Guide price: £4,000- £6,000
・Fabulous X350 with low mileage and ownership
・Comprehensive service history
・Recently renewed air suspension
・Zircon Blue with Stone leather
The first Jaguar XJ to be wholly developed under Ford’s ownership was also a car that marked a sea-change for the brand’s most luxurious model.
In a 12-year period, Ford had already taken Jaguar from a two-car model line-up – XJ and XJS – to a much more comprehensive one, with models such as the S-TYPE and X-TYPE competing in the more volume-heavy areas of the executive car market. And it was a move that was starting to pay off, with 2001 being the first year in Jaguar’s history in which it sold over 100,000 cars.
Momentum was building, but the XJ was still the brand’s luxury figurehead. A car that was big, elegant and pleasing to drive, with exceptional ride comfort and lively performance. But the V8-engined saloon was also rapidly becoming a dinosaur. It may have been pretty but the old XJ not only embraced everything that was right about the traditional Jaguar saloon, but also everything that was wrong - poor packaging, excessive weight, average fuel consumption and a very old-fashioned structure.
The new Jaguar flagship had to be significantly more modern, better screwed together and, most importantly, more efficient. It was going into the market against BMW’s new avant-garde 7-Series, packed with tech and futuristically styled, and Mercedes-Benz’s recently launched S-Class, considered by many to be one of the best cars in the world. It had to be good. But also, it had to be a rational purchase for fleet customers and user choosers.
What we weren’t prepared for, though, was just how advanced the car would be. It may have looked fairly traditional when it made its debut, but under the skin, the X350 generation of XJ was the most advanced Jaguar ever made.
Instead of traditional build methods, the body used aircraft technology, with bonded aluminium substructures fixed to an aluminium shell. The body-in-white (essentially, the main vehicle structure) was a whole 40 per cent lighter than that of the outgoing car, despite its larger dimensions.
Further mass reduction came in the form of magnesium cross beams and a magnesium steering column, while the bulkhead was attached to the shell by means of super-strong epoxy adhesive. The magnesium components added cost, but were 30 per cent lighter again than aluminium. That gave incredible fuel efficiency for its size and terrific dynamics, as well as inherent corrosion resistance – something that other Jaguars were sadly unable to claim.
It was a world-class example of vehicle engineering, and one that has really come into its own in the past few years as other luxury cars of the early and mid-2000s fall by the wayside and Jaguars keep on going. Those who own an X350 will tell you it’s one of the best cars ever made, and there’s a reason for that: it is.
This particular example was supplied new by Sturgess Jaguar, the brand’s main dealership in Leicester, in 2003 and has remained in Leicestershire ever since.
At just a few months old, the car was sold to its second owner who was the owner of an MG Rover and Hyundai dealership – Bishop and Bishop of Wigston - so the car was maintained by them until he sold the Jaguar to its current owner in 2019.
The current keeper has used the local Jaguar Land Rover dealership, Farriers, for most of the work carried out on it since. He is selling it to fund the purchase of a smaller car as he gets older.
Inside the Jaguar’s classy green leather folder, there’s a service booked stamped by Bishop and Bishop at 4,107, 9,206, 15,215, 19,187, 20,274, 23,255, 30,066, 38,117, 41,006, 55,105 miles. It has since had two further service stamps from Farriers Jaguar Land Rover at 58,667 and 61,536 – the last one in December 2020 since when the car has only covered a handful of miles.
There’s also a receipt with the car for a new air suspension pump at the 2019 service, along with a selection of bills documenting its recent repair history including a brand new battery (still under warranty), new wheel bearings and brake pipes.
Also included are the original driver’s handbook and infotainment guide, along with a CD-ROM containing a copy of the Jaguar dealer workshop manual.
The traditional styling of the X350 hides a remarkably modern car and one of its best features is its resistance to body corrosion – the all alloy bodywork simply won’t rot away like mild steel.
The downside is that alloy oxidisation can be unsightly and is much harder to repair than more conventional steel. X350s tend to suffer from blobs of alloy corrosion around their extremities, particularly the rear window surrounds, door tops and rear door bottoms – but not this one.
You won’t find any aluminium oxide on this car at all – the bodywork is absolutely superb, with barely a mark other than some pinprick stonechips on the leading edge of its bonnet.
The Zircon Blue paintwork is exceptional with no scuffs or marks and the flanks of the car are undamaged by parking dings. It is clearly an example that has been cherished and adored throughout its life.
If we were being picky, the only fault we could find on the outside of the car are some swirly marks on the alloy wheels, most likely caused by automatic car washes. A perfectionist may want to get them refinished.
Few things are more inviting than a Jaguar interior and the X350 draws you in immediately – its thick stone leather seats promise limitless comfort, while this example also has its original Jaguar factory floor mats and inviting dark maple veneers.
It’s a wonderful ambience, and it makes it hard to believe that this XJ6 example is actually the base model of the X350 range. It doesn’t want for much despite being the entry-level. Electrically adjustable seats, climate control, sat nav, built-in audio controls, a wood-rimmed steering wheel and electrically adjustable steering column are all there and all in fine working order.
The seats are superb, while there is very little wear to the steering wheel or the carpets. Even the centre armrest, which is usually one of the first things to show signs of being well-used, is in fine fettle. It’s also wonderfully comfortable, front or rear.
In the boot, the spare wheel has never been used and the load area is as clean and well-presented as the rest of the car.
Under the bonnet you’ll find Jaguar’s 240bhp 3.0-litre V6, as also seen in the X-TYPE and S-TYPE models.
Even though the X350 was the biggest car to use the engine, it was also the lightest and the quickest thanks to its alloy bodywork, so it’s an impressive performer with decent fuel economy. You’ll easily top 30mpg if you drive it sensibly. If you don’t, then you’ll hit 0-60mph in just over seven seconds while still getting mid-20s MPG.
The unit is famously reliable – a chain-driven V6 derived from the (whisper it) Ford Duratec engine found in the Mondeo and various US models. The engines are tough and will easily cover 300,000 miles or more with regular maintenance, so this well-serviced 62,000-miler is barely run in.
As a modern classic that will provide faithful, reliable, charming, comfortable and surprisingly economical transport, a Jaguar X350 takes some beating. The XJ6 is the best of the lot in that regard – more economical and supposedly more reliable than the V8 models, and astonishingly frugal for such a big car.
This one is fast becoming a rarity, too. The vast majority of XJs of this vintage covered big miles in their earlier years and while buying one with a six-figure mileage is unlikely to cause you major problems, one like this is a real find either to use every day, or to preserve as a low mileage, depreciation-proof future classic. Smart low mileage X350s are sought-after cars these days. You’ve just found one.
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