1988 Jaguar XJS Reviews

1988 Jaguar XJS 5.3 Litre HE V12 from North America

Model year1988
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 5.3 Litre HE V12 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired109600 miles
Most recent distance113000 miles
Previous carJaguar XJ6

Summary:

The XJS is superb machine; own one and you will not go back to driving American or Japanese cars

Faults:

The left rear wheel bearing need replacing.

Power steering leak, it only needed clamps tightened.

Block heater shorted out, put a new one in today.

Heater core is plugged, I'll fix it soon.

Body work, need some minor repairs, under the fender behind the left rear wheel.

General Comments:

This is absolutely the greatest car I have ever driven. I love the way it handles, and don't even mind the stock suspension, which by all accounts is quite soft.

The interior is small, but then so am I at five foot three and half inches tall, weighing 130 pounds. My six foot six inch tall friend couldn't even get in the car.

One has to learn to duck their head when getting in the car, or get used to lumps on the skull, ha ha ha.

The XJS has a very private and small cabin, an important feature for a female driver like myself. It is not easy to view the driver from certain angles, and if there is a driver in another vehicle, especially a truck, he is not able to see my face, nor can I see his if he is driving on the right hand side of me.

At first I had a problem with the funny headlights, but now that I am used to them, I am not going to change them for the quad set.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th December, 2009

1988 Jaguar XJS 3.6 3.6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 3.6 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.2 / 10
Distance when acquired94000 miles
Most recent distance116000 miles
Previous carJaguar XJ6

Summary:

Marvelous, but infuriating

Faults:

Air conditioning system - new compressor, evaporator, condenser...

Doors and lower rear quarters rusting fast.

Speedometer transducer failed.

Headlamp wiring breaking up.

Intermittent mis-fire.

Central locking comes and goes, as does the passenger electric window.

General Comments:

It's a super car. More than fast enough - 120mph comes up quite quickly, and more is availble if you are determined enough! I've seen 135mph and it was still accelerating. Handling is beautifully balanced, and it doesn't betray it's weight, even on a race track. The ride, though, is a lot less comfortable than older Jags.

It's very comfortable, though the back seats are useless - more so on the later cars which have 'fatter' seats!

It still causes comment. Several people have stopped me to say what a beautiful car it is.

Sadly, the number of seemingly incurable faults is driving me mad. I have no idea what to replace it with. I've run a Mercedes 500SEC, Range Rovers, several Jaguar saloons, even a Rolls. The XJ-S is a superb design - but even when maintained 'regardless of cost' they still suffer unreliability. I've covered over 20,000 miles in the last year, and spent perhaps £4,000. And still the air conditioning is broken...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2004

18th May 2005, 10:25

I agree with you 100%. For this reason I would never buy anything other than an immaculate example. I bought a 3.6 1987 and whilst I loved it, the cost of replacing the heater matrix and curing the various faults and rust associated with a c. 1987 British Leyland car just ended up depressing me. When I retire I have promised myself a nice V12 to keep for high days and holidays. This will be kept in my hangar of toys.

9th Nov 2008, 01:19

I have just bought my second Jag. A 1988 XJ VDP. It has 173,000 miles and when I got it last month, the first thing I did was to invest a couple of hundred dollars in replacing the original valve cover gasket and clean the engine bay. It is a beautiful classic design with a most comfortable ride.

This Jag came with very thick maintenance receipts. It seems that the original owner had replaced all the parts that had gone bad, and I'm the lucky one to claim a Jag that's been fixed of the bugs!

It's in immaculate condition. According to the Jag mechanic the car should last another 100k miles with regular maintenance.

I do have one qualm about this Jag and that's it's acceleration. I've read and seen a video in YT how fast and or nimble this 3.6L engine is, but mine seems so slow going from 0-60. This despite the YT video showing that the same '88 3.6L model burning rubber in a standing acceleration. I don't believe something is wrong with the engine, because when I accelerate in freeway speed it has a good pick-up.

All in all, I'm very happy with my purchase. My advice is get one before they all rot to hell and there will be no more of these cars.

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 7 reviews