wheel disc brakes should your exuberance outstrip your ability. Step up to the V6 SE and you also got power steering adjustment, sunroof, sports steering wheel, power seats with memory, and front fog lamps. Take another step up to the Sport V6 and you lost the SE’s sunroof, but you got adjustable shocks for a sportier driving experience.
The introductory S-Type V6 is being valued at $55,000 for the 1999 models to $70,000 for the 2002. Early cars had troubles with the power steering hoses blowing, but this was supposedly fixed soon after the S-Type was launched here. Jaguars tend to be bought by Jaguar enthusiasts who are prepared to look after them and have them serviced according to factory recommendations. Check carefully for the telltale signs of crash damage, from ill-fitting panels, variable door gaps, mismatching paint. With dual airbags and side impact bags the S-Type has a full array of crash protection systems and you would expect them to perform well in a crash. The S-Type is too new to feature in the recent used car safety survey, too few were on the road, and involved in crashes, but they should be good in a crash. Anne Tootell always admired the classic Jags of the 1960s, the Mark I and II saloons and the E-Type sports car, but wasn’t a fan of the XJ6, so she was a natural candidate for the S-Type when it was launched.
Three years on from the end of hostilities it was time to unveil the cars they’d been working on.
Before the war they were called SS, short for Swallow Sidecar, the name of the company producing them, but after the war that name was on the nose after Mister Hitler and his henchman had committed all sorts of atrocities against innocent people.
Still today, 47 years after its spectacular launch at the Geneva Motor Show, the E-Type holds its allure with anyone who appreciates the automotive artform.
Jaguars were the quintessential sports cars when sports cars were special and not dressed up family cars. If the Jaguar road cars became all-time classics for their looks and performance, their allure was increased by the exploits of the racing Jaguars that were so successful in sports car racing in the 1950s. When it came to develop a replacement for the XK150 Jaguar blended the mechanics of the earlier XK sports models with the looks and construction of the D-Type. Low and sleek, with the classic long bonnet and short tail proportions that its predecessors had, the E-Type was beautiful in every sense of the word. It was a development of the famous XK engine that helped Jaguar establish its high performance credentials.
The first E-Type had a rather clunky Moss four-speed gearbox, which was one of the few criticisms of the early model. The E-Type’s suspension was independent front and rear, a combination of upper and lower wishbones with front torsion bars and a roll bar, and the brakes were discs all round, a product of Jaguar’s racing experience and advanced for the day.
On the road the E-Type could quite happily be driven quietly around town or it could just as happily be driven fast and furiously on the open road. The Series 2 came in 1966, but by then Jaguar had to bow to the safety demands of the US market, and there was the Series 3 V12 that came in 1971.
Along the way the shape on the bonnet changed to allow more cooling air into the radiator for hotter climates than it had to endure in its homeland, the headlights sadly were uncovered and raised to suit American laws, and the tail lights were also changed. The engine was enlarged to 4.2 litres in 1964, but without extra performance, the gearbox was changed to a Jaguar unit from the clunky old Moss ’box, the flat floor was altered with the addition of a depression for a footwell to give a more comfortable driving position. The E-Type was initially sold as a sleek coupe and a stunning convertible, but later the company bowed to the demand for a version that would accommodate more than the two of the original car and it produced the ugly duckling two-plus-two coupe from 1966. The E-Type is well and truly in the realm of the classic collector car today so you won’t find one sitting in a used car lot waiting to be snapped up. A Series 1 coupe can be had for $55,000-$80,000, but a similar convertible will cost $75,000-$120,000.

Start by checking the authenticity of the car as incorrect changes can have a dramatic effect on values. Its handling was impeccable, it generally braked well, and its engine gave it the zip to power out of trouble. With three SU carburetors feeding the Jaguar’s big six the E-Type could not be described as economical.
Selling from $70,000 when launched in Australia in September 2001, the X-Type was the lowest cost Jaguar had ever sold. Even better news was to come over the years as models - admittedly with considerably less performance and equipment - were introduced.
While they are smaller than the X-Type and it’s not a true comparison it does illustrate that the big boys are now all playing in the lower end of the market as well as on the stratosphere. Though the Jaguar X-Type has been disparagingly described as being a Ford Mondeo with a different body, there are numerous differences that do set the Jaguar apart from the Ford. Style has long been a major feature of all Jaguars and the smallest Jags certainly appeals visually. Similarly, the boot is on the shallow side, though it’s long enough and wide enough to give it a decent volume. Most importantly of all, the X-Type feels like a Jaguar, with comfortable suspension and silky light steering that differentiate it from the often firm German cars competing in this class.
Originally the Jaguar X-Type had the unique selling proposition of being sold only with all-wheel drive to improve its road grip and general handling. Transmissions are mainly automatic, though there were some imports of five-speed manuals of the FWD car prior to 2005. Spare parts prices are about average for a car in this upmarket class and we seldom hear complaints about availability. Insurance costs seem to vary more than average from company to company so it's worth shopping around for the best deal. By the time the Jaguar X-Type was launched, the company had completely revised its build procedures, resulting in a car that is of a higher quality than in some older Jags.
The latter may show up as mismatched paint colours from panel to panel, or perhaps as tiny specs of paint on unpainted surfaces.
Be sure the engine starts promptly, even in diesel format, and settles down to a smooth idle pretty well straight away. Beware to the upmarket vehicle that’s belonged to social climbers who struggle financially and therefore can’t afford to have their car serviced correctly.
Even when you delve back in history to the Mark V model of the late-1940s, the Mark VII of the 1950s, or the original XJ6 of the late-1960s you find a fabulous heritage of beautifully elegant saloons, and little has changed in the 60 years that have passed. That first car was such a beauty that it seems Jaguar couldn’t let it go, but then why should they. It was longer, wider and taller than its earlier cousin, and also had a longer wheelbase and reduced front overhang.
But the extra length, width and height was put to good use and went a long way to making this XJ competitive in terms of interior space. A stiffer, more sporting setup was optionally available, and there was the XJR for the ultimate ride. The grand old marque doesn’t have the same respect it once had, most of its buyers have moved on to BMW or ’Benz, and newer ones never knew it at its best. The problems were mostly silly little things that should never have occurred, but did, and were very frustrating for owners. The rigid monocoque chassis, its agility, precise and responsive steering, and powerful brakes give it the road holding to escape many crash situations you might encounter.
When it comes to cars the risk is even greater, and when you’re Jaguar and you’re trying to evoke memories of a great 1960s classic the risk is beyond imagination.
It was the model that really transported the company from a maker of great sports cars to one capable of going beyond the mould and making great sedans. It wasn’t possible for the S-Type to stand out like its legendary predecessor, and yet by recalling the Mark II Jaguar created an expectation that it would. By the 1990s it was a mere shadow of its former self, barely existing, and Jaguar was by then owned by Ford. It was designed to compete with the likes of the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class in the compact prestige segment. It was classic Jaguar from tip to toe with an athletic profile that flowed smoothly from its retro grille to its truncated rump. The large panels, and the relatively small glass area combined to make it look heavy when compared to the likes of its BMW and Benz rivals. The dash, with an appropriate dash of woodgrain, was tall and bluff, which made the Jaguar’s cockpit feel confined. While it was nice to think it might be a reincarnation of the old timer, the modern S-Type had to be a very competent road car to hold its own with the other great cars that were then in the market.
The V6 was a double overhead camshaft 3.0-litre unit pumping out 179 kW at 6800 revs and 300 Nm at 4100 revs. There was a five-speed auto available with both the V6 and V8 and this featured Jaguar’s unique, but rather clunky ‘J-gate’ shift that was basically a second gate that ran parallel with the main shift gate and allowed you to shift manually. Apart from the air-conditioning and sound system already mentioned the V6 came standard with alarm, immobiliser, adjustable steering column, power windows and mirrors, and trip computer.
Still, it’s important to check the service record to confirm a caring owner as some cars are bought purely for the prestige and are moved on before problems develop. The war in Europe had ended in 1945 and European carmakers had turned their attention back to peacetime production.
Just about every car company had new and exciting models to tempt the taste buds of anyone who could afford them. The first Jaguar, the pre-war SS100 wasn’t a Jaguar as such, but it was a pure sports machine. It retained the same classic proportions of the pre-war car, but had an all-enveloping body that blended the sweeping guards in with the overall body to create a beautiful car that still turns heads today. The XK120 remains a classic for good reasons, but it was followed by other classics in the XK140 and XK150, before the E-Type arrived in a blaze of glory in 1961.
The Le Mans-winning C-Type was a racing evolution of the road going XK120, but the D-Type was an all-new car that dominated Le Mans in the mid-‘50s. The main body was of monocoque construction similar to the D-Type’s, with front and rear subframes to carry the engine, gearbox and suspension at the front and the diff and rear suspension at the back. Under the massive one-piece bonnet was a 3.8-litre double-overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine fed by triple SU carburetors and developing close to 200 kW. With heaps of torque from its long strike configuration it was both flexible and capable of propelling the low-slung sports car to very high speeds.
That was changed in 1964 for a Jaguar four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, which was a much smoother shifting unit. The engine’s torque meant it would pull hard from low down in high gears and respond smoothly and willingly as the revs rose. With a bulging roofline the 2-plus-2 lost the classic lines and proportions of the original cars and wasn’t as popular with enthusiasts.
The Moss gearbox was tough and reliable, but not generally well liked because of its poor shifting quality, and many cars will have been updated to the later all-synchromesh ’box.
When driving listen intently for clunks and clinks that might signal a problem with universal joints, stub axle splines or bottom pivots. It was the product of a time it was thought that handling, braking and engine performance were enough to extract you from a tricky situation.
Sadly those things are no longer considered enough and cars are only thought safe if they have airbags and ABS, none of which the E-Type had. It was conceived in a time when petrol was cheap and there was no indication supplies would one day run out.

When the XE arrives in Australia in September it deserves to claw sales from the C-class, 3 Series and A4.Jaguar Land Rover Australia promises the XE price list will open close to $60,000, exactly the same neighborhood as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. So we could sample the surging supercharged speed of the S in safety, the company hired the Navarra circuit in Spain for the XE’s presentation to the world’s media. Its interior, which mimics some design features of the big XJ limo, lacks the instrument panel sparkle and rear-seat spaciousness of the best Germans. During one period of stock clearance you could buy a Jaguar X-Type brand new for only $49,990. Many Jaguar purists felt these ‘cheap’ Jaguars damaged the image of the marque. The design of its wide radiator grille and quad-headlights work beautifully and, like other Jaguars, the X-Type has the look of an athletic cat. This helped to lift it away from the “rebodied Ford Mondeo” perception and made a lot of sense from an image point of view. Dealers are focused on metropolitan areas, but the tie-up with Land Rover may mean that some country dealers have mechanics with experience on the Jaguar marque. You will probably be asked to pay more for one of these cars, but many regard it as money well spent. As always, make sure to do a proper comparison on what you get, and don’t get, for your premium dollar. It still pays to look it over carefully, and to have your initial inspection backed up by one from a professional. Look over the body for signs of previous panel damage or repairs. Today’s models are no less elegant than those early classics, even if some think they’re mired in the past. That original XJ6 was perfectly proportioned, with a balance of lines that keep it looking fresh 40 years later.
The lightness clearly comes through in the driving when the XJ feels agile and responsive, with quick, sensitive and precise steering that belies its physical size. The big cracker blown 4.2-litre engine, which powered the awesome XJR, had 298 kW at 6100 revs and 553 Nm at 3500 revs. Tradition played as big a role in determining the design of the interior as it did the exterior, with lashings of leather and touches of wood, as well as a raft of luxury features, like power seats, adjustable pedals and steering wheel, parking sensors, cruise, air, and a super sound system. For the 2004-2005 V6 pay $95.000-$105,000, for the small V8 (2003-2005) pay $98,000-$120,000, or $110,000-$130,000 for the bigger V8. But since Ford took over the quality has improved and there is little for owners to be concerned about. Once the metal begins to crumple there’s also an array of front and side airbags that come into play to protect you. It was the first of a series of sports cars with the XK prefix that culminated in the sexiest of them all, the E-Type. With its long bonnet, stumpy tail and flowing guards it looked the part, but even more it had the performance to back up its sporty looks.
Its handling was balanced and reassuring, but its braking initially left a little to be desired.
It’s not an official factory designation, but one that has been given to late Series 1 cars that had some of the Series 2 updates. The early Series 1 cars are the most sought after, and the convertible carries a higher sticker than the coupes. They tended to use oil so a blue haze coming from the tailpipes is not unusual, as long it’s not a smoke screen.
Check to make sure it goes into gear readily without baulking or clashing, which is likely to mean the synchros need replacing.
Any directional instability or wallowing when cornering briskly is likely to be caused by wear in the Metalistik bushes between the body and the rear subframe.
With a high level of driving pleasure to go with its fine looking exterior and up-to-date technology, the Jaguar has everything needed for success in the premium compact sedan category.Last time Jaguar tried something like this, it failed. However, this AWD difference disappeared with the launch of a front-wheel drive in May 2002. Front-wheel drive in a Jaguar – the purists were horrified yet again, but those who had always dreamt of owning a Jaguar were delighted with the price. The smaller V6 engine has reasonable performance as this car is significantly lighter than the AWD variants.
While there's the inevitable lag off the line and when you ask the engine to accelerate from low revs, once it has reached a cruising state it provides the serene motoring that appeals to those who love their Jaguars. Automatics have five ratios when fitted beside the petrol engines, but six with the turbo-diesel. Make enquiries if you do live in the bush and you would like to drive something out of the ordinary. The next best thing is an X-Type that’s for sale elsewhere, but which has a full service record from a Jaguar dealership. All that drive was then transferred to the black top through a ZF six-speed automatic with the final drive going through the rear wheels. Make sure the service schedule has been adhered to and the oil in particular has been changed. The 2001 to 2009 X-Type was a bright idea born in Detroit, designed and developed while the brand was Ford owned. Better still, the silkiness of a small V6 is appreciated as most in this class that generally only have four-cylinder powerplants in the lower cost models. With a solid, rigid foundation the XJ had a stable platform that could support the sort of handling the Jaguar engineers wanted to achieve, but it was just the start. With 18-inch wheels standard, and 19 and 20-inch wheels optional, be prepared to pay dearly when it comes time to replace the tyres. Basically a contemporary Mondeo wrapped in a vaguely retro Jaguar-look body, it didn’t fool smarter customers and only ever achieved half its 100,000 a year worldwide sales target. The Jaguar’s suspension design is a cut above class average, and it feels this way behind the wheel.
Hundreds of kilometres on winding Spanish roads in four-cylinder petrol and diesel XEs highlighted their exceptional blend of comfort and controllability. Other impressive aspects included Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment system, which allows the owner to make use of their smartphone’s smarts inside and outside the car, and the XE’s nothing-left-out list of safety-boosting driver aids. The XE a rear-drive car, like the C-Class and 3 Series, with a wind-cheating shape and classy engineering throughout.
This 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel four-cylinder, which is manufactured in a brand-new billion-dollar factory, will be soon joined by a same-size petrol-burning version.
Variants with more cylinders are also planned.For the Australian market the XE will arrive with a choice of turbocharged petrol or diesel fours, or, at the top of the range, a powerful supercharged petrol V6. All will drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission.The most affordable version of the XE will have a Ford four.
Sometime in the next one to two years, these will be replaced by Ingenium fours.Maximum output of the Ingenium turbo diesel four is 132kW. Jaguar has announced it is planning a high-output version, which will have two turbochargers instead of one.Naturally enough, the turbo diesel is the XE efficiency champ. Australia’s ADR 81 rating is based on the same driving cycles, so this model’s rating in  our market should be very close to this number.Four-cylinder XE models will be offered in Prestige and R-Sport equipment grades, with an additional luxury Portfolio level reserved for the high output Ecoboost engine.

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