Classics World’s Matt Bell test drives and reviews the Jaguar XJ 4.2 Super…

Cars like the Jaguar XJ live long in your memory for just how good they were and still are. This example is no different. Up for sale with Wallis & Son for £15,950, I can’t think of many cars that will offer you this much performance with the same levels of luxury you’d find on a Rolls-Royce or Bentley of a similar age.

Being an ex-Downing Street fleet car, this example has been fitted with almost every option available, including both front and rear heated seats. The 4.2 “Super” variant are rarer to find and featured only in long wheelbase guise and automatic. It suits the car; its elongated body actually feels quite small when driving. Some cars of a similar length feel big and hefty, whereas this feels tight and easy to drive with plenty of visibility all round.


Getting into the car and you’re greeted with a steering wheel that rises and a driver’s seat that pushes itself back for easy access. Shut the door and the steering wheel returns to the correct height and the seat moves back to its original position; that’s a neat touch which is all in working order. The buttons to move the electric seats are within easy reach and move in all the correct positions. The leatherwork on the seats is a joy to sit on and provide beautiful levels of comfort. This really is a car you could drive across Europe and back and still not want to get out.

I spent longer with this car than I usually would while doing a tried and tested. To say I bonded with it would be an understatement. I’m usually not too fussed about comforts inside a car; I prefer a raw driving experience with back-to-basics interior. But, there was something about this particular car that changed my opinion. Not to mention it’s immaculate. Having covered 60,000 miles in its life you’d expect it to show signs of its 13 year age, but none whatsoever to report.

The paintwork is in brilliant condition and looks as if it’s been detailed thoroughly often throughout its life. I can imagine that as Downing Street fleet Jaguar it lived a pampered life in terms of service. I was thoroughly surprised by the fact that no one fault could be found with the electrics, everything acting as it should.

I was also surprised that the interior showed no signs of any damage whatsoever. Again, mentioning its previous life as a fleet car, you’d expect that with the number of people jumping in and out of it that the odd dink with the foot on the rear of the front seats or the door cars would be visible, but no, nothing. This car was immaculate.

Now onto the engine, and what a brilliant piece of engineering this is. It’s a 4.2-litre V8 that has been treated to a supercharger for bucket loads of torque. With 400bhp on tap and more importantly, 408lb ft of torque, it’s a car that pushes you into your seat as it hurtles you down the road at colossal speed. You have to be careful that you don’t push the throttle too far and trigger a hard kick down as the pace gathers so quickly. You can keep it in a high gear with careful throttle positioning and use the torque to bring you up to speed. With a hard kick down you end up spinning the rear wheels in greasy conditions, so be careful.


On the whole, this XJ presents itself as a beautiful purchase and one you’d be happy with in years to come. It’s becoming a classic but at the same time is modern enough to have all the creature comforts that modern enthusiasts like, for example heated seats and steering wheel. I’d argue that whoever buys this car will keep it until it runs no longer; you wouldn’t need to replace it. Having been looked after so well in its previous life, you wouldn’t expect anything to go wrong. If it did, Wallis & Son offers an excellent warranty service to keep you happy. At £15,995, you will not be disappointed.


Engine: 4196cc
Power: 400bhp
Top Speed: 155mph
Economy: 23mpg
Gearbox: six-speed auto