David S. Wallens Editorial Director
Feb. 14, 2017 9:55 a.m.

Out of the thousands upon thousands of Readers’ Rides on our webpage, a Jaguar XJS is the sixth-highest-rated car. Okay, so it’s a full-race example prepared and campaigned by the championship-winning Group 44 team, but we still know what you’re thinking: Is this British classic worth a serious look?

“For anyone old enough to remember leg warmers and big hair, the term ‘icon’ meant more than symbols on your tablet or smartphone,” says Michael Marter of Jaguar parts house XKs Unlimited. “Mickey Mantle, Miles Davis and James Dean were icons. So was the Jaguar E-Type. Drop-dead gorgeous, it was the first volume-produced sports car to offer such a sophisticated and potent package at a comparatively low price.

“Replacing the E-Type was well-nigh impossible and the XJS didn’t exactly cause the automotive world to spontaneously combust, but the all-alloy 5.3-liter V12 returned–now sporting fuel injection–as did Jaguar’s excellent and innovative independent rear suspension. Styling was at least handsome and interior dimensions were patterned after someone taller than the average Formula One driver.”

His take-home point: “Today the XJS is a fantastic bargain with many variations from which to choose.”

How much of a bargain is it? Bring a Trailer recently sold a very clean 1983 coupe for $8100. According to the receipts, some $35,000–yes, 35 really big ones–had recently been spent on a full mechanical and body restoration. Hagerty says that good cars should cost somewhere south of $10,000.

Not only is the XJS today’s value buy, it also allows for some choices. The model line debuted for 1976 as a V12-powered coupe. Targa and convertible models were added during the 1980s. XJS production ran all the way though 1996.

While all of the V12-powered cars came with automatic transmissions, the drivetrains evolved, too. Jaguar moved to the H.E. (high efficiency) V12 engine for the 1982 model year, and a 4-liter, six-cylinder engine became an option starting in 1993. “While the V12 has instant cachet, don’t discount the later six-cylinder cars,” Marter adds. “The second-generation AJ-16 4.0 six-cylinder is dead-reliable, and there is a chance you’ll find one with a manual transmission.”

Is the XJS going to replace your WRX or Miata? Maybe not. But if you’re looking for a comfortable grand touring car that offers some panache, then the XJS could be worth a look.

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