XJ 5.3 £12,435
One of the world's finest cars, the 12-cylinder Jaguar saloon has a ride quality that is the envy of the entire motor industry. The magnificent 5.3-litre light-alloy V12 motor has electronic ignition, fuel injection, and develops a massive 285 bhp, but with a purr, not a bellow. The handsome four-door bodywork is trimmed inside with soft Connolly hide, and there is polished walnut veneer in profusion. Door-locking is centralised, and a GM automatic transmission is standard, no manual gearbox available. It is one of only three 12-cylinder cars in world production today, the British car tops the production graphs.
Sporting 2 + 2 from the Jaguar factory has identical 285 bhp V12 motor to the XJ 5.3, but with less weight and frontal area is a (slightly) faster car. The XJ-S is available with choice of four-speed manual, or automatic transmission, but in either guise the low-built road-burner is good for 150 mph. It is difficult to better for long-distance travel, for the interior is furnished like a limousine, and the car will cruise at 110 mph (on German motorways!) in virtual silence. There are power-assisted disc brakes on all four wheels to keep the enormous performance in check, and the rack and pinion steering is power-assisted too.
(Motor Show report)