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There are some certainties in life. Tax. Death. That James May’s wearing a stripy jumper. And that enormous, powerful Jaguars depreciate as quickly as they get to 60mph.

The latter’s bad for the first-time buyer, but a little bit smashing if you want lots of car for not a lot of money… Which is why we’re highlighting this hypersonic battleship, a shiny example of the XJR - it’s the second fastest four-door Jaguar you can buy - but not for long - behind the awesome 503bhp XFR, and it’s yours for Mondeo money.

Neatly embodying Jaguar’s grace, space and pace creed, these fusty old sporsters are actually pretty special. The sheet metal’s aluminium, and instead of being welded, it was bonded and riveted to an aluminium monocoque chassis, making it 90kg lighter than its predecessor, even though it was nearly 20 percent larger and 60 percent stiffer. That’s aerospace-grade production. A pleasant coincidence, then, that the XJ was the first aluminum monocoque structure to be built in Castle Bromwich since the Spitfire fighter plane.

Then there’s the engine. It’s got the same supercharged 4.2-litre V8 and six-speed auto that you’ll find in old-gen XKRs and S-type Rs, but the Eaton blower spins faster, stuffing 13.1 pounds of boost into the 16 little inlets. That causes 399lb ft of torque to happen. And 60mph to arrive in 5.0 seconds. Not bad considering you could feasibly land an aircraft on its bonnet.

Naturally, it’s not just Herculean power. There’s also spec. And so very much of it. This 2007 last-of-the-line 18,000-miler has (breath in) full Ivory leather chairs, front and rear Lambswool over rugs, 20” Callisto alloys, adaptive cruise control, auto Xenon lights, rain sensor wipers, touch screen sat-nav, TV tuners front and rear, DVD player, heated and cooled front seats, electric memory foot pedals and steering wheel, electric rear blind, privacy glass, auto dimming interior and exterior mirrors, remote boot release…

The reckoning? £22,000.

Obviously, it’s considerably less frugal, considerably more expensive to fix and inconveniently massive compared with a Mondeo. But, given the choice, would you buy this or a new Mondeo, TopGear.commers?

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