2003 Jaguar XJ8 4.2

Summary:

Grace, space and pace

Faults:

Front parking sensor had to be replaced.

Cracked rear suspension bushes replaced.

Curling trim on glovebox lid.

Split in boot seal.

General Comments:

Despite similar looks, the X350 is a generational shift from the X300/X308 series and is a far more modern and sophisticated car.

These cars are seriously fast on the open road (mine is the 4.2 V8 - the 3.0 might work a bit harder), but a gentleman's club on wheels around town. It is a fantastic long-distance tourer, which shrugs off poor road surfaces. The low speed ride is a little firmer than its predecessors (but still in a class of its own compared to Audi & BMW), but the trade-off is far better high speed body control and less cornering roll.

The interior is beautifully trimmed and much more spacious than the older XJs, even in SWB form. The sound system is superb. My 10+ year old car still looks and feels new inside and out. Everything works as it should, and there are no creaks or rattles.

Criticisms? Try and find one with HID lights, as the standard headlights are no better than adequate (I bought extra-bright Phillips bulbs for mine and that helped a bit). The boot is large, but takes careful packing as the floor is uneven. The screen for the sat nav can be unreadable in the Australian sun; but the lady giving directions is terribly British and polite, so you can just listen to her! And beware the cost of updating the sat nav disk - over $200 - no wonder mine was 8 years out of date when I bought the car.

Running and service costs (IF you find a good independent Jaguar specialist) are surprisingly reasonable. The car has been totally reliable in my ownership. Fuel consumption is absurdly good for a large V8 - I average 13.5 l/100 km around town and have seen as little as 7.8 on a long country drive, with about 8.5 being typical if you're cracking on a bit more.

In summary, my previous XJ6 gave me four years of cheap and reliable luxury motoring, and this car is a significant step up from that in everything except its exterior styling (subjective I know, but I think the X300/308 were even more nicely proportioned). I anticipate keeping it for many more years: until the current model gets cheap enough to be a bargain second hand proposition!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2014

2004 Jaguar XJ8 X350 3.5 V8

Summary:

I intend on keeping it forever - its motoring perfection!

Faults:

Brake pads when bought were incorrect - rattled. This is because new ones were fitted as part of the complying process. Dealer blew his nut when he found out what the importer had done and replaced with genuine Jaguar pads at his cost.

Rear part of driver's seat cushion height adjustment moves only a little bit each time you operate the button - must be a dead fuse or similar - hardly worth mentioning and no plans to fix.

Other than that its been completely un-Jaguar in reliability - perfect in other words. Not a rattle to be heard.

General Comments:

Picked up in as new condition ex-Japan for a sinful price. Feel sorry for the Japanese guy who would have lost over $100,000 on it. It wasn't even properly run in when we purchased it - as the fuel economy has improved significantly.

Hopefully I will never have to sell this car. We have owned it for 6 months and loved every drive in it. I cannot fault this beautiful car. It has timeless elegant styling which gets complemented on by complete strangers, unsurpassed comfort and it drives beautifully regardless of whether you feel like wafting or racing. Fuel economy has settled out at 27.1 miles per gallon which is incredible for a luxury V8, given that the air conditioning is always on and a lot of my driving is stop-start. After 15 years of driving reliable, inoffensive Ford Falcons (EA GL, then EL Fairmont, then BA XR6 Turbo), I have rediscovered the joy of driving a Jag, without the pain of owning a temperamental British rust bucket.

Why anyone would choose the competition over this evades me - I'm in love. Have always loved Jags, but gave up on them when the running costs on our 79 Daimler XJ6 Sovereign became unbearable - at 12 years old. However on the new X350 it is clear that the build quality and intelligent design is up to the best of European standards. I am confident that this car will, with the proper care it deserves, last for decades.

The 6 speed ZF auto transmission is sublime, I strongly recommend you go for any of the vehicles to which it is fitted over those without. The air suspension gives that uniquely Jaguar experience - hot air balloon ride and a straight line through corners. Best tech features are the touch screen (so easy to use), the heated seats all round, adjustable pedals, the automatic wipers and remote window open and close.

The only sacrifices one has to make with this car is the space - which is okay if you have two six-footers in a row, but no taller, and shallow boot leaves something to be desired, and parking in town - this is one big cat. That said, it is still, by a country mile, the best car I have owned. I'll drop a comment in at the start of '09 as to how its going then.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2008

11th May 2009, 18:02

Update from owner: At 49000 km have had no problems at all. It tends to show dirt very easily (Jaguar Racing Green) so come spring will go beyond the normal and do a full cut and polish, followed by two coats of progressively finer polish, to bring up a nice repellent sheen. Would like to hear from other owners who have experienced problems so I can perform preventative maintenance.

Value has plummeted. Have seen comparable for $30000. Sort of wish we had bought NZ new or a Singapore import for the 'euro style' boot lid with wider number plate surrounds. But happy with the car and as we paid bottom dollar in the first place we haven't really lost anything. I expect when the new XJ comes out it will drop a little more, then steady out, then maybe climb a bit as it becomes a modern classic - end of an era. All the more reason to keep it immaculate.

My advice to anyone considering these cars is to grab a used one now, the value is outstanding and the running costs are no more than a modest medium-large family car and certainly less than any SUV. Look out for dodgy dealers though - it is worth paying the small premium for one from the main dealer. Usually you can use the cheaper ones from other dealers as examples to haggle with.