Used 2002 Jaguar XJ-Series Sedan Review
The XJ8 is authentically Jaguar: big outside, small inside, filled with supple leather and lustrous wood, and hopelessly outdated.
When it comes to luxury cars, nothing says "class" like a Jaguar. And when people think of Jaguar, it's highly likely that the XJ8 sedan comes to mind.
How could it not, with that gleaming grille, chromed leaper hood ornament, traditional quad-headlamp face, beveled hood, squat greenhouse and elegantly swept lines that descend into a low and small trunk? This is the look that has defined the marque for nearly 30 years.
Two models are available: the regular wheelbase XJ8 and the extended-wheelbase Vanden Plas. Under their shapely hoods resides a 4.0-liter V8 engine that pumps 290 silky-smooth horsepower through a five-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Acceleration from rest to 60 mph takes 6.9 relatively leisurely seconds.
If that kind of performance sits tight with you, for 2002, the XJ Sport trim elegantly mates the standard XJ8 wheelbase with elements of the supercharged XJR, ultimately spawning a road-hugger that features sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, Pirelli P Zero tires and sport seats.
If it doesn't, try the new Super V8 (last year's supercharged Vanden Plas). It belts out 370 horse and an astounding 387 pound-feet of torque to blaze this hefty two-tone sedan to 60 in 5.5 seconds.
Jags are known for opulence, and the XJ doesn't disappoint. Even the, ahem, "base" XJ8 includes traction and stability control, side airbags for front passengers, reverse park control, automatic climate control, 12-way power seats trimmed in Connolly leather, real burled walnut trim, CD changer, sunroof and rain-sensing wipers. Vanden Plas adds upgraded Autolux leather, heated front and rear seats, a 320-watt sound system, lambswool footwell rugs and wood trim on the steering wheel. Pop for the Super V8 and you're treated to DVD-navigation, a trick Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) and rear sunblinds.
Sounds good, eh? Well, keep this in mind. It's been a while since the XJ's structure was last redesigned, and the current styling exercise is now 7 years old. The car is somewhat cramped inside, and it is likely to rattle and squeak more than a competitor. Jaguar is readying a replacement for 2003 or 2004, and it will make extensive use of aluminum construction and state-of-the-art technology.
Hey, we've got an idea. Chalk up any of the current model's shortcomings as British character and sell it to yourself that way.
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