A lovely place to watch the road unwind from. I have owned two of these. My first was an 85 V12, and now this one, a 95 Coupe, with the 4.0 6 cylinder engine. In terms of overall refinement, it is my opinion that the later car is in a totally different league, but that does not diminish the standing of the earlier cars in the slightest.
These are unique automobiles. They clearly were affordable exotics, and mostly, better cars than most people thought.
These were (the earlier cars, pre-90s) perhaps the most complicated automobiles ever made. Seriously. My advice would be that you do not consider ownership if you are not VERY well inclined mechanically and with eclictrical systems troubleshooting, or unless you have lots of money.
That being said, these are some of the most comfortable, enjoyable cars to take a road trip in that you can imagine. They are capable of chewing up enormous distances in a day, can cruise at speeds that many cars would struggle to reach, and do so in a grand manner.
And they are rare. It has been years since I have passed by one on the highway. You just don't see one everyday... In fact, you don't see them hardly at all. If you want a car that speaks to individuality, it would be difficult to do better at 10 times the money.
These are lovely cars. The interior of the later cars is like nothing else on the planet. Old world charm and comfort abound, but in an intimate space, where you are surrounded by soft skins, thick carpeting, and beautiful wood-grains.
The driver ergonomics are somewhat flawed by not having a proper dead-pedal, and by having a slighly odd relationship between the seat and steeringwheel position. The wheel is adjustable but does not telescope (in the 95 anyway). With the seat close to the wheel, the pedals are too close. The Steering wheel is also a bit to big cramping the thighs a bit (I am 6', 190). The seat is not adjustable except in for-aft movement and seat-back rake (there is a lumbar adjustment too, but that is minor). Most luxury cars offer tilt and height adjustments, so this is an odd oversight. Still, with some fiddling, most people could probably find a very comfortable postion.
The cabin is quiet. At 110 mph, it is still relativly wind-free. At about 120, some aerodynamic buffeting starts to take place, which doesn't become anymore severe as speeds approach 150mph, though of course wind noise does.
I have driven my car at top speed and it did reach an indicated speed of 147mph which is exactly what the manufacturers claim is, however the speedometer of my car reads a bit fast. Based on my estimate using a stopwatch and milage markers, I recon that the actual top speed was about 145. Not bad for a 237 HP 6 cyl car. Not bad at all.
The ride is hard to describe. This car uses a rather tall, narrow tire, which is actually beneficial to comfort, and the suspension, even though based on a design that goes back 40 years (XKE), handles bumps and dips better than most cars of its size and weight. This is a heavy car though (even the V6 weighs in at around 3800 Lbs), so the handling isn't sports-car like, but much better than a sedan, and it rides better than most sedans do.
In the end though, I think that what makes these cars so desirable is the strong character. This results from a combination of heritage, styling, engineering, scarcity, and raw mystique. No other cars at affordable prices generate the same passion in me as the XJS does and few PRACTICAL cars top it at ANY price.