I bought this car as a replacement for a 1992 'facelift' model 5.3 litre V12, which I had used as an everyday car for the previous three years. The old car was great, but it had a non-standard tuned exhaust system, with no catalytic converters. I got tired of the battle to meet the emission standards each year so with 126,000 miles on the clock (I started at 58,000) it was time to move on.
I was considering a used XJR saloon, but a female friend told me that a four door car was out of the question for a single man! By coincidence I saw this car advertised nearby; it is the same Burgundy color as my previous XJS, but with cream upholstery instead of tan and only 42,000 miles. I believe it was one of the last 100 V12s built.
I expected it to be much the same as the old car, but I found it to be faster, smoother, more economical (well, it's all relative!) and better built. Instead of the old 3 speed automatic gearbox this car has a 4 speed with a Sports Mode switch which gives impressive performance. It's a great sensation to be cruising at 90mph and then hit the accelerator and feel the car kickdown and leap forward. The increase from 5.3 to 6.0 litres and other improvements have added about 35BHP I believe - my insurance company certainly think so and increased the premium accordingly.
One annoying change with the later cars is the loss of the glovebox. The passenger side airbag has taken its place and providing little pouches on the front edge of the seats doesn't really compensate for it.
I use independent Jaguar specialists for maintenance and don't stint on keeping the car in perfect condition, there are already too many scruffy XJS' on the road. At least the service interval has gone up from 7,000 miles to 10,000 miles on this car.
In summary, driving an XJS always gets you noticed and the feeling of smooth power under your right foot is a real pleasure, even after the most trying day at work. The 6.0l V12 model is the nicest XJS I've driven, I think the leather seats are even better than on earlier models. The extra performance is great fun on quiet roads late at night, though a bit more 'feel' through the power steering would have been nice.
I can't think of a better value supercar that is also a practical car for daily use - I do about 20,000 miles a year. Maintenance costs need to be considered, but if the latest bill gets you down you can always go for a drive...