The Jaguar XJR, especially 1997-2003, is the best performance car value on the market today. On the private, secondary market, cars in good condition can be had for well below comparative market value. What makes the Jaguar XJR an exceptional deal is the same thing that has made Jaguar incomparable- the mystique, the level of class and luxury and an intangible quality that has no rival on the used car market.
Putting those intangibles aside, look at performance first. The Jaguar XJ sedan was the unchallenged fastest 4 door sedan in the world for years, but recently, the XJR raised the bar and forced BMW and Mercedes to step up their game. Today, the Jaguar XJR is still in the top ten, posting 0-60 times of 5.3 seconds and the current generation can do it in 4.7 seconds. To be in the top ten in anything is noteworthy, to do it in one of the most competitive market segments of production cars going up against the best in the world is quite another. A second generation Jaguar XJR can cover the quarter mile in mid 13’s stock, easily slipping into the 12’s with minor bolt on goodies. That’s quick, ask Mr. Corvette. The Jaguar XJR gets that performance from a brilliant 4.0 to 4.2 liter, all aluminum, 32 valve V8, supercharged to produce 370-400hp and more than 380ft lbs of torque. Weighing in at just under 4,000lbs that much power can only be described as grinning, good fun.
Performance might be what gets your attention, but to hold the title of ‘Best Of’ anything requires a satisfactory running cost to go along with it. Today’s performance automotive consumer will accept nothing less and it is here that the Jaguar XJR defies logic. Logic because if you ask anyone about Jaguars, two things will pass their lips; beautiful cars, hope you can keep it running. Surprisingly, Jaguars have been ranked in the top 5-6 by J.D. Power and Associates year after year for reliability. Yep, the old man down the street who you see constantly fiddling with his gorgeous Jaguar to keep it running would never believe these are the same cars. Truth be told, they aren’t the same because Ford bought Jaguar in 1989 and they have thrown all of their resources at making the Jaguar extremely reliable. Ford has done an outstanding job. However, it tends to be European performance cars in general that require perspective buyers to pay attention to 3 critical things;
1. Timing chains or tensioners- common with all multi-valve, overhead motors
2. Water pumps and thermostats- European cars rev more that American counterparts so they tend to wear quicker
3. Nikasil cylinders- only tends to be an issue infrequently, but the gas you use is a major factor, use the best, the cars deserve it.
Even today, with the facts in and tallied, the Jaguar XJR seems to be the forgotten of the lot when it comes to performance cars but some of this may be due to the fact that the Jaguar brand has never been about being ostentatious, rather as the founder Mr.Lyons would say, “Grace, Pace and Space.” Speaking of space, one of the knocks on the XJ and XJR has always been about the lack of rear passenger room. It’s a valid concern, but if you’re looking for express transit for 5 adults or more, get a Porsche Cayenne. However, kids make the best gigglers anyway and to this end, the Jaguar XJR will suit the purpose like no other because of it’s stealth quality avoiding ‘black and white’ attention which can be embarrassing to explain to the kids.
In closing, the point is, if you are in the market for a high performance sedan, the Jaguar XJR is a car that not only should not be ignored, but should be put at the top of your list and compared all others to it. The Jaguar XJR in any pound for pound, dollar for dollar comparison, will come out on top. Buy now before the rest of the market figures it out.