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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By George Moore
February 4, 1996
The big cat from Great Britain's Jaguar Cars Ltd., has grown up a little for 1996.The new models, the Vanden Plas and the XJ12, are the longest Jaguars ever manufactured, possessing size and wheelbase dimensions carried by full-size American luxury
automobiles."We've had a great deal of interest in the Vanden Plas because of its increased size," said Scott Fischer of Tom Wood Jaguar. "Our customers have been tremendously impressed by the increased room and luxury."Whether Jaguar's being
owned by the Ford Motor Co. had anything to do with it is a matter of conjecture, but the Vanden Plas's and XJ12's 117.9-inch wheelbase is comparable to the Lincoln Town Car at 117.4 inches. And at 202.8 inches of overall length, the Jag is in the
ballpark of the Lincoln Continental's 206.3 inches.In the realm of British automobiles, these are big motor cars. They also are high-dollar ones, with the V-12 cylinder-powered XJ12 priced at $79,370. The Vanden Plas starts at $64,420, the third-most
expensive model of a lineup that also includes the XJ6 ($56,320), the XJR ($66,279), and the XJS convertible ($61,570).The Vanden Plas and XJ12 obviously are not designed to appeal to the economy car buyer, but rather to those who need more back seat
room for friends, family, or corporate associates.Blame it on the '93The concept sprung from the 1993 Jaguar Majestic sedan, a model not offered on the American market. This was a limited production, semi-custom car, with much of its body work
done by an outside supplier.The acceptance of the Majestic prompted the decision to build the longer-wheelbase Vanden Plas and XK12, the only way these models are offered.Once the project was given the green light, it took just 15 months to bring
the cars to market.Jaguar also took the opportunity to do some upgrading. The rear sound deadening was improved by filling voids with foam. Other improvements included thicker door glass and longer rear springs to enhance the ride.The entire job
added only 50 more pounds of weight, and Jaguar states that the longer cars are just as rigid as the shorter 113-inch wheelbase XJ6.The body and wheelbase lengthening job creates a quantum leap forward in rear-seat leg room, providing an additional
4.5 inches. Modifying the roof has provided an extra half-inch of headroom front and back. If an owner is of Indiana Pacer player dimensions, the sunroof can be deleted, adding yet another inch of headroom.There are some other touches connected to the
new construction, such as longer rear doors, which provide significantly improved access to the back seat. Then, there is an item that all luxury car makers would do well to examine.An electric switch allows rear passengers to adjust the position of
the front passenger seat. (Assuming, of course, that the front-seat occupant doesn't object.) The control switches are located on the inboard side of the front passenger seat back.It almost goes without saying that the tradit
ional Jaguar amenities are included in the long-wheelbase sedans. Natural grain, premium Autolux leather is included, as are matched wood inlays and matching wooden shift knobs. Both cars have a full line of power accessories and comfort and convenience
accessories.What the cars do not share is the same engine.The Vanden Plas is powered by Jaguar's double overhead cam, 24-valve in-line 6, while the XJ12 is named after its single overhead cam (per head) V-12 engine. The XJ12 is one of but a
handful of cars made today offering a 12-cylinder engine."The 12 is a very specialized type of car," Fischer said. "It mainly interests someone who wants that particular type of engine."At 366 cubic inches (6.0 liters), it has power to spare at
313 horsepower and 353 foot-pounds of torque. By comparison, the in- line six is rated at 245 horsepower and 289 foot-pounds of torque.The V-12, however, is incredibly smooth and performs yeoman duties as the epitome of a continental to uring en
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
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