30th Jul 2010, 15:08
Well, I'm not a fat old middle aged guy (just a somewhat middle aged gal who also wanted a Jag the first time I ever saw one), and they turn my head every time. I just bought one and will be selling my 1990 Sovereign to move up to the XJ12. Can't wait, even though I love my Sovereign too.
2nd Dec 2010, 20:55
I have a 85 XJS V12. I am 60 years old and have had many very nice cars. I have never had a car that draws so much attention from the general public, especially young women, as this machine.
26th Oct 2013, 02:02
The suspension was okay, but not great. Jaguar had to use a shortened wheelbase from the XJ sedan to save money and it showed. It did not take much of hairpin curve to get those Pirelli P5 tires to squeal, although the body showed little lean in the curves. 3960lbs of weight conspired with a lazy 2.79:1 final drive ratio, and meant that the big cat would not win many stoplight derbies. The tire combination and a lack of a rear stabilizer bar meant that the skid pad was limited to .73g.
The car was ten years old by the time I bought mine new in 1985, design wise, and it showed. So did the cheap British Leyland switchgear, which was no match to the newer products from Mercedes Benz and BMW.
The cars became popular (mostly among middle aged women looking for something unique from another Mercedes, or upwardly mobile Cadillac buyers enticed by the promise of improved quality from the recently privatized Jaguar).
There were upsides though, the smell of leather and wood has been unequaled by any other manufacturer. The 5.3L V12 was still quicker than the $56,000 Mercedes 500SEC or the $41,000 BMW 635CSi, and easily handled the horror shows from Cadillac or Lincoln. I vividly recall a rather embarrassed Cadillac salesmen at the time struggle to explain away why a $29,000 Eldorado could only accelerate from 0-60 in 16 seconds! He blamed the car's lack of power on a 4.1L 120 HP V8 that government fuel efficiency standards had forced Cadillac to install. It wasn't just the underpowered engine that hurt. All that "faux wood" and vinyl where leather should have been gave off the impression that I was driving a fancy version of an Oldsmobile or a Buick. Further, the handling was lousy, as the cheap General P205/75R-15" white walls screamed in protest. Consumer tastes were changing; crushed velour upholstery, quilted leather 55/45 bench seats offered no lateral or lumbar support (although, I have to admit, the glove leather upholstery has yet to be matched by any manufacturer). Detroit's efforts at instrumentation consisted of a speedometer that ran from 0 to 85! Half the length of the dash, a fuel gauge and a temperature gauge. Everything else was handled by idiot lights.