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Jaguar XJ40 Joins The Hire Fleet

Updated: Jun 15

We’ve added another classic Jaguar to our classic car hire fleet. It’s a late model XJ40 saloon and joins our range of classic Jaguars from the 1960s to 1990s.

The Great Driving Days XJ40 is from the last couple of months of the 8 year production run, a 1994 Gold model fitted with Jaguar’s super-smooth 3.2 litre straight six engine. The car is finished in a really nice deep red metallic and has an upgraded cream leather interior. It even features the pinnacle of Jaguar motoring - rear picnic tables.

We’ve been looking for a XJ40 for a while. Although it is mechanically similar to our XJR, the two are very, very different cars - one is a sporting saloon, one an out-and-out super-smooth executive mile muncher.

The XJ40 was Jaguar’s successor to the perennial XJ saloon of 1968. It was conceived in the 1970s but not launched until 1986, making it look slightly dated on arrival In showrooms. Jaguar aimed to hit a sweet spot between heritage - hence the XJ-aping lines - and technical innovation, evident in the sophisticated heating and ventilation system and optional digital dashboard. It was launched in an era when Jaguar was improving quality, but its technical sophistication was no match for the firm’s production standards and the car quickly gained a reputation for variable quality and reliability.

Since its demise the XJ40 has become a sort of overlooked Jaguar - caught between the purity of the original and the more classic aesthetics of the cars that followed. But it did form the basis of Jaguar saloons right up to 2001, thanks to a very winning combination of low, louche design and superb ride. Today the XJ40 is being revisited by enthusiasts as a great example of what Jaguar does very, very well - executive saloons.

Our XJ40 is from the last year of production in 1994, before the car made way for the mechanically identical - and visually very similar - X300 saloon. Our Gold model was a sort of special edition designed to help shift units with a lower price and decent spec. It has the twin headlights common to lower spec XJ40s (but for many, better looking than the square lamps of upmarket models) and at some point has been fitted with a better interior. It also has a sunroof, one of our must haves when we find Jaguars saloons for our fleet.

On the road the XJ40 has a presence that is very Jaguar - it’s sports-car low (the original XJ started out as a four door E Type) with an uninterrupted view down its long bonnet. For a big car the cabin isn’t that spacious but it is airy, with the big windows and slim pillars typical of cars of this era.

The interior is ‘very Jaguar’, a strange combination of liberally applied wood, advanced 80s tech, buttons galore, leather and plastic. It feels as if the designer started the job then got bored. It’s characterful and anyone familiar with earlier XJs will feel at home.

The 3.2 AJ6 engine is a gem, very smooth and with effortless power. With this motor Jaguar aimed to match the refinement of its V12 and it very nearly does.

Jaguars, despite their reputation as getaway cars, are not really cars to hurry in and the XJ40 counsels against rushing. It feels softly sprung, unruffled by road undulations, and the steering is light and indirect, seemingly designed for the captain of industry who would prefer to smoke all of his cigar before arriving at the Board room. This is a car in which to enjoy the passing of time.

The latest addition to the Great Driving Days fleet is available to hire as part of our range of classic driving experiences from our 60 minute Tasters to multi-car Road Trips and traditional classic car hire. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

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