The 2004 Jaguar XJ is powered by a 4.2-liter V-8 engine making 294 horsepower in the XJ8 and Vanden Plas and 390 horsepower in the supercharged XJR, as shown here. This is the same double-overhead-cam AJ-V8 engine that made its debut in 1996 in the XK8 coupe and convertible in 4.0-liter form. Last year, it was expanded to 4.2 liters via a longer stroke and mated to a new six-speed ZF automatic transmission for the revamped S-type, and now it will serve in the new flagship sedan as well.
There are no free lunches when it comes to packaging all the components of a car. In order to provide the increased cabin space that the old XJ so desperately needed, the new car’s exterior dimensions had to grow. The XJ’s famous low, sleek profile was inevitably compromised as a result, such that the new car looks a bit bloated from the side view.
The new Jaguar XJ’s cabin will be readily familiar to anyone who has been in the last-generation car. The mix of leather and wood will appeal to luxury-car traditionalists, but we’re ready to see a more avant-garde interpretation of the Jaguar design theme, something we’ll have to wait for until 2005 and the next-generation XK8 coupe and convertible.
As has been the case since 1994, the supercharged XJR is distinguished from its less-powerful brethren by its mesh grille and bigger wheels and tires. On that subject, here is the rundown of XJ footwear for the U.S.: The XJ8 has ten-spoke, 17 x 7.5-inch, one-piece forged-alloy wheels and 235/55HR-17 Pirelli P6 tires. Optional on the XJ8 and standard on the Vanden Plas are eight-spoke, 18 x 8.0-inch, one-piece cast-alloy wheels fitted with 235/50HR-18 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 or Continental Conti Touring tires. The supercharged XJR has 19 x 8.5-inch, one-piece cast-alloy wheels mounted with 255/40ZR-19 Pirelli P Zeros. Two-piece, 20 x 9.0-inch, cast-alloy BBS wheels with 255/35ZR-20 Michelin Pilot Sport tires are optional for the XJR.
The new XJ features LED taillights, which seem to be the design du jour in automotive circles.
Like the XJ8 and Vanden Plas, the XJR shown here is fitted with standard four-corner air suspension.
The XJR boasts Brembo brakes, with 14.4-inch x 1.26-inch ventilated discs at the front mated with aluminum four-piston monoblock calipers embossed with the Jaguar R Performance logo. Solid rear discs (13-inch by .59-inch) are fitted with aluminum two-piece, fixed, opposed four-piston calipers. On the XJ8 and Vanden Plas, the braking system is composed of 12.6-inch-diameter, 1.18-inch-thick ventilated discs, fitted with two-piston floating aluminum calipers, in front. At the rear, 11.3-inch-diameter, .79-inch-thick ventilated discs are fitted iwth single, floating aluminum calipers.
There is no mistaking the new XJ, shown here in supercharged XJR guise, for anything other than the Jaguar flagship.