Jaguar XJ220: buying guide & review (1993-1994)
Everything you need to know before buying Jaguar's all-time fastest car.
Jaguar launched its much-hyped XJ220 straight into the jaws of the financial recession in 1992 when the ‘investment car’ market crashed. The initial proposal for the XJ220, as first unveiled at the British International Motor Show in 1998, was a four-wheel-drive V12 racing car suitable for FIA Group B racing. With its flowing aluminium bodywork it looked so impressive that 1500 deposits of £50,000 were taken.
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There was no doubting the XJ220’s towering performance, although the V6 engine sounded agricultural in comparison to the V12. The car was also physically huge, difficult to see out of and near-impossible to drive in traffic. But the XJ220 is rare and fast, and that means prices are rising today.
Which XJ220 to buy?
Performance and specs
|Engine||3498cc, turbocharged V6|
|Power||540bhp @ 7200rpm|
|Torque||475lb ft @ 4500rpm|
|Price when new||£470,000|
Dimensions and weight
• Visibility isn’t great, especially to the rear. As a result there are plenty of XJ220s sporting parking knocks; don’t under-estimate the cost of restoring dented bodywork.
• The V6 is tough, but annual oil changes are key if the turbochargers aren’t to wear prematurely. The cam belts also need to be replaced every two years or 12,000 miles.
• Clutches aren’t all that strong which is why some owners have a replacement fitted each time the engine is out to replace the cam belt. That might seem lavish, but if the clutch disintegrates and takes out the gearbox casing, the costs can be huge.
• The XJ220’s brakes are poor but there are upgrades available. If you’re planning to drive the car like it was designed to be driven, expect to invest in some better anchors. Don Law in Staffordshire is the place to go; the company can upgrade the servo and pads or install a complete race-spec system.
• See how old the tyres are and how much tread is left on each of them. Some low-mileage cars are sitting on rubber that’s way past its best-before date and if the tyres are low on tread you’ll have to buy new rubber soon – and that’s not a cheap proposition.
• The bag fuel tanks that are fitted have to be replaced every six years, which is ridiculously frequent for a road car – even one at this level. Replacement is a costly job too, which obviously needs to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing.
• Of course you need to buy a car that comes with a service history, but don’t under-estimate the cost of proper maintenance. Even a routine service will cost plenty; once you’re into the realms of major maintenance plus some replacement parts because of ageing or wear and tear, the bills can be eye-watering.
• Parts availability is surprisingly good, with some bits already being remanufactured. In 2008 Don Law bought Jaguar’s entire stock of XJ220 parts which encompasses interior parts, panels, engine, wheels, windscreens and much more.