In the late Sixties, the XJ6 was introduced as a saloon that was to replace most of the four doors in Jaguar’s range. And it did. Seeing its success, the British carmaker started work on a new model, known as the XJ40, in the early Seventies itself. And this new car was supposed to take on German rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, the fuel crisis of 1973, along with a lack of funding and mismanagement from parent company British Leyland, led to the project dragging on for a good 14 years.
So, by the time it was eventually launched in 1986, the XJ40 looked like what it actually was — a car from the previous decade. Its jaded styling was no match for its frequently updated rivals. And to add to its woes, the semi-digital dash, which was touted as one of the main tech features, proved to be troublesome.
General electronics glitches, and a lacklustre entry level engine all were detrimental to the car’s fortunes. The six-cylinder versions were vastly better, but even that couldn’t attract younger clientele to the brand like BMW did. Jaguar tried to fix things by replacing the problem-riddled digital dashboard with conventional instrumentation, better electrical systems and uprated engines, but it was too late.
In 1994, it was replaced by the X300, and the XJ40 died quietly, with not many mourning its demise.