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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!

   on 18 April 2020

Couldn't agree more. I have a 2008 4.2 'facelift' model which I prefer the look of as opposed to the 'pre-facelift'. looks stunning with its mesh double front grill.
the things done 134,000 miles yet feels as stiff and solid as a car with under half the miles, and as I do very little motorway miles there was zero reason to buy a 2.7 tdi jag Xj.
didn't opt for the 4.2 supercharged versions.......whats the point seriously ?? Mine starts on the button and if I wanted to (which I never do!!) it would hit 60 mph in 6 seconds without the worry of the supercharger failing.
If you look after these beasts there is simply not a nicer car for the money....mine cost £5,500 which is a steal as it is immaculate. Not a mark or ding on it and even the alloys are mint.
Ok you may need to spend a few hundred quid a year on basic maintenance, but how much would you spend on lease payments for a standard car with not joy or soul.
Buy one before prices start going up for well looked after examples and the post 2009 Xj's....well they just aren't Jaguars in look.
Infact look quite lame tbh.
ziggy
peterborough
uk.

   on 21 December 2020

Ditto on that, Zig. For all the haters of this model: 1) The "taller" roof line may be a legit fault, but as a taller person I would not enjoy having to stoop and slouch to avid banging my head on the roof when entering/exiting. It really does not look abnormal, unless you were more familiar with the lower roof lines on the older cars. On the long wheelbase X350, like my '05 Super V8 which has been lowered a tad and sports lower profile tires, the roof and trunk lines are improved and the car looks great.

2) Headlights, bumpers, trunk, blah, blah. Old geezers get bent about progress and don't understand why auto makers can't survive by merely replicating designs and technology from the 1980's. Yes, the old XJs were beautiful, but I get compliments on my car weekly from non-Jaguar people who typically say "those older style jag sedans were my favorite models". Maybe the X350s should be re-evaluated on their own merits without predispositions for prior models that were plagued with well documented problems/issues/gremlins.

3) Instead of focusing on subtle differences, I prefer to see common denominators that link the older cars with the new ones, while offering greatly enhanced comfort, performance, aerodynamics, and reliability while preserving the rich Jaguar heritage. This is the last of the true XJ line, as the X351s are a total departure.

4) Before you bash it, drive one! I think these cars are much better looking in person and maybe not as photogenic as the older XJs for some reason. I used to bash miatas until I drove one. The Super V8 will smoke many newer euro luxury cars, still gets many compliments and valet parking pole position, has proven to be extremely reliable, and is simply the most refined and evocative vehicle that I will ever own. It is a Jaguar through and through.

   on 7 March 2021

I have had the pleasure of owning a swb x350 xjr for the last 5 years and have had 1st hand experience of some of this cars common problems. But when you buy one of these luxury saloons you will have done so with an informed knowledge and an acceptance that they might need some tlc to keep them in good condition. Mine starts first time and the v8 purrs while it warms up before driving of. At 60 mph it is just a pleasure to be in, the engine is quiet and under no stress the ride is exceptionally good soaking up the bumps with ease. You sit in body hugging leather seats that are both comfortable and supportive and just enjoy the whole experience. I do believe these cars are a fantastic looking car and will in time become a collectible classic. I too love the older xj cars especially the xjc and may one day be lucky to own one. I believe that we all have a reason for owning a jag,and do so according to our budget. Not everyone can afford an e type xk 120 or mk 2 and I love the fact that people who can bring them out for people like me to admire. I want to keep my xjr in good condition and be its custodian for years to come when it too will take its place as a classic jaguar and people can admire its design. They are beautiful cars and I take great pride in the attention it gets at shows from passers by, and will care for it for years to come. I have never had a car before that has given me such pride and pleasure to own but that’s what a jaguar does to you.

Andy1489    on 27 May 2021

I have the pleasure of owning my very first x350 2.7 v6 face lift model, which I am collecting tomorrow. After looking through vast amounts of information on forums after my purchase I still would rather have this car than a newer model.

I do around 15 - 20 k miles per year and think this will be quite a drive and I will enjoy every minute.

Great to see so many positive comments from genuine enthusiasts of this car, you have only made me more excited to get mine!

The car has a full jag service stamped book with a folder with all receipts of work the car has had which impressed me and concerned me at once.

Enjoy your cars gents

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