This week we take a look at the venerable Jaguar XJ220.
Deserving our car of the week feature due to being the fastest ever Jaguar with a 213mph top speed which is a massive achievement and very impressive even today, as it was 26 years ago.
Originally designed as a concept vehicle by Keith Helfet with a V12 and specially designed 4WD system, XJ220 was showcased at the 1988 British Motor Show.
Due to the popularity of the concept, it was decided in December 1989 that a production run would take place in partnership with TWR but necessary engineering changes would be needed to make the XJ220 feasible. Costs, emissions and for commercial reasons it would need to compete with the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959.
The XJ220 would become a 3.5 Litre V6, Twin Turbo, RWD 542bhp monster, capable of 0-60 in under 4 seconds and that incredible 213mph top speed. Weighing at 1512kg, the production car was shorter, lighter and simpler (for reliability and lower cost for the owners) than the concept.
275 were built with the first customer car being completed in June 1992 with a retail price of £475,000. All hand built in a brand new factory in Oxfordshire.
XJ220 was the very first production car to intentionally use underbody airflow and the venturi effect to generate downforce, the sleek and slippery aluminium body sports a drag coefficient of 0.36. To put this into perspective, the Bugatti Chiron today has a drag coefficient of 0.38 in normal mode and 0.35 in top speed mode.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few XJ220s with my own eyes over the years and if you think in photos these are beautiful, in the metal, they can make your heart melt and knees weak. A highlight with XJ220 for me was seeing it go head to head in 2011 with the then most powerful jaguar XKRS at TopGear Live. Not a perfect set up, in doors, different drivers etc but the XJ220 took the win.
At the time of writing this feature, there is only 1 XJ220 for sale on AutoTrader at a cool £1,000,000. Personally, it deserves every penny.