The XJ-S was already 10 years old by the time this example was built, and it was more of a car for the head of a company - or a BL executive picking from the company car scheme. It came with a thirsty V12, which was definitely the perfect engine to have off the back of an oil crisis. Jaguar also needed to put some development miles on its new AJ6 straight-six engine before it went into full-scale production in the XJ40. So, some bright spark at Jaguar thought that it would be a good idea to put it in the XJ-S.
The trouble is, the manual isn't as good as it could be. The shift action - when it was new - was reported in the 21st April 1984 road test of Autocar to be 'notchy, heavy, and certainly baulky if hurried'. So, it isn't really an everyday car, but if you are spending £20k on a low-mileage example, I don't think you would be.
And if you compare it with contemporary rivals, the XJ-S stacked up rather well. If you wanted a Porsche, you would need the four-cylinder 944 and that had a lower top speed. Audi had the Quattro, but that was a £1,154 more expensive and wasn't as powerful. The closest rival was the BMW 635CSi with its silky straight-six engine, comfortable ride, strong performance and much better Getrag gearbox. Trouble is, it cost a not inconsiderable amount of money back then - nearly £25k! The XJ-S, by comparison, was a bargain.
SPECIFICATION - 1985 JAGUAR XJ-S 3.6
Engine: 3,590cc, straight-six
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 228@5,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 240@4,000rpm
CO2: Gases out the paupers
First registered: 1985
Recorded mileage: 26,000
Price new: £19,248
Yours for: £19,999
See the original advert here.