Overall condition: Good
Number of owners: 7
MOT: 15th June 2023
This XJ8, known as the x308, was Jaguar’s full size luxury car offering from 1997 to late 2002, it was Jaguar’s third and final evolution of the much loved XJ40 platform which had been in production since 1986. There was three variant offerings for the XJ, there was the SE being the lowest spec, the sport which offered stiffer suspension and a few interior upgrades and the Sovereign, which what this example is, the sovereign represented their highest specification, which featured more elaborate wood veneer, better ride quality amongst other features. The sovereign was the only specification to allow for a long wheelbase version which is exactly what we have here, this long wheelbase configuration made the car around four inches linger, with the rear doors being noticeably longer than the front, there is also a taller rear roof profile to provide additional headroom.
These X308’s were claimed to provide the most luxurious ride of any car due to its status of the last steel bodied XJ and the first to feature a modern V8. The X308 came with independent rear suspension which was a first for jaguar at the time, this addressed one of the main concerns of the older offering, this really helped with the overall handling of the car, allowing you to press on should you wish to. Naturally being a long wheelbase luxury jag, this particular example has lived part of its life as a weddings car, being maintained and cleaned to a high standard has allowed for this example to age quite well, preserving its gorgeous interior for years to come.
This XJ is finished in an unapologetic jaguar seafrost metallic blue which looks lovely and classy. The overall design language is very late 90s early 2000s, and has aged very nicely and gives off a real modern classic feeling, paying homage to the original XJ40 design, yet honouring a more rounded aerodynamic package. This cars presence is quite surprising as it doesn’t look particularly huge until you get closer to it, Jaguar managed to get the proportions just right, with its huge bonnet, generous boot and well sized cabin, it gives a really balanced aesthetic.
This particular example benefits from the sovereign models exterior upgrades, most important is the fact that the long wheelbase was only offered as a sovereign which is what we have here. The sovereign also benefits from various extra chrome features, such as the highly distinctive front grille the window bezels as well as additional chrome around the headlight surrounds and on the mirrors. This extra chrome helps convey a real feeling of owning something special, fit for the royal family. The sovereign spec also carries the upgraded alloys onto this example, wearing a chunky sidewall it is evident that comfort was the main priority overall, these sovereign wheels help aid a slightly more slick sporty aesthetic.
This particular example is in ok condition with the paint being very decent throughout the entire body with the exception of the occasional area of scuffing on the bumpers, not too bad for a 23 year old car. All of the lights, glass, chroming are in good condition, making this car a decent example. There is some rust on the body near the rear window trim, which is a fairly common rust spot, the rest of the body is fairly clean from rust however. On the last MOT it was reported that there was some rust to the chassis legs, evidenced in the underside pictures.
The mechanical state of this XJ8 is lovely, everything works as expected with no hesitations. The Jaguar V8 idles beautifully and pulls perfectly, no troubles whatsoever, starts on the button too. The 4 litre V8 is very refined and sounds healthy, as expected with a jag of this era the engine itself is quite quiet which really adds to the serenity factor, if you do put your foot down to make some progress the engine does sound quite sweet but is not shouty, I’m sure if you fettled with the exhaust a little you could achieve a really nice tone if that was your thing. This particular year of production for this 4.0 litre power plant is the ideal one to own, as the earlier years had issues with the nikasil liner and chain guides, 1999 onwards these issues were addressed, it also avoids the higher tax brackets that 2001 onwards cars face. The mating of the super smooth 286 horsepower V8 to the 5 speed gearbox is exquisite, it allows you to effortless waft along without feeling like the engine ever needs to break a sweat, should you need it this Jaguar is equipped with a sports mode which holds the gears a little longer and increases the throttle response.
In the handling department we find that this XJ is as smooth as it was the day it rolled out the factory, soaking up all of the imperfections in the road surface allowing its occupants to reach their destination in pure comfort. The suspension in this XJ is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, featuring a true independent rear suspensions setup there’s a vastly improved road hold allowing for a more direct and brisk experience. This particular XJ drove with zero knocks or bangs and felt particularly nice on the road.
Moving our attention toward the interior, this XJ is presented in an airy beige flanked with some black tones and finished off with some lovely burr walnut veneer. This interior might be one of the most luxurious of any jag ever built, they really did not miss with this one. Everything feels extremely Jag and despite the mass’s concern with fords ownership at the time, there’s really nothing to fault with it. Being a long wheelbase, you can really see why this XJ has been used as a wedding car, there is absolutely no problems in the leg room department, it’s a first class experience for any passenger. The overall condition of the interior is not too bad with all floor mats present, no fading to the veneer and only the passenger seat showing any real signs of use.
This XJ8 is one of the greats of old luxury cars, combining old Jag soul with modern Jag and ford engineering to create something truly special. The XJ8 was described as a muscle car in a tuxedo and “faster, in the real world, than a Ferrari F355… fastest saloon I’ve ever seen,” by Top Gears Jeremey Clarkson. This XJ8 really is a car that can fit in at the supermarket, a country hotel or even outside the Casino de Monte-Carlo.
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