Sold – $9,255 (Plus Fees)
The first production of the XJ308 platform began in 1997, although this merely marked the third iteration of the original XJ40 platform dating back to 1986. As the direct successor to Jaguar’s full-size luxury sedan line up, the XJ308 naturally inherited many of the past engineering and technological improvements from its antecedents. Lighter panels and a completely independent rear suspension plus significant improvements in build quality with the incorporation of traditional Jaguar styling elements made it a brilliant performer in its category while looking classically elegant. However, the XJ308 was most notable for the retirement of the long-running straight-six and V12 motors for a new. Inheriting its duties was a 4.0-liter V8, standard equipment in the United States market. Built upon that new motor, Jaguar heralded the return of their XJR performance variant. This range-topping trim level boasted more power, sultry looks, and bespoke enhancements to make it the most desirable of all. Best of all is that today we have one for auction!
Sold new in Los Angeles, California back in 1999, this XJR has remained as a resident of the Golden State ever since. Purchased by the current owner in 2013, the odometer registers around 67,000-miles driven and 6,000 of those were accrued by the current owner. Standard on the XJ308 was the new 4.0-liter V8 but with the wonderful addition of a supercharger for the XJR, which considerably upped power output to 370-horsepower with 387 lbs-ft of torque. This was substantial enough to carry the big-Jag to sixty miles per hour in five seconds and well on to an electronically limited top speed of 155. That motor sends power to the rear wheels through a Mercedes-sourced five-speed automatic transmission similar to the unit used within AMG drivetrains, which can be semi-manually driven via the gear lever. Engine maintenance has included the replacement of the plastic upper chain tensioners and, in anticipation of this sale, an oil and filter change. Previously, the ABS computer was repaired and now functions as intended.
Underneath, the XJ308 provides drivers with an independent front and rear suspension arrangement that presents comfortable road handling and energetic performance. With the upgraded XJR variant, that suspension undergoes further tuning to intensify the sporting characteristics of the Jaguar. Slightly stiffer springs and different electronically adjustable dampers decrease the ride height to create a lower, more agile appearance without sacrificing ride quality. Wider wheels and tires were included with this trim level, although the current owner has replaced the original ones and the spare with a set of later-model XJR “asteroid”-style wheels. All five wheels are wrapped in Pirelli PZero Nero tires that have begun to develop cracks along the sidewall, and the wheels themselves show visible scuffing and curbing marks.
Painted in Spindrift White, the exterior paint the nicely flatters the chrome window trim, rain gutters, and wire-mesh grill that were standard on the XJR. Due to rock chips and scraping the front and rear bumpers had been repainted by the original owner and some touch-up points are visible on those and the front passenger door. The original VIN tags and stickers are still present at their respective positions around the car. The seller informs us that underneath the XJR does show spots of surface oxidation, which is to be expected. To further distinguish the XJR from the rest of the range, the XJR was given muted rear badging and larger chrome exhaust tips. Per the seller, the radio’s power antenna does not fully deploy or retract.
Inside passengers are greeted by handsomely appointed Cashmere leather upholstery on the front and rear seats, the center console, and the door panels. Plush black carpeting covers the front and rear floor panels and shows very little wear. The leather adorned seats are in good condition. However, some visible signs of cracking are visible in the driver’s seat base. Both front seats are electronically adjustable with heating, and the driver’s seat has three memorizable settings. Promoting the exclusivity of the top-level trim inside the cabin, drivers sit behind a leather-bound and burled wood steering wheel finished with an embossed “XJR” center. Steering wheel mounted buttons provide quick access to key radio and telephone functions plus the cruise control system. Burled wood continues across the dashboard framing the three deeply recessed instruments that include a 170 mph speedometer, a six-thousand rpm tachometer with “supercharged” branding, and a fuel and water temperature gauge. Inspiring a touch of sophistication, an analog clock matching the indicators resides in the center of the dashboard.
Below the clock resides the radio and control console. The air conditioning system still affords cold relief even on hot days. Despite the antenna malfunction, the radio, CD, and cassette multi-system work impressively well in conjunction with the Harman Kardon premium sound system. Vehicle systems, such as traction control, sports mode, and the master cruise control switch, can also be adjusted via this center console and two switches below the shifter. Sports mode, when engaged, alters the shifting pattern, quickens accelerator response, and modifies the shock absorber damping to advance performance significantly.
While rivals in the full-size luxury market fully-modernized the look, style, and feel of their cars, Jaguar elegantly took a different approach. By finely honing their classical styling elements into their new XJR they were able to create a timeless look with a smart sense of modern styling and equipment that does not seem trapped within its decade. On sale now with a clean Carfax report from all three previous owners, a clean California title, and blessed with recent servicing this XJR is a luxurious, executive dreamboat with a sporty split-personality.