Jaguar XJ6 and XJ12 (XJ40) (1986 – 1994) Review

Jaguar XJ6 and XJ12 (XJ40) (1986 – 1994) At A Glance


+Wafty, effortless and even poorly-maintained examples feel a million dollars to drive.

-Rust, suspension problems, electrics on early cars, and general fragility. An all-time classic, then.

Development work on the XJ40 started back in 1973, with first thoughts going back even further than that. So, with a protracted gestation period of more than 15 years, Jaguar's much-vaunted (when new) XJ40 was going to have to be good. But why such a long wait? Blame the 1973 fuel crisis, then a lack of funding and management, direction from BL, and finally booming sales of the old XJ during the 1980s. The project was continually delayed until it finally made its debut in 1986, by which time its styling was looking dated.

Despite its elderly looks the XJ40 was great to drive, although the entry-level 2.9-litre single-cam straight six was breathless and lacked power. Later 3.2-litre versions were vastly improved and have genuine classic appeal.

The larger six-cylinder XJ40s were an entertaining mixture of old-school styling and cutting edge dynamics. The earliest 3.6-litre cars with their ‘Tokyo-by-night’ dashboards were riddled with electrical problems, once again denting Jaguar's quality image. But following Ford’s 1989 takeover and a significant cash injection, the creases were ironed out, culminating with the appearance of the much-improved 4.0- and 3.2-litre cars appeared in 1990. They featured conventional instrumentation, uprated electrics and more torque.

And that improved refinement and effortlessness. The same basic car would go on to form the 1994 X300 replacement.

Ask Honest John

Jaguar XJ6 rear doors won't lock

"I have a 2006 Jaguar XJ6. The rear door locks have started locking only intermittently - mostly failing to lock, but occasionally locking. Is there anything you can suggest that I do or try before taking the new replacement lock route? "
There may be a rubber access grommet in the lock face of the door. Get a can of WD40, pop the grommet and squirt the lock servo to disperse any moisture that might be causing it to stick. No rubber grommet, use the extended nozzle inserted between the outer window glass and the window seal to squirt the WD40 down onto the lock servo.
Answered by Honest John

Can I change the wheels on my Jaguar XJ40 to Kent alloys?

"I own a 1990 Jaguar XJ40 and want to replace the teardrop alloys with the older Kent alloys. I'm told they may not fit because of the size difference on the inside rim touching the XJ40 brake calipers. If so, is it possible to change the brake calipers for those from an XJ6 series 2 or 3?"
To the best of my knowledge, Kent alloys will only fit on the rear of an XJ40 but not the front because, as you say, they foul the brake callipers. One option is to look at spacers, but that's not ideal. I'd head on over to and post on the wheels and tyres boards to see if you can find someone who has successfully made this conversion work.
Answered by Keith Moody

Should I buy a high mileage Jaguar XF or XJ6?

"I'm interested in buying a Jaguar XF or an XJ6 2.7 diesel. I've seen plenty of 2008 to 2010 models that have done in excess of 100,000 with most saying 'engine fault'. Are these cars best avoided or are they fixable? I'll be doing in excess of 15,000 miles per year and fully aware of how to look after DPFs."
Best avoided. Too much potential expense: two turbos; two DPFs; timing belt, tensioner and waterpump. That lot could set you back £6k +.
Answered by Administrator
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