The Jaguar XJ (XJ40) is a luxury sedan manufactured by Jaguar Cars between 1986 and 1994. Officially unveiled on 8 October 1986 it was an all-new redesign of the XJ to replace the Series III, although the two model ranges were sold concurrently until the Series III was discontinued in 1992. The XJ40 used the Jaguar independent rear suspension arrangement, and featured a number of technological enhancements (such as electronic instrument cluster).The 1993 XJ6 earned the title of "Safest Car in Britain" as the result of a government survey. When the XJ40 was discontinued in 1994, it was followed by the X300 platform XJ.
Throughout the 1970s Jaguar had been developing "Project XJ40", which was an all-new model intended to replace the original XJ6. Scale models were being built as early as 1972. Due to the 1973 oil crisis and problems at parent company British Leyland, the car was continually delayed. Proposals from both Jaguar's in-house designers and Pininfarina were received. Eventually, it was decided an internal design would be carried through to production and, in February 1981, the British Leyland board approved £80 million to produce the new car.
Jaguar historians claim that the XJ40 was the last car which company founder Sir William Lyons had contributed to during its protracted development phase. The previous generation XJ had been the final Jaguar to be developed wholly under Lyons' leadership - although he continued to take an active consultative role within Jaguar design, long after had retired from the day-to-day management of the firm following its merger in 1966 with the British Motor Corporation.
Designs for the XJ40 pioneered significant improvements to how Jaguar cars were designed, built, and assembled. Among these improvements was a 25 per cent reduction in the number of bodywork panels required per car, resulting in not only a more efficient assembly process, but also a weight saving and a stiffer structure.
The Jaguar XJ-S (later XJS), a luxury grand tourer, was produced by the British manufacturer Jaguar from 1976 to 1996. The XJ-S superseded the E-Type (also known as XK-E) in September 1975, and was based on the XJ saloon. It had been developed as the XK-F, though it was very different in character from its predecessor. Although it never had quite the same sporting image, the XJ-S was a competent grand tourer, and more aerodynamic than the E-Type. The last XJS was produced on 4 April 1996; by then 115,413 had been produced during a 21-year production life. The model was replaced by the XK8.
The XJ-S was launched on 10 September 1975. The development of the car had begun in the late 1960s as project XJ27, with an initial shape set by Malcolm Sayer, but after his death in 1970 it was completed by the in-house Jaguar design team, headed by Doug Thorpe. Power came from the Jaguar V12 petrol engine with a choice of a manual or automatic transmission, but the manual was soon dropped as they were left over from V12 E Type production. V12 automobiles were unusual at the time; Italian luxury sports car makers Lamborghini and Ferrari produced such models. The specifications of the XJ-S compared well with both Italian cars; it was able to accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.6 seconds (automatic) and had a top speed of 143 mph (230 km/h). The first series of XJ-S cars had a Borg-Warner Model 12 transmission with a cast-iron case and a bolt-on bell-housing. In 1977 GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmissions were fitted. The TH400 transmission was an all-aluminium alloy case with an integrated non-detachable bell-housing.
From July 1981 the XJ-S became the XJ-S HE and received the
new High-Efficiency engine for much better economy. With the Fire Ball
combustion chamber designed by Swiss Engineer Michael May, as a by-product
power was increased to 220 kW (295 hp) or 196 kW (263 hp) in North America.
At the same time, the XJ-S HE received changes to its exterior and interior
(body-coloured trunk plinth in place of the standard previous black, new
five-spoke (starfish) alloy wheels, chrome inserts on the upper part of the
bumpers, burled elm inserts on dashboard and door cappings). In 1982, the new
V12 XJ-S HE won first and second at the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone.
The car was re-engineered in May 1991 and renamed XJS. The rear side windows appeared enlarged (although the body glass aperture was of identical size as the earlier car), and the buttresses stayed (although their appearance was minimised by the new side window treatment), as designer Geoff Lawson argued that they were part of the car's character. The car received a new 4.0-litre version of the AJ6. In 1992, a 4.0-litre convertible was added to the range. The V12's capacity was enlarged to 6.0 litres in May 1992 (227 kW (304 hp)).At the same time the car benefited from a revision to the rear brakes, they were now fitted with outboard rear disc brakes, instead of the more complicated inboard items on previous models. With the introduction of the 6.0-litre V12, the transmission was also updated to a GM 4L80E with a fourth-gear overdrive, whilst the automatic 4.0-litre models continued with the electronic ZF4HP24E transmission. A 2+2 convertible was also introduced, as was a customised insignia line. At the same time the car received more aerodynamic front and rear bumpers.In April 1994, substantial revisions were made to the 4.0-litre AJ6 engine which became the 4.0-litre AJ16 with coil-on-plug ignition. In 1995, the final specification changes were made and the car wasreferred to as the Celebration model to celebrate the 60th year of the Jaguar company.
The XJS was discontinued in 1996, after 21 years in production. It was replaced by the XK8.