1998 Jaguar XJ8 3.2 V8 Saloon
|Engine||3.2 litre V8|
Jaguar’s final update of the venerable XJ40 platform was unveiled in September 1997, when the existing X300 range was replaced with a new model codenamed X308. Given the X300’s return to a more traditional shape had been positively received both by the critics and public alike, the latest XJ looked very similar, with changes confined to details like the reshaped grille and oval turn signals. More important revisions lay under the skin, with a new generation of AJ-series V8 engines taking Jaguar into the 21st Century. Offered in both 3.2 and 4.0-litre versions (along with the option of a supercharger), the new V8 simultaneously replaced both the long serving 6-cylinder and V12 Jaguars and represented a major break with tradition. The XJ’s cabin was also completely new, combining the usual British luxury touches of wood and leather with an oval-shaped dashboard and improved equipment levels across the range. Of the two models sold, the Sovereign offered a more traditional approach than the Sport, thanks to the use of additional exterior chrome and burl walnut inside the cabin. With the injection of Ford money, the XJ was finally built to a standard that was on par with that of Jaguar’s German rivals and it proved a worthy competitor for BMW and Mercedes-Benz until the its successor, dubbed the X350, was launched in 2003. The X308 generation XJs have also proven a lot more reliable than their forebears, whilst retaining traditional strengths like beautiful styling and that ‘gentlemen’s club’ cabin. The XJ is now great value as well, having depreciated to a point where all this luxury is available at a fraction of the original list price of $126,500 at the time of its Australian release in October 1997.