The Jaguar XJ12 on sale from today.
By Julian Mounter Motoring Correspondent
The long-awaited V12 version of the XJ6 Jaguar is announced today. With a top speed of about 140mph and acceleration times that are more impressive than those of most sports cars, it is bound to be very popular in the company’s traditional export markets, particularly America.
But British buyers will find an additional £700 on the price difficult to accept. To be known as the XJ12, the new car employs the 5.3 litre over- head-camshaft power unit that was first fitted to the E-type Series Three. It is as smooth and as quiet as the famous XK six-cylinder engine, which it will complement, somewhat heavier on petrol (it is estimated that average consumption will range from II to 16mpg). and a little heavier.
The extra weight has necessitated only minor changes to the suspension and springing and has had no detrimental effects on the handling. I drove the car 200 miles recently. It appeared to have more of an understeering character than the XJ6, but this is so slight that it would not cause difficulties at normal driving speeds. Indeed, it could make the car safer in some accident situations.
The ride is as good as it has always been and but for having to be much more careful about low gear acceleration in traffic, driving is as relaxing. The XJ12 has a different radiator grille, an XJ12 motif on the back and special wheels that are an optional extra on the cheaper models.
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