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Jaguar XJ (X350): Buying guide and review (2003-2010)

Jaguar XJ (X350): Buying guide and review (2003-2010) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350)
Thanks to its retro styling, Jaguar’s 2003 range-topping luxury saloon was mistaken by many as just another mildly updated XJ. Underneath that unassuming exterior however, was the first all-new XJ since the XJ40 model back in 1986. Codenamed X350, this was an all-new all-aluminium bodied technological tour de force, bringing Jaguar right up to date with its German rivals. 
 
Offering a range of potent engines, much improved reliability and class leading ride comfort, the XJ should have been a sales success – but it never reached its true potential. As a used car the X350 range can be a cracking buy, offering a level of luxury and performance at a price level that is very tough to match. Read on to see which ones are the best to look for.
 

Which one to buy?

 
Available in saloon form, with a six-speed automatic gearbox operating in the traditional J-gate, the XJ was introduced with a wide range of petrol engines at launch. This started with a 3.0-litre V6 to a 363bhp 3.6 V8 as well as a 4.2 V8 in either naturally aspirated 300bhp or 390bhp supercharged form. V6 powered cars received the XJ6 moniker while the XJ8 model designation was used for V8 powered models. The 206bhp twin-turbo diesel became available in 2005 and delivered good fuel economy allied with decent in-gear thrust; being a smooth unit it suited the XJ well. The 3.0-litre V6 petrol model required a few more revs to extract meaningful performance, and for the real XJ experience one of the muscular V8 models may be a better choice.
 
Executive, Sovereign and Sport Premium models were offered designating varying spec levels, and from 2004 a long wheelbase version could also be optioned. Specification levels were high, with self-levelling rear suspension, and interior features such as multi adjustable seating standard on all models. The ride on all versions was considered far more comfortable than most contemporaries while still maintain decent cornering ability. As was tradition, a highly specced Daimler Super Eight featuring the 390bhp supercharged V8 was introduced in 2005. 
 
As a long distance cruiser a naturally aspirated 4.2 XJ8 in face lifted form has to be one of the best choices in the range, offering effortless pace for very little outlay, these cars have proved to be quite reliable too. 
 

Performance and specs

 
Jaguar XJ8 4.2
Engine 4196cc 32 valve DOHC V8 
Power 300bhp @ 6500rpm 
Torque 310lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-60mph 6.3 seconds 
Fuel consumption 26mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed automatic
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 3032mm
Length 5122mm
Width 1894mm
Height 1448mm
Weight 1755kg
 

Common problems

 
Parts are still easily available for these cars, if not exactly cheap, and it’s refreshing to note that the reliability of most models has been rather good. Finding a well maintained one should mean reasonable running costs for a range topping luxury car. Here’s what you need to look out for:

• The diesel models can be either the cheapest or most expensive way to XJ ownership, as issues with blown turbochargers (especially on earlier models) and catalytic converters can be very expensive to repair. Frequent oil changes and allowing the turbos to cool down after a spirited drive are recommended, but the latter is impossible to know the history of.
 
• Issues with flexible hoses on turbo diesel cars can restrict airflow, a dealer repair kit can be ordered as it is a known issue Petrol powered models tend to be reliable with some models having racked up serious mileages without issues as long as servicing intervals have been adhered to.
 
• Dents and scratches to the aluminium body panels can be expensive to repair so factor this into your offering price. 
 
• Potentially the biggest issue to look out for is that the advanced aluminium body shell can suffer from corrosion at the steel riveted mounting points. A visit to a specialist to give the car a once over is a good idea.
 
• Rear brake pads can wear out prematurely and the rear air suspension can fail due to system leaks. Conventional steel suspension kits are available and can reduce maintenance costs over time. 
 
• Issues with parking brake sensors have been mentioned by some owners so check that yours is functioning correctly before purchase.
 
• A number of recalls were issued for issues regarding the gearbox which could engage reverse while in drive, airbags that could rupture, parking brake malfunctions, diesel particulate filter overheating and brake fluid leakages. All should have been attended to by the dealer network but checking before buying is recommended.
 

Model history

 
2003: All new XJ X350 launched, featuring all-aluminium body shell. Available with choice of petrol V6 and V8 power units
2004: LWB version introduced
2005: 204bhp 2.7L twin turbo diesel engine introduced
2006: Portfolio special edition offering unique trim is made available
2008: Face lifted model codenamed X358 introduced. Detail exterior and interior changes carried out with the Jaguar bonnet ornament being replaced with a flush fitting emblem
2010: Final X350/X358 model XJ built
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.jec.org.uk – Jaguar enthusiast club
• www.jaguarownersclub.com – Jaguar owners club
• www.jag-lovers.org – Jaguar enthusiast site
 

Summary and prices

 
Prices start at rock bottom levels with a paltry £3000 required to slide behind the wheel of a 2003 3.0 XJ6 with starship mileage. While tempting, for an extra £2000 you could have a 4.2-litre V8 model with fewer miles on the clock. Turbo diesels range between £6000 and £10,000. Mileages are generally high, which is a testament to their usability and should not be an issue if a comprehensive maintenance history is evident. At the other end of the scale, the supercharged V8 variants start at £6000. The desirable and rare X358 facelifted models can range right up to £20,000. 
 
Those classic looks may not have been to everyone’s tastes in 2003, but the lines have aged well and the combination of comfort and silky smooth performance that this XJ offers makes it a very desirable car indeed. At these prices it is in a class of its own.
 
Words: John Tallodi
Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350) Jaguar XJ (X350)
Last updated: 8th Nov 2016
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    Type: Used Year: 2015 Make: JAGUAR Model: XJ Trim: 3.0 V6 Supercharged Premium Luxury 4dr Auto [LWB] Body: Sedan Trans: Automatic Mileage: 11491 Engine Size: 2995 Ext Color: Ulimate Black

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