1996 Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign 4.0

Summary:

True luxury motoring with low cost of entry!

Faults:

No rust and no mechanical or electrical failures.

Some suspension components replaced due to wear and tear.

Drivers seat bolster has begun to wear.

General Comments:

I have had this car for 2 years and put 36,000 miles on it without a single hitch. From the comprehensive service records I have from the previous keeper it appears that in it's lifetime the only trips to the dealer/mechanic it has made have been for routine servicing.

Gear changes are well off the pace by the standards of the 6 speed box in the current cars, but in comparison with any contemporary car they are very smooth and commendably quick. The very tall 1st gear does tend to significantly blunt off the line starts, as is reflected in the fairly high 0 - 60 time of 7.8 seconds, however once rolling it is a quick car even by todays standards. The car is far more responsive with the autobox in S mode, and is decidedly sedate in N.

Torque from the AJ16 straight six engine is impressive, with the car surging along nicely on even small throttle openings. This makes almost all aspects of driving extremely easy.

Refinement from the engine is generally good, although noticeable worse than the V12 or later V8 engines. Vibration at tickover is barely noticeable, but the engine does tend to drone somewhat at speed. This is made far more noticeable by the quietness of the car otherwise. It generally sounds like a very large hairdrier, only really making a nice snarl when you're really booting it.

The handling is very good for a car of this size, but it is far more at home on sweeping A roads than on very twisty B roads - the sheer width and weight of the car see to that, however it's a lot more fun to drive quickly on any road than a contemporary S class, 7 series and certainly an LS. The firmer suspension on the sports models would be welcome on twistier roads, however.

The cabin is a truly fabulous place to be, and although less spacious than other cars in this class I find this adds to the feeling - the high transmission tunnel and large centre console combined with the low stance of the car give it a sports car like feel. For a car of this age the standard equipment is superb, and everything still works! The climate control system is excellent, and the electric/memory seats, mirror and steering column make it easy to get comfortable.

Running costs are high, although fuel aside not as bad as you'd expect. Big brand tyres are around £100 each online and service parts are not that expensive from Jaguar and aftermarket parts are often available. Fuel economy around the mid 20s is possible if you're not driving in town and have a light foot, and the low teens is perfectly possible if you're driving hard. Over the last 36,000 miles of very mixed driving I've averaged just over 20mpg.

Servicing can be carried out at home by anyone mechanically competent, as these cars are significantly less complex than the later V8 models. Access around the engine is generally excellent due to the engine bay being designed to accommodate the V12 engine! If home service isn't your thing absolutely any competent workshop should be able to service the car and carry out any repairs, and there are plenty of independent Jaguar specialists around too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2008