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Future Classic Friday: Jaguar XJ (X350)

Published 23 June 2017

Jaguar was justifiably proud of the technology behind the new XJ saloon when it made its debut at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, so much so that the car was exhibited 'naked' - its all-alloy body shown in an unpainted, highly -polished state.

Indeed, the new car - known internally as the X350 - was a technological tour de force, using the most advanced electrical systems that Jaguar had ever used in addition to the new construction methods.

Developed with no expense spared, the X350 did away with traditional steel construction and instead used an extruded and bonded aluminium monocoque as the main body structure, to which various modular components were attached.

The result of this new manufacturing process was a car that, in 3.0-litre XJ6 form, weighed less than 1600kg, or about the same as a contemporary Volkswagen Golf. It was 40 per cent lighter than its predecessor, and 60 per cent stiffer.

Jaguar XJ350 (4)

It was offered with a choice of four petrol engines - 3.0-litre V6, 3.5- and 4.2-litre V8s developed from the 3.2 and 4.0-litre units in the outgoing model, and a 4.2-litre supercharged powerplant featured in the range-topping XJR and Daimler Super V8 models. 

A 2.7-litre V6 diesel came along in 2006, using an engine co-developed by Jaguar's parent company Ford and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, but unless you're planning on using an XJ for high mileages, it's the petrol models that are the best to drive, and offer much more of a sense of occasion. 

They're also far more reliable than the diesels - indeed, for several years, the XJ range was in the top three cars in the annual JD Power reliability and satisfaction survey, such was (and is) its dependability in petrol form.

Like all Jaguar XJs, the X350 offers fantastic ride quality, ironing out bumps like no other car, while maintaining the agility of a much smaller vehicle. Comfort and handling, then, are exemplary, as, indeed, is the luxury of the car's cabin.

Jaguar XJ 350 (1)

Indeed, the only real criticism of the X350 is that, in many ways, it was too traditional. Allegedly, there were some fairly senior people in Jaguar who hated it, because of its traditional appearance didn't do its technological advancement justice, nor do enough to attract new, younger buyers to the Jaguar brand. They had a point... but irrespective, the X350 is a wonderful, rewarding and cossetting car.

It would, of course, be unreasonable to expect a car that’s fast approaching its 15th birthday to be completely fault-free, and in the case of the X350 there are one or two common faults starting to appear.

One of the more prevalent problems is failure of the suspension airbags, which lose pressure over time and can leak. The parts to replace them aren’t cheap - £300-£400 – but on the plus side, they’re a quick and relatively easy part to replace, with a specialist familiar to the model able to swap them over in less than an hour. Whisper it, but the part number is exactly the same as that used by VW Group on the Phaeton, Audi A6 and Audi A8, so you can often find replacements at specialist VAG breakers. 

The ECU's Body Processing Module can also throw up electrical faults, and these are an expensive part from Jaguar at around £500, though specialist breakers do sell tested used examples for around £100 if you're happy to take a gamble.

Jaguar X350 (5)

After all, you won't need to keep money aside to pay for replacement wheelarches or welding to the sills, as you might have with the car's X300/X308 predecessor, as apart from occasional paint oxidisation the aluminium body should remain completely rot-free.

Today, prices start at - wait for it - just £1500. You won't get the cream of the crop for that, but double your money and there's all manner of X350s to choose from. And that makes it one of the biggest bargains out there right now, and a guaranteed future classic.

Comments

Fraser Mitchell    on 28 June 2017

I'm now on my second X350, (a 2007 Sovereign 3 litre petrol), and would agree that these are an excellent car. However the ride is not as good as you might think, because use of large diameter wheels means the very low profile tyres let through sharp bumps and sunken man-hole covers.Best to not go beyond 18" wheels if you can, and see if the 17" will fit. These were available on the cars with normal size brake discs. My first X350 had 20" on purchase, and the ride was terrible.I swapped to 18" and it got a lot better. Current car is on 19" wheels and I am thinking of getting a set of 17" on eBay if I can when the tyres need replacing. Why there is this mania for large diameter wheels and "sport" suspension I really don't know. This is a luxury saloon and most owners will not be taking them round race tracks at weekends !

   on 15 December 2017

I have "53" X350 3.5 V8, fantastic machine. Best value for money car I have owned. Silky smooth. Had nearly 4 years now. Probably only deprecated £1k. Independent Jag specialist keep costs down.

John Godwin    on 31 December 2017

Had many Jaguars over the years and have owned my X350 3.0 Sovereign for nearly a year.

It is smooth silent and the most luxurious I have driven. I think it might have started life as a demo as it has all the goodies including DVD in the rear.

The petrol consumption is a little disappointing as I’m getting little more than my old 3.2 XJ8. I’ve swapped my silly 20” wheels and low profiles which has improved ride comfort and my confidence when parking near high kerbs!

Love it!

mmmmm    on 7 September 2018

What mpg are you getting and how would you describe your driving style?.

Richard Moores    on 31 July 2018

I am now on my 4th XJ the 2007 XJR Portfolio. This by far the best one I have owned and the 4.2 supercharged engine returned 32 mPG on a recent motorway visit to Cornwall. I have covered 124,000 miles in mine and enjoyed every mile.

I cannot see myself replacing it as the new shape leaves me cold.

A great car and one worth buying if you can find one.

philip holt    on 25 August 2018

I absolutely love my XJ I have the v6 model x350 and it is without a doubt the best car I have owned and I have had a lot of cars luxury and sport and this is just a beautiful car to own and drive , its economical for its size and the v6 actually surprised me with its performance it picks up really quick and is more than enough in todays modern motoring world, the thing I love most is the style its still a Jaguar XJ6 that beautiful XJ shape is the best I have an X300 4.0 sport and it too is beautiful, I can honestly say out of the porsche's,mercedes,Range Rovers, bmw's i've had and have I will never get rid of my XJ6 I may buy an XJR to keep as well,I wish Jaguar would come back to this styling in the future as I absolutely hate the look of the new Jaguars the XJ and XF to me, they arent Jags The classic shape is what makes Jaguar different from the rest it needs to go back.

mmmmm    on 7 September 2018

I'm now on my second X350, (a 2007 Sovereign 3 litre petrol), and would agree that these are an excellent car. However the ride is not as good as you might think, because use of large diameter wheels means the very low profile tyres let through sharp bumps and sunken man-hole covers.Best to not go beyond 18" wheels if you can, and see if the 17" will fit. These were available on the cars with normal size brake discs. My first X350 had 20" on purchase, and the ride was terrible.I swapped to 18" and it got a lot better. Current car is on 19" wheels and I am thinking of getting a set of 17" on eBay if I can when the tyres need replacing. Why there is this mania for large diameter wheels and "sport" suspension I really don't know. This is a luxury saloon and most owners will not be taking them round race tracks at weekends !

Old "Jags" were frequent participants in banger racing, big, strong, etc...but the aluminium X350 surely should be worth some cash come recycling at end of life?.

   on 18 January 2019

I'm on my 4th X350. Now I'm driving a 2004 4.2 LWB Super V8 with all the options except the walnut tables in the rear -- deliberately avoided as they simply add unnecessary weight. I have the Sepang 20" alloys, but have removed them, had them rebuilt and placed in storage until the summer. Over the Winter, I am using brand new 18" jaguar 'Vella' wheels as they offer a far better 'Jaguar ride' experience. I must have spent well over £20K on the car now, including purchase price, gradually replacing everything with new parts. The engine has done 148K miles but is still going strong and is purring away effortlessly and silently with the delightful whirr of the Supercharger to take me from 0-60 in 5 secs with a linear acceleration from 0-30, then an exponential acceleration from 30-120 mph. Motorway miles are about 35-45 mpg. The best point is just how smooth the car is and the worst point is the myriad of electrical faults thrown-up by sensors that either die or need cleaned regularly. I would recommend the Long Wheel Base (LWB) version of the 4.2 Super V8 XJ X350 to everyone as it just offers a sleeker look and feel and drivers and passengers alike have more space to relax and enjoy long journeys. All in all, given it's my 4th X350, I think I've found the best combination of sport and luxury in the Super V8 with the XJR engine and Super V8 luxury pack, nothing compares to its external sleek lines and internal Gentleman's Club sumptuous leather and wood interior. I may not get back the money invested in almost rebuilding my car, but it just keeps feeling newer and newer with each service and there is no reason I would ever part with my new pride and joy -- a fantastic addition to the family!

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