2000 Jaguar Vanden Plas XJ8 VDP 4.0 N/A V8 from North America


I've been missing out


Fuel gauge is inaccurate below half of a tank (purchased like this).

VVT sensor left bank gasket leak (since owning).

Passenger seat fuse (since owning).

Clock bulb out (purchased like this).

General Comments:

Performance 9 - This car hauls butt. Seems a lot quicker than the quoted 0-62 6.6 second time. Never drove the super charger version, but if the N/A version hauls like this, I can only imagine the beast the XJR must be. It corners good enough for me. I ain't a drifter, and won't be pushing it like that around curves.

Reliability N/A - Can't judge yet for my own car. Internet surveys would have many to believe this is the biggest piece of crap of a car there is to buy. Owners I know, including two family members, have no issues besides the usual. Timing chain tensioners, must be upgraded from plastic as soon as they make noise, 50-60,00 miles. Meh, so do most timing belts, and on an old BMW it costs twice as much. MBZ 420SEL timing chain guides go for 60,000-100,000, but cost up to a few grand at the dealer just for the guides, not including chain and associated hardware. So it's normal for me, and less of a problem. Will update soon, but so far, only minor things that have been mentioned in the above category.

Comfort 9 - THE MOST IMPORTANT category to me. This car does well in this category. Not as super smooth as the S500, but very near, and without all the expensive gizmos and specialized shocks to do it. The seats are plush, some of the most comfortable ones I've sat in. Although some people a bit larger than my slim frame might find the foot wells and hip area cramped; it fits me perfectly.

Dealer service N/A - The dealer has no bearing on how much or how little I enjoy my car. Never understood the "Oh, the dealer customer service is crap. I hate my car" statements. Then again, it might not be in my cards to understand.

Running costs 5 - Meh, compared to the other cars I've had, the running costs are about average. Some parts are more than on the MBZ 420, some are less, some are more than the BMW, some are less. Most parts seem less than the 300 though, ironically but understandable, as many components on the 300 are shared with MBZ, especially routine service items. Gas is better than the old MBZ by quite a bit, but less than the BMW 528e, and about the same as the 300 touring (I'm talking real world driving in my style, not some trumped up paper stats).

Overall this car is good. Good looks, good ride, comfortable, and good performance, without making a bunch of racket.

Features - Compared to the W220 and BMW 745li, this car lacks some of the electronic nut gadgets, and a person that has to have the latest electronic toy, that is out every other month, will find this car a tad boring. But I ain't one of them. I like the lack of tracking device *ahem* I mean navigation system. I don't miss the cooling seats, and the ones in the MBZ and BMW don't work well at all anyways, although the one in the 2009 DTS and Escalade does (go figure).

I like the good old wood and leather smell, and soft touch surfaces that can only be found in the V-12 version of the BMW and S-Class, although the S-Class skimps on the wood.

This car has enough electronic things for me; cruise control, heated seats front and back, sports mode, and alarm and radio. Even though if the OEM radio goes out, it will be a pain in the butt getting a proper aftermarket in there, if say one was to want to upgrade to a DVD system.

Interior - The BMW 760li beats it, but that is a 100,000+ vehicle vs a 65,000 odd vehicle, so rightfully so, but the Vanden Plas is nicer than the W220 to me. The W140 comes close, but I think the VDP is warmer than the more business executive office of the W140. Kind of reminds me of if there was a lower end 2000 Bentley Arnage, like an S500 is to the S600, or the 745 is to the 760. Scores a ten for the interior.

Engine - The 4.0 kind of sounds measly compared to the rest of the stable, and past members of the stable such as the 5.6 V8, 4.2 from 1988, the 3.5 I6, 3.5 V-6, 5.7 V-8 and so on. But I'll tell you what, the Jag will smoke them all, with only the 560 SEL giving it a run for its money, given they have similar power rating/torque (my 560 was an odd ball, with a measured 275 hp compared to the usual US spec of 239hp). While not quite as fast as the MBZ S500 of 2000, and it seems quicker than the 740il of the day, and it's fast enough to get into big speed ticket and or jail territory without realizing it. All out of a measly 4.0.

Engine Serviceability - Things are easy to get to relative to other year 2000+ cars (Note: I'm used to working on MBZ/BMWs and other high end Euros, so relatively is the key word). Looks intimidating to some at first look, but after the plastic decorations are off, it's simple. And much easier than the 2000 740il and S500. Very similar to the W140 S420 in the difficulty of accessing parts. Cost is on par with the 560SEL, and way less overall than the S500/745li. But there are some computer gizmos that are not for someone that is in a hurry, and or who has no idea what they are doing. Some things, like the S420 require special tools, and some things can be done with regular tools.

Well I'm not worried about costs too much anyways, as I was planning on buying a 2000 Bentley Arnage anyway, but realized it wouldn't be too bright, given that I never worked on a Bentley, and there is no one out here within 5 hours to take the car to for repairs or questions/advice, so I'll settle for a Jag for now, until I move out of this desolate city.

I haven't felt this good about a car purchase in a long time. Even had a 300 once, and sold it soon after. Not that it was a bad car; it just was missing that old school leather, wood, smooth motoring feel, which is going the way of the dodo these days. Probably there won't be many new cars to buy that fulfill that, and Bentley has killed off the Arnage, and the Mulsanne is on its last legs, and the rest of them look like rebadged Volkswagens. I guess the 2000-2006 Arnage will be next. I think this Jag would look nice parked next to the Arnage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th March, 2012

13th Sep 2012, 16:01

Update - Well the usual A-drum in transmission went out, and caused the metal shards to get throughout the transmission. New one being installed. I knew this was going to happen eventually, as it seems like most of them chew up the original A-drums - $2500+ in repairs.

Besides that, still running like new. Seems the rest of the car will hold up well for a very long time.

Remember the original A-drum is the weak spot in these cars, or any car with the ZF5hp24 transmission for that matter (i.e. automatic VWs, Audis, BMWs of that era, and a few more). So not Jaguar specific, but more ZF transmission specific, so can't knock Jag for that one.

Although I can't lie and say that I did not consider trading it in and getting the one with the MBZ transmission, but haven't found a nearby Super-V8, and the XJRs ride way too rough for me, so I figure after this repair, no more worries on that end, at least, expensive worries.

2000 Jaguar Vanden Plas from North America

General Comments:

The chain tensioners on the XJ8's between 98 and 2000 are a huge problem on these cars. They all fail sooner or later starting at about 55,000+-. The problem is when they do fail it usually causes the complete loss of the engine. Jaguar is incredibly malicious in not warning owners of a relatively easy (but not that inexpensive) fix with updated tensioners. The originals are plastic and Jag is aware of this problem.

Many, many owners now are being faced with replacement/rebuilt of the engine.

Stay away from these cars with more than 50K mi without the tensioner upgrade.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th June, 2006