I keep seeing FACELIFT? what is that

Having owned and driven both the mid 80’s XJS and a 1995.25 version, I can say that the 4L80E tranny in the 95 is vastly superior to the TH400, with or without a shift kit. Shifts better, better matched gear ratios, smoother, locking torque convertor, everything is better. I converted my 87 to a manual 5 speed, but I’d think twice before converting the 95, the transmission is that much better.

The 95, with few exceptions, is also built to a higher standard. It’s got almost 150k miles on it, and it’s better than my 87 with 50k. Yes, it’s been well maintained, as has the 87, but it doesn’t leak. Everything you touch, except the dashboard, seems of higher quality, and less prone to break, especially switchgear. Why on earth Jaguar covered the interior in leather, but left the dash in hard plastic is beyond me. The electrics are miles better; modern connectors, modern fuses, fairly logical layout. Lucas has pretty well been excised. The fuel system is far better, much less prone to leakage. Everything works, and works well.

I still prefer the rear end of the early cars, but the facelift has grown on me. I have coupes, and I prefer the late style rear quarter windows, which are less likely to leak than the vented rear section of the early cars. The front and rear glass is bonded in on the late cars, increasing body stiffness. The late coupe doors frameless glass, and got rid of the mirror blocking front quarter windows.

Yeah, there is more electronics such as heated and power seats with lumbar supports, but there is far less than any modern car. There are a total of 8 computers; engine, ignition, tranny, 2 seat/mirror controllers, HVAC, security, and ABS. In contrast my 2006 BMW has around 20. And the late cars have on board diagnostics which works if you have the right tool (PDU for the V12s). Only the HVAC and ignition computers are not covered by the diagnostics port.

I do like the seating position and steering column of the early cars better. I’m 6’5", and I have more room in my 87 since the seats sit lower, and the steering wheel extends back. The facelift wheel only goes up and down. I put on a smaller steering wheel with spacers, and was able to move the seat tracks back an inch on the 95. I’m more comfortable than I was, but it’s still not perfect. The power seats sit higher than the manual seats; not much I can do about that without major surgery.

I also like the outboard rear brakes of the 95. MUCH easier to maintain with a good parking brake system. The unsprung weight difference really doesn’t matter, given how heavy the rear suspension and wheels are. I like it so much, I converted my 87 to outboard brakes. Incidentally, ABS was not mandated in the US until 2011, so that isn’t why Jaguar added it, at least in the US. A good ABS system is great for panic situations. The very late Teves IV system is much simpler and easier to bleed and maintain than the early Teves 3 system with the accumulator, etc.

Since I own both early and late, I thought I’d throw in my $.02.



All good points. But comparing any mid 80s car to a mid 90s car, there will be a ton of improvements like you mention.

I had a '95 XJR for many years and can attest that you’re correct here. Many improvements in quality and a fabulous car to drive. Jaguar got a lot of things right.

Sadly the gloss starting wearing off at about 75k miles and eventually the car became known as “The Tormentor”. Still, though, I kept it until 171k miles. I really liked that car but it was by no means a pleasure cruise the entire time. In the final analysis I wouldn’t rate it easier or less costly (repair-wise) to own than my older Jags.

I went back to a Series III sedan with a V12. It has served me well as a daily driver for for 8 years but it probably goes without saying that it has needed its fair share of TLC as well. A great car and as comfortable, and comforting, as your favorite pair of boots. And has never once left me stranded.

Sadly rust has taken hold. I’ve relegated the old girl to second-car status. It isn’t practical to put more effort or money into it.

My newest daily driver is now an '05 S-Type. So far, so good. Fingers crossed !


So true. The X300 is far and away the best “Camry” Jaguar ever made and has made, but the appointments aged rather Ford like compared to say your S3. My favorite that I’ll keep forever is the X81 - XJ40 with the 6L V12. That car will put you in jail quickly!

I daily 20 and 30 year old Mercedes, and they just don’t age mechanically. So tight and effortless, with incredibly cheap and plentiful parts support.

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Not only that, but anchors in the doors are a standard feature in new cars, strengthening for side impacts and preventing the door from flying open in a crash.

Have you never realized how smooth and beautiful the V12 runs? That’s its main value.