Jaguar X300 – luxury on the cheap?

Thanks to a tie-up with Jaguar World Monthly, and its publisher Kelsey Media, I’ve got my hands on a Jaguar X300 for a week or so. I’ll be putting it through its paces over the next week, including a trip to the South East this coming weekend. I’ll be discovering what it’s like to live with a luxury motor car – one which can be bought for peanuts. Is buying one at all sensible?

Jag XJ6

One fine looking motor car

I’ve found this opportunity particularly appealing because I’ve always liked the X300. It was the Ford-sponsored reworking of the earlier XJ40. They took a good car, and made it better. Improved quality, much stronger reliability and further reworked engines. The X300 was only in production for three years – 1994 until 1997 – but relaunched Jaguar’s reputation. It looked entirely like a Jaguar, and a further evolution of the theme launched by Sir William Lyons way back in 1968 – something the current XJ has broken away from entirely. And not satisfactorily in my opinion.

Yes, a few Ford-influenced things do jar a bit. The key feels very cheap, with a similar feel to a Ford Escort. There’s also what looks suspiciously like a Fiesta electric window switch to control the folding mirrors. But, there is also a very large amount of bespoke, Jaguar switchgear – some of it a little eccentric to operate, like the headlamp switch and the cruise control. This is good.

The feel as you clamber aboard is very Jaguar too. The driving position is low, snug and cosy. There’s lots of wood and leather. There’s a handbrake lever nestling right next to your leg. It feels purposeful. Up front, a four-litre, straight-six engine provides a healthy 245bhp and sounds very similar to the Mercedes-Benz 300E I owned last year.

Jaguar wood leather seats

Very Jaguar, very lovely

But what really appeals is that this is not really a complex car. Yes, there is an on-board computer, but it concerns itself with telling you how frightening the fuel consumption and what the range is rather than operating a handbrake. Useful stuff. These cars are cheap at the moment – if this one were to find itself on the market, I doubt it’d command more than £700. But as later XJs got ever more complex, I can see that DIY enthusiasts after a bit of luxury could find the X300 the absolute pinnacle of Jaguar saloon production. Already, really nice ones are holding their value in a way big Jaguars just don’t normally. £2000-3000 is needed for a really smart one. That still seems good value to me.

Of course, the next week could prove me wrong. I’ve always wanted an X300, but will a week of motoring change my tune? Or will I be changing my mind about which car I want to buy next yet again? At the moment, battle is raging between a Citroen Ami 6, GS or XM. Could it be that Britain’s luxury saloon will seduce me instead? Stay tuned and if you’ve got any thoughts on your experiences with an X300 (or even the later X308 V8s) then do let me know.

3 thoughts on “Jaguar X300 – luxury on the cheap?

  1. I have owned two X300s both 4 Ltr sovereigns the 1st I bought thinking it was cheap and I could resell it quickly but in the end I keep it for 18 months, it was comfortable and reliable and I spent very little on it. I did not have my wife’s approval to have it so it was always a worry that it would produce bills.

    The second one was a laugh, I worked in the office on a Saturday because I had spent too much time away playing, while on the computer I wandered onto eBay and spotted a classified ad for a 1995 Jaguar Sovereign with 12 months MOT in good running order for £500. I posted it to a closed group of car friends on Facebook expecting to be told not to be so silly as I had plenty of cars but to my surprise I had an offer to 1/2s then another to go 1/3s to purchase the Jaguar. The purchase was made and we all took turns at driving it around after I had had new sub frame (£320) bushes fitted and enjoyed it. We swapped it for a 2002 MG TF but while I was on holiday they sold that and got our money back including repairs and road tax.

    Always great to drive even at 21 mpg but always a worry a big bill was coming.


  2. I owned a P reg 1997 4litre sovereign x300 back in 2001, and relly enjoyed for 3 years, to be honest I really wish I still owned it and still constantly keep an eye out, one never knows.
    I have however just bought an M reg 1995 Daimler Sovereign LWB x300 two weeks ago and it is stunningly gorgeous inside and out. And boy do I feel good, the drive and feel is beyond and the interior smell intoxicating what more can I say, apart from “what on earth has sensible! Got to do with it”, life’s too short my fine fellow… Enjoy your week and many more beyond…

    • I had been looking for a true luxury car for some time and having owned a XJ6 series 1 in the 70’s I finally went back to looking for another. I was never happy with series 3 as I thought that was the start of the slow destruction of the Series 1 and 2. By the time the XJ40 came out, I has lost interest in Jaguars. But when the X300 came along I fell in love with Jaguars all over. Then came the S type and the X type. Neither of these really excite me as much as the X300 , nor did the newer Jaguars. So last year I walked into a car yard to look at a X300 but by chance saw another one that had just come in and had not been advertised. The sales people were excited to tell me how low the mileage was and how they had all the books and service records with it. It had only done about 4,000klm per year since new. They said it was a 4ltr motor with a LWB and not like the other one I had gone to look at, which was a 3.2ltr sports SWB. Anyway I bought it, with only 88.000klm on the clock I could not refuse. The engine bay was as clean as a whistle like the rest of the car and I just fell in love. I have had this car a year now and I have grown very fond of her. It’s very had to find this kind of luxury now a days. The models after this have V8’s and V6’s but all are over complicated whilst the old straight six is a very practical motor and compliments the well noted most trouble free Jaguar, the X300. I am a very practical person and I can say very honestly that this car has more than enough power for me. I don’t need these newer cars that have more Horse power or performance via Turbo charging, with racing suspension and tyres. I am not a bull shitter like many rev heads. I just can’t drive that fast to use that kind of power and performance, and if I did I would probably shit myself.
      So I will end here by saying that the X300 is one of the best, most beautiful and luxurious Jaguars I have ever owned.

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