There’s just something really rather cool about a Jaguar XJS. Mostly because I suspect it is the absolute perfect personification of the entire image of Jaguar. It is, quite simply, the car we all see a lovable rogue in.
I suppose I should say I’d quite like to grow up being a lovable rogue. I know some of their behaviour is awfully reprehensible these days, but the temptation to actually revel in some of it is all consuming when it comes to mind.
And a Jaguar is what all of them have these days. But supposedly the F-Type does not really fit the bill of a Jaguar, because it is not comfortable enough. Too hardcore, losing the point of the Jaguar brand. Same with cars like the XKR-S GT and XFR-S. And I’m not sure the XJ220 fits the bill either. If an XJR were in this game, though, that would definitely be my choice. It’s still my favourite luxury car today. But it isn’t. So I can’t drive it.
Speaking of which, despite the naming, the XJS was not a prequel to the XJ line. The XJ is a separate thing that was probably best known for looking the same as it did 40 years after it was first conceived, and before the current model was released. Rather, the XJS, in 1976 was a replacement for the E-Type which was less of a caddish car and more one to be seen driving in, down the Mediterranean, with a pretty girl in the passenger seat. Come to think of it, I’d quite like to do that all the time when I’m older, too.
And the car that followed this after it went out of production in 1996 (Yes. It was actually made for 20 years.) was the XK. And that’s just a nice car in general. So nothing wrong there either. But a version fitting a Jag driver is not in this game either.
What is in this game are some old Jags that would fit the bill. The XK120, and both the D-Type and E-Type. Both of these I feel would fit the bill well. Oh, and for when you really need to get cracking, the XJR-9, the car that gave Porsche a bloody nose in 1988. Not in a Castrol livery, no. I’ll have mine in only the finest livery, the Silk Cut one. Tobacco advertising ban? What’s that? Not if I had my way.
But the fact is, none of them look quite so right for the Jag driver as the good old, good looking XJS.
However, I look at myself today and at the moment, I am nowhere near becoming such a person. And I will not likely be seen in a Jag any time soon. But that’s OK, because I can drive it in Forza 6 instead. And pretend I’m in a car chase in an exotic location such as Rio de Janeiro. Maybe in Forza 7 they could add locations as far flung as Egypt, the Bahamas and outer space.
The first thing to note about the XJS is that there are plenty of drawbacks to it. Mostly this can be put down to either its very nature, or just its sheer Britishness. The engine produces what seems like a perfectly reasonable 300bhp, but then you realise the engine in question is a 5.3-litre V12. Which seems overly optimistic, somehow. And the majority of the power is ultimately lost within the 1800kg body and the hugely geared 3-speed auto.
The weight does make itself known, but actually it’s not to a level that the Jag is undrivable. Far from it, actually; all you really do have to counter the inevitable understeer and roll of the body is put a bit of throttle on it. You’ll get through just fine. Maybe even force a slide if you’re aggressive enough with it.
What does make itself known are the brakes. They are really not good enough. That is definitely a replication of British quality, and in this case it is rather accurate. But accuracy isn’t much help when the car isn’t actually going to stop before you have to turn in. Turning ABS off might fix some of it but then who knows what happens when you inevitably lock a brake…
But really, the whole experience is virtually a cruise. The Jag is flawed, but not catastrophically so. In fact its relative lack of speed might help negate some of the other flaws around it. If it were a lot faster, who knows, the brakes and the understeer could cause much more problems and harm the Jag even more.
Instead the Jag is a simple ride that also happens to look very good, and very cool, in the process. Oh sure, the car itself isn’t great, but who cares? Because you can do whatever you like really and no one else will care because you’re in a Jag.