Obviously Jaguar is no stranger to performance, but this 2004 Jaguar XJR is a different cat altogether. After an infusion of reliable horsepower complements of Ford Motor Company, the supercharged XJR became a big threat to the usual players from Germany. Today, you can own that same uniquely British combination of speed and luxury for mere pennies on the dollar so give this silver sedan your full attention.
You can ignore the mileage and the old jokes about Jaguar's reliability issues because Ford came in and straightened all that out in a big way. Turn the key and this cat purrs every time and the build quality is extremely good, especially on a car with a bargain-basement sticker price like this one. The Platinum Silver Metallic finish is in excellent shape, showing you what quality workmanship buys you and obviously someone has really loved this car over the past 13 years. Fit and finish are exemplary for a car that was crowding the six-figure barrier in 2003, and it sports the same wonderful blend of old world craftsmanship (lots of chrome) with modern sensibility (sleek styling). There are echoes of the original XJ sedan in the shape, but this was a clean-sheet design so echoes are all they are, making this car look timeless. Unless they're regular readers of “Car & Driver,” your neighbors are probably going to assume it's new. And that little red “R” on the trunk does indeed make this a special car, but we'll get to that in a moment.
First, take a look at the sumptuous leather interior, which is a Jaguar specialty. Ford didn't mess with success here, letting the artisans at Coventry work their magic inside where it offers a sinfully artful blend of leather, wood, and metal. The black leather seats are in fantastic condition with almost no wear, which is rather extraordinary given the ultra-soft materials. Anything that looks like wood actually IS wood, not a plastic veneer, and every feature you can imagine was standard equipment. The gauges are big, round analog dials with easy-to-read markings and it is nice to see an ultra-luxury car that doesn't go overboard with tech so you're still connected to the machine. Everything works, the switches click cleanly, and the big color screen for the infotainment system is bright and crisp, even in sunlight. And as you'd expect, there's a massive trunk that's properly trimmed and offers all the original tools, jack, and spare tire under the deck.
The little “R” I mentioned earlier is what makes this Jag special. That means there's a supercharger on top of the 4.2 liter V8, bumping output to nearly 400 horsepower and, perhaps more importantly, a towering 399 pounds of torque. This is a feline that acts like an elephant! Drive it sedately and you'll never know there's HEMI-like performance on tap and it idles so smoothly and quietly that you might be tempted to hit the starter twice. Lean on it, however, and the quick-witted 6-speed automatic transmission drops down a gear or three and the big cat leaps forward with stunning authority. The air suspension keeps it nailed down yet delivers that magic carpet ride for which Jaguar is rightfully famous and there are massive disc brakes at all four corners that will probably detach your retinas at full tilt. Even with the special 19-inch alloy wheels and 255/40/19 performance radials, it never acts unruly or harsh. The ultimate luxury car?
Available for a tiny fraction of its original cost, this Jag is an outrageous bargain. Still faster than most anything else with four doors, still incredibly luxurious, and still a Jaguar, it's your ticket to the good life at a very reasonable price. Call now!