• Classic Car Stuff

New Jaguar XJS Joins The Hire Fleet

Following the untimely demise of our lovely blue XJS coupe - it was hit by an erratic driver and written off - we've added this equally pretty XJS coupe 4 litre. It's painted in one of the best XJS colours - dark maroon metallic - with a biscuit leather interior.

The latest addition to our classic car hire fleet is one of the first 'facelift' XJS built, a 1991 car fitted with Jaguar's bullet-proof 4 litre straight six engine. We decided to switch from V12 to straight six power in part because the 4 litre engine is so good most drivers will hardly notice, but mainly because the smaller engine provides significantly better fuel economy. In today's premium price fuel world it's a small way that in which we can help customers.

The Jaguar XJS started life as the E Type replacement that wasn't - you can read more about the XJS story here - before remaining in production for 21 years and outselling the E Type. In the process the ugly duckling became a swan, one of the most distinctive and stylish GT cars of the last 40 years.

In 1991 Jaguar, flush with funds from its new owner Ford, decided to revamp the XJS for the new decade. This makeover was necessitated because the car's planned replacement - which Jaguar had been developing since the early 80s - was deemed unsellable and the project canned. While the firm hurriedly developed what became the XK8 - itself heavily XJS-based - it also needed to refresh the XJS to eke out some extra life from the old model.

To achieve this Jaguar wisely kept what worked and improved what didn't. So the new car retained the XJS' superlative ride and handling combination but got a better quality interior, new side profile (achieved on the cheap by not changing any metalwork), new rear lights and a new engine, a powerful 4 litre version of the bulletproof AJ6 straight six engine. Hidden from view was also a better gearbox, finally improving on the creaky old three speed box used in XJS' until then. The whole package also benefitted from Ford's major investment in the Jaguar factory to raise quality standards to something vaguely approximating modern day standards.

It has been interesting to compare the new car to our old V12. Where that car felt like a saloon car with just two doors, pretty big and fairly wallowy, the later car feels much more planted. The suspension isn't firm but it is firmer, which gives the XJS a more sporting and direct drive. The lighter 4 litre engine helps here, it lightens the nose and makes the steering more precise. It may be 40 bhp down on the V12's power but the delivery is quicker and the performance feels unchanged. This is still a car that surprises with its turn of speed - it accelerates so quietly and effortlessly that you can be hit police-bating speeds without realising it. We hope you won't...

You can hire the new car as part of our of our four different ways to drive. Prices start at just £69. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

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