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Jaguar XJ

XJ40

Jaguar logo1 Mar 1987

The XJ40 – the second-generation XJ’s codename that never officially appeared anywhere on the car – had a protracted and troubled gestation.

It was also a very tall order for a car sporting new engines as well as a completely new body and interior.

Jaguar managed to significantly increase the amount of passenger space without altering the XJ40’s dimensions (wheelbase: 2870mm) too far from the old Series III. The body was also significantly stronger and stiffer, as well as lighter too.

Under the square-edged bonnet lay Jaguar’s new AJ6 alloy in-line six-cylinder engine family.

The 3.6-litre twin-cam 24-valve unit delivered 140kW and 307Nm and was mated to a new four-speed automatic ZF 4HP22 gearbox. Jaguar’s infamous ‘J’ gate automatic lever also debuted in this series.

The suspension system was also all-new, and featured an independent wishbone arrangement.

Equipment levels included air-conditioning, anti-lock brakes, leather upholstery, power steering, central locking and power windows.

These early cars suffered from electrical malfunctions, mainly due to the complicated computerised instrumentation and trip computer functions.

There was also a top-line Sovereign 3.6 version of the XJ40.

In October ’89 a slew of changes were introduced to the XJ40 – including a revised dashboard, new trim, changes to the rear valance, modifications to the suspension and new drivetrains.

The AJ6 twin-cam 3.6 was bored out to 4.0-litres, with power and torque rising to 166kW and 362Nm respectively, while a new multi-mode four-speed automatic gearbox was also incorporated.

And with the Series III V12 finally laid to rest the year before, Jaguar installed a 193kW/393Nm 5.3-litre V12 into the XJ40 body, although the gearbox was still a three-speed automatic.

With the early ‘90s economic recession biting luxury carmakers very hard, the now-Ford owned Jaguar released a 123kW/298Nm 3.2-litre twin-cam AJ6 in-line six-cylinder engine version from early ’92. It was also matched to a four-speed automatic gearbox.

From October ’93 a number of minor changes to specification and trim were introduced.

But the most notable change was the inclusion of twin-round headlights in place of the rectangular units, as well as 234kW/463Nm 6.0-litre V12 known as the XJ12 6.0. It used a GM-sourced four-speed automatic gearbox.

There was also a Daimler Double Six version.

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