Forget the rust, the peeling veneers and the occasionally optimistic asking prices – the XJS’s biggest problem is, surely, its successor: the better-made, better-to-drive and better-value XK8.
To resolve the debate, let’s consider the view of one XJS owner: “The XJS is like little else on the road. When you are sitting in the car, you feel like you are driving a Rolls or a Bentley. Its low, wide stance oozes sportiness, class and style. Damn, I love my XJS.”
Problem solved: the XJS it is. More specifically, in terms of this guide, the facelifted coupé and convertible produced from 1991 to 1996, the latter being the year the model’s 21-year reign came to an end. Of course, beginning in 1991 is to ignore 16 years of XJS production, because the model was launched in 1975. The first 2+2 coupé was powered by a 5.3-litre V12 driving the rear wheels through a manual or automatic gearbox. In 1981, the engine became the 5.3 HE, featuring combustion chambers that swirled the fuel around before ignition for greater efficiency.
And then, in 1983, the seeds of the next-generation XJS were sown with the introduction of the 3.6-litre AJ6 straight-six engine mated to a manual gearbox (an automatic followed in 1987). Also in 1983, the XJ-SC cabriolet was launched, to be replaced by the convertible in 1988.