9 Generations Of Jaguar XJ Prove Why It’s A Luxury Litter

9 Generations Of Jaguar XJ Prove Why It’s A Luxury Litter

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Fifty years later and the Jaguar XJ continues to purr. 

The Jaguar XJ has been in the British automaker’s lineup since 1968, quickly becoming the brand’s flagship offering just two years later. Fifty years since its introduction and the XJ is still Jaguar’s flagship offering, growing in size and luxury with every iteration. The car spans nine generations and dozens of variants. It’s fascinating to see how the automaker updated and adapted specific styling cues throughout several XJ generations. 

BudgetDirect compiled terrific illustrations of all nine generations of the Jaguar XJ, making generational changes easy to spot. Click through the slideshow to see how it has changed.

The first generation of the XJ is known as Series 1. It borrowed heavily from Jaguar’s existing lineup. It offered two straight-six engines before offering a V12 in 1972. Top speed for the V12 was around 140 miles per hour. That same year, Jaguar offered a long-wheelbase version that added four inches of legroom for rear-seat passengers.
The second generation of the XJ saw the automaker update the styling inside and out while introducing another engine – a 3.4-liter straight-six. To meet U.S. federal safety standards, Jaguar had to revise the front end with raised front bumpers. This caused the grille to shrink compared to the previous generation. Initially, Jaguar offered the XJ in two wheelbases; however, the company reduced those to just one – the long-wheelbase version.

A two-door version – the XJ Coupe debuted for the 1975 model year. Jaguar discontinued the coupe in 1978.
The third generation XJ was yet another iteration of the previous generation. The XJ wore a subtle redesigned penned by Pininfarina. Design changes included rubber bumpers with decorative chrome trim, a revised roofline, flush door handles, and a grille with just vertical slats. Jaguar offered the XJ with two straight-six engines and a V12 with a long-wheelbase version only.
With the 1986 XJ, Jaguar dropped the “Series” designation. This model, codenamed XJ40, began development in the early 1970s; however, the project suffered many delays until Jaguar debuted the new model in 1986. Jaguar improved quality, increased chassis stiffness, reduced cabin noise, and saved weight. The new platform also gave the XJ a significant design change. The fourth-generation XJ was more angular than the model it replaced. A new straight-six engine was offered with the V12 returning in 1993.
Ford took ownership of Jaguar in 1990 making the fifth-generation XJ in 1994 the first designed with the help of the Dearborn automaker. The fifth-generation XJ saw the sedan receive a major design update up front, with the return of four individual headlights that mimicked the sculpted hood design. A straight-six and V12 engine were offered. This was when Jaguar introduced the XJR – the first supercharged Jaguar product in the company’s history.
The sixth-generation XJ saw minor design improvements over the outgoing model. The visual differences between the fifth and sixth generation were limited to the indicator lenses and fog lights – all of which were more round than before. More significant changes happened under the hood. The XJ saw the straight-six and V12 engines replaced with V8 units.
In 2003, the XJ got another substantial update with an all-new chassis and exterior design. The XJ used aluminum extensively. The new construction meant the XJ was light enough for a V6 engine offering, which complimented the larger, more powerful V8 still offered. The XJ’s new design continued to evoke the design of the Series XJs with round headlights and a sculpted hood continuing.
The eight-generation XJ received a mild refresh with a redesigned front and rear fascia, which included a new grille, new lower fascia, and revised bumper. The new XJ used less chrome. This was when Jaguar started to move away from the hood ornament to an emblem in the grille. V6 and V8 engines continued. Ford announced its intent to sell Jaguar in 2007.
With a new owner – Tata Motors – Jaguar introduced a new Jaguar XJ. While the new XJ has a wildly different design when compared to its predecessor, it used the same underpinnings as the previous generation. Design work on the new model began in 2005, which broke away from previous XJ design characteristics. The ninth-generation XJ saw V6 and V8 engines continue along with the introduction of a four-cylinder and supercharged V6 option in 2012.

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