If you were instead looking for something inexpensive, spacious and rapid in which to cover vast tracts of motorway in single bounds, then maybe this 1997 Jaguar XJR could be right up your street.
Jaguar's XJ was launched in 1994 and proved itself a cosseting saloon in standard form, with a quiet, comfortable cabin and a pliant ride. Its naturally aspirated straight six - although durable and smooth - lacked the outright punch that myriad V8-engined or high-performance alternatives offered, however.
In an effort to to match its European rivals, Jaguar pulled out the stops and neatly integrated an Eaton M90 supercharger into the straight six's intake system. An air-to-water intercooler was added to help keep intake temperatures down and detonation at bay, while other tweaks like stiffer suspension helped make the range-topping XJR a little sharper.
The standard naturally aspirated 4.0-litre XJ would put out a not-insignificant 237bhp and 277lb ft, allowing for a top speed of 143mph and 0-60mph in around 7.8sec. In XJR form, the hefty dose of boost helped hike the engine's outputs to 322bhp and 378lb ft; the 0-60mph sprint was cut to just 6.6sec as a result, while the top speed climbed to a limited 155mph.
This 1997 example, in a suitably upmarket-looking 'Antigua blue' and cream leather combination, is on the market for a mere £1495. That's not a lot for a luxury saloon that wouldn't disgrace itself in a straight line with the likes of BMW's E34 M5.
Despite being 17 years old, this Jaguar looks in presentable condition and is seemingly free from the rust that tends to afflict most XJs. The seller claims that it's in good order throughout, with only some minor wear in line with its age, and it's reputed to drive very well.
Further adding to the Jaguar's appeal is an optional upgraded stereo system, a stainless-steel exhaust system and a set of sharp-looking XKR alloy wheels.
Unlike many, this Jaguar appears to have been well cared for. It's recently had, for example, a new exhaust manifold, new downpipes and catalytic convertors, fresh transmission fluid, a cooling system overhaul, four new tyres and some suspension work.
It even comes with an MOT and tax until August, so you shouldn't have to fork out too much in due course. What might trouble many, however, is a fairly significant mileage of 164,000 miles.
Now, that might be enough to have you turn tail - but these XJs are mechanically stout, and provided it's been as well maintained as it appears then real issues should be few and far and between. A test drive would quickly reveal whether it was as it should be; it wouldn't be difficult to tell if it was on its last legs or not.
You'll probably be doing well if you average 20mpg from it though, but most people probably aren't going to be buying one of these in order to cover 15,000 miles a year - so the fuel costs shouldn't be too much of an issue. Parts supply is good too, and doing your own maintenance on an XJ shouldn't prove too taxing, helping further keep costs down.
We've good history with the XJ at Autocar, with our £500 example tolerating repeated high-speed runs and hitting a peak of 141mph. It proved eminently reliable, great fun to drive and - more importantly - it never failed to put a smile on your face, just because of the sheer value for money it represented.
Sure, this example costs almost three times as much, but it appears in much better condition and it's much faster. The supercharged six, like most forced induction powerplants, can have its output reliably increased without much fuss too - if you're so inclined.
Drop on a redesigned crank position sensor bracket to advance the timing, fit a different pulley to the blower, and freer-flowing intake and exhaust systems, and you'll get a reliable and decent hike in power without breaking the bank.
So, does this luxurious supercharged Jaguar have you reaching for the telephone, or does its mileage have you backing away at great speed?
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