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Jaguar XJ Problems

Are you having problems with your Jaguar XJ? Let our team of motoring experts keep you up to date with all of the latest Jaguar XJ issues & faults. We have gathered all of the most frequently asked questions and problems relating to the Jaguar XJ in one spot to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

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Used Jaguar XJ review: 1994-2014

The XJ Jaguar is a British sports saloon that can be divided into three quite different stages in its recent history. Those built until July 2003 had traditional styling that looked great and made a real statement both inside and out. These are getting on in years, but those who love Jags swear by them - though their age, combined with quality control that wasn't the best, could cause hassles. 

The 2003 restyle kept many of the established lines, but now moulded onto an aluminium body to significantly reduce weight and increase performance. As these are sports saloons this added performance was welcomed by those who liked to make good use of their right foot. 

However, in the eyes of many this combination of a high-tech body and a traditional shape wasn't appealing. The cars still sold reasonably well, but the murmurs about 'old-fashioned' styling became stronger over the years.

The all-new 2010 model silenced the critics by taking an altogether different direction in styling with sleek futuristic lines. Externally, the ‘Jaguar grille' was the only major carry-over from the past, but the dash area has a few things carrying over. Naturally, its aluminium body retained the added performance and nimble(-ish) feel of the outgoing XJ.

Die-hard Jaguar enthusiasts snapped up the last of the traditional leather-and-wood-cabin models, though even today there's a call for them so you may be asked to pay fairly big bucks to get into the best of them. 

Though the big emphasis on the 2010 series was its ultra-modern styling and the interior of most cars reflected this, there are traditional leather-and-wood options - the best of both worlds some say.

A drawback in the older Jaguars is the lack of interior space in the standard-wheelbase car due to the fact it's a low-slung sports saloon, not as tall sedan. This is at its worst in the back seat, but even the front seats can prove cramped for foot-space due to the large transmission housing. The long-wheelbase variants (look for an ‘L' in the title) are much better for rear legroom, but can still be tight in headroom for taller occupants.

Post-2010 XJs have more voluminous interiors, but check out the back seat if you are planning to carry tall adults on a routine basis.

The number in a Jaguar XJ's title refers to the number of engine cylinders, thus XJ6 has six of them and XJ8 is a V8, the XJ12 … you've guessed it. 

Supercharged V8s of 4.2-litre and 5.0-litre capacity installed in the XJ R upmarket hotrods are intended for the keen driver who really wants to let off steam. 

Turbo-diesel would have been unthinkable in Jaguars prior to the revolutionary, new-design oil burners introduced towards the end of the 20th century. In April 2007 Jaguar introduced its first diesel passenger car to Australia. There's the seemingly inevitable diesel engine noise at idle, particularly when the engine's cold, but from inside it's virtually as smooth and quiet as a petrol unit. And has bags of torque.

Reliability used to be a weak point in Jaguars, though after Ford in the USA bought the company in the early 1990s the Brits were given a major shake-up. By the launch of the 1994 XJ Jaguar there were major improvements. 

As of mid-2008 Jaguar has been controlled by Indian company Tata. The Indians have an excellent understanding of English tradition. Indeed, they can be more English than the English, so the traditional British marque looks in good hands, with the engineers and stylists being left alone to do what works best for their aluminium babies.

Servicing, spare parts and insurance costs are all on the high side, so don't fall for the trap of putting all your money into buying the car and then finding yourself unable to keep it in the manner in which it is accustomed.

Check that the brake fluid has been changed on schedule. Not doing so can lead to expensive troubles.

On pre-2003 Jags be sure all electrical items are working properly. Intermittent as these can be they are frustratingly hard to track down, but if you suspect anything bear with it as repairs can be expensive.

Watch out for an automatic transmission that's slow to go into gear and/or which hunts from gear to gear unnecessarily. Hill climbing for an extended distance usually brings out this fault.

Jaguars used galvanised steel body panels until mid 2003 then switched to weight-saving aluminium. The galvanised steel variants should be rust free unless they have been incorrectly repaired after a crash. 

Damaged aluminium panels may have to be repaired by a specialist, so be sure to get a quote from an expert - even for the smallest of dents.

Enthusiasts of a marque can be an excellent source of information on their cars' strong, weak and interesting points. Try to find a local owners' club and chat to members.

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Guide to long wheelbase cars

No, it doesn't mean a luxury version for the models they are based on are more than luxurious already. The L means long, or more correctly long-wheelbase.

Selected manufacturers take their luxury big sedans and stretch the wheelbase to create a long-wheelbase (LWB) model featuring enormous back-seat leg room. We're not talking about the almost-comical stretched limos here; they are custom modified. The cars we look at here are off the manufacturers' production line and can be ordered by any buyer at the dealer's local showroom. Any buyer with enough dollars, that is.


An LWB car can cost a round-figure half a million dollars the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG in L trim is listed at $483,000 plus on-road costs (although it does come with a turbocharged V12, six-litre engine with Supercar-like 450kW power).

Rear legroom can come at a lower price, though. Holden makes long-wheelbase versions of its Commodore and calls them Statesman and Caprice, with a starting price of $63,990 which is a lot of car for the money, compared to the luxury brands.


The wheelbase is the distance between front and rear wheels. European car makers when stretching the wheelbase tend to give all the extra length created to the passenger cabin, particularly the rear seat area, leaving the boot unchanged at the tail of the car.  Jaguar XJ LWB has a 125mm longer wheelbase and the car grows by that amount too, while designers have created 134mm more rear legroom.

BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Japan's Lexus LS600h have wheelbases of 140mm, 130mm and 120mm longer respectively, those measurements reflected exactly on the longer overall length of the car.

Holden is different in this regard. The wheelbase is lengthened only 94mm. Rear legroom is 97mm longer than the Commodore yet the car is a full 263mm longer, Holden being unusual in providing a larger boot in the extra length.

Indeed, if buyers want the most legroom in a Lexus, they will need to order an LS600h. The "h" indicates it is a hybrid which means electric motors and battery packs, which take up space in the boot. You get a 5.2m car with a 370-litre luggage space. Presumably, the wish to be more environmentally aware overcomes this. Also on Lexus LS600h, buyers can order a two-seat rear for an extra $5000. The rear three-seat bench is ditched an in go separate chairs with reclining ottoman and inbuilt massager.

It's usual for manufacturers to not only give more rearseat legroom on their LWB models but provide further luxuries, technology and convenience in the rear. After all, this is where royalty, rockstars, presidents and business tycoons will be sitting.

"The extended-wheelbase versions set new standards of rear-seat comfort," says BMW of its L versions of the 7 Series. "Both because of their enormously generous leg and headroom and because of the wide range of attractive communication, entertainment, climate control and seat comfort features.

"All extended wheelbase models come with a rear climate control package which allows each of two zones to be independently controlled in the rear.  The 750iL features rear Comfort seats with the option of massage and ventilation functions, headrest, backrest angle and seat cushion are all individually adjustable."

The priority of importance of the rear passenger in LWB cars is proven by some allowing the rear passenger to electronically adjust the position of the front passenger seat, for even more legroom.

Disadvantages of LWB cars? They are longer which makes them more difficult to kerb park and their longer wheelbase means they have the turning circle of the QE2. But at a stretch, they are kings of spacious luxury.

Jaguar Premium Luxury LWB


Engine: Five-litre V8.
Power: 283kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 515Nm @ 3500rpmTransmission: six-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Length: 5247mm (standard XJ, 5122mm)
Wheelbase: 3157mm (standard, XJ 3032mm)
Rear legroom: 1121mm (standard XJ, 987mm)

Holden Caprice V8


Engine: Six-litre V8
Power: 260kW @ 5700rpm
Torque: 517Nm @ 4400rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Length: 5160mm (Commodore, 4897mm)
Wheelbase: 3009mm (Commodore, 2915mm)
Rear legroom: 1098mm (Commodore, 1001mm)

Mercedes-Benz S500L


Engine: 5461cc V8.
Power: 285kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 2800-4800rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Length: 5226mm (standard S-Class, 5096mm)
Wheelbase: 3165mm (standard S-Class, 3035mm) Rear room: rear seatback to back of front seat, 870mm (standard S-Class, 740mm)

BMW 750Li


Engine: 4395cc turbocharged V8
Power: 300kW @ 5500-6400rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 1750-4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Length: 5212mm (BMW 750i, 5072mm)
Wheelbase: 3210mm (BMW 750i, 3070mm)

Lexus LS600h


Engine: Five-litre V8 plus electric motor
Power: Combined, 327kW
Torque: n/a (has supplementary electric power)
Transmission: CVT automatic; all-wheel-drive
Length: 5180mm (Lexus LS460, 5060mm)
Wheelbase: 3090mm (Lexus LS460, 2970mm)

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