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[NEWS] Greatest road tests ever: Jaguar XJS 3.6

Greatest road tests ever: Jaguar XJS 3.6

99 jaguar xks

Back in 1984, we were particularly taken with this six-cylinder Jag

Tested 21.8.84

Halving the number of cylinders under the bonnet of the sleek Jaguar XJS made it one of our favourite grand tourers of the mid-1980s.

Different wheels and badging and a bigger power bulge distinguished the 3.6 from its V12 HE big brother. The new all-alloy AJ6 straight six was wonderfully elastic, pulling from very low revs in fifth, and was barely slower than the XJS V12 between 50mph and 90mph.

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However, the five-speed manual gearbox was heavy and notchy, with a pernickety clutch, while driveline shunt irritated and the otherwise subdued engine became thrashy at high revs.

Cruising refinement was impressive, though. The steering was enjoyably quicker than in the V12 model but wanted for feel. Powerslides were possible in the wet, although understeer was the default stance. While occasionally prone to floatiness, the ride was wonderfully supple on all surfaces, and the brakes were responsive and resilient.

Inside the walnut-trimmed cabin, the leather seats could have perhaps provided a bit more lateral support and adjustment up front, and head room was particularly limited in the rear seats. The interior had plenty of cubbies and a capacious boot, though.

For: Ride quality, performance, flexibility, refinement

Against: Lacklustre gearchange, inappropriate seats

What happened next…

Introduced alongside the 3.6-litre engine, the Targa-style XJS cabrio was replaced by a full convertible in 1988. An optional four-speed auto was installed into the six-pot XJS in 1987, and the engine grew to 4.0 litres in 1991. But the beefiest model was 1993’s 6.0-litre V12, with 306bhp. The XJS was replaced by the V8-only XK8 in 1996.


Price £19,248 Engine 6 cyls in line, 3590cc, petrol Power 225bhp at 5300rpm Torque 240lb ft at 4000rpm 0-60mph 7.4sec 0-100mph 19.7sec Standing quarter mile 15.9sec, 92mph Top speed 141mph Economy 17.6mpg

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