XJ XJ8 / XJR ( X308 ) 1997 - 2003

XJ vs Bentley and Rolls Royce

 
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:18 PM
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Default XJ vs Bentley and Rolls Royce

Hi guys. Not sure if I'm posting this in the right section so please move it if not.

I'm thinking of buying an XJ X308. Always loved them. Now, I know they're very comfortable, but how do they stack up against something like a Bentley or a Rolls Royce? I've always wondered. How better are they? And while we're on the subject, let's throw in the Mercedes W140, W220 and the BMW E38 since those are direct competitors. I'm only interested in ride comfort. I won't be driving fast. Just need something to waft about in comfort.

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 12:57 PM
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The SZ generation RR/Bentley cars are definitely larger both inside and out. If comfort is your highest goal then that would be the way to go or a W140. The X308 in Vanden Plas form has most of the addition legroom for the rear passengers. Your height and weight should be factored in too because a 6' 2 250lb man might find the X308 a bit cramped for the driver.

I am looking to pick up an SZ Bentley myself but they're obviously rare cars and so finding the right one takes time.
 

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Old 05-07-2019, 01:37 PM
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Can't compare those models directly but I bought my used X308 after having a spinal surgery and needed an inexpensive used luxury sedan with a soft ride while I healed up. It rides better than the Lexus LS400 of the same vintage (I had one for only a couple of months before it got clobbered by an aptly named "RAM" truck) and does it without the trickery of air suspension so in that respect, the X308 is probably about as good as it gets. The challenge will be finding one in good shape since they're all now 15+ years old.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:41 PM
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Had a 2001 Arnage I much prefer the X308 just a more cohesive driving experience but the Arnage is one of the few vehicles I hold close to 308's exceptional lines appearance wise.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:58 PM
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I have reviewed a couple of other cars I have a desire for....one being the Bentley. The Bentley is heavier, has a larger engine, is a different class automobile all together, so there isn't a comparison to say....just a personal preference. I want a two door Continental...but I may be swayed on a 4 door if the color is right.

I absolutely love the colors inside and out on this 2013...
....did I fail to mention I drool for a done right convertible (like the Merc E class in this same color combo)


 

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Old 05-07-2019, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pdupler View Post
The challenge will be finding one in good shape since they're all now 15+ years old.
+1
That goes for an XJ, E38, or W140. Many of these cars have been terribly neglected although gems are still out there and certainly worth the extra money. The Rolls-Royces and Bentleys tend to be better kept.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:17 PM
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I have a 2000 XJ8 and a 2008 Mercedes CL550 coupe. The XJ feels quicker in town, the Mercedes is a torque monster on the freeway. The seats are better in the Mercedes. The ride at all speeds is better in the Jag. The Jag gets way better mileage. Both cars get thumbs up all the time. Jag from older black women and men. The Mercedes from middle aged white men ! Both have their strong points, Jag for the inexpensive owner cost, the Mercedes for it's technology, night vision, massaging seats cooled and heated. and it's true 2 door hardtop styling. Both cars have virtually the same mileage 115000.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:34 PM
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I haven't driven a Rolls Royce or Bentley from the same era as the X308, but my brother-in-law has a 2005 Continental GT Mulliner Edition which I have been able to compare directly to our 2004 XJR, driving the Jag immediately after driving the Bentley. Despite the vast difference in original cost, the Jaguar compared quite favorably in terms of performance, handling and comfort. However, the Bentley interior is absolutely world class, done to the highest possible standards, with leather like the finest furniture and knobs crafted by jewelers (they literally look like jewelry). And despite weighing 5,000 pounds the Bentley accelerates powerfully and handles surprisingly well, though not quite as well as the Jag.

I have ridden in a couple of RRs, and can say that six tons of inertia can do wonders for the ride. Precise steering? Sporty handling? I suspect not.

One consideration is that as uncommon as Jaguars are, RRs and Bentleys are far less common. Between 1997 and 2003 Jaguar sold over 126,000 X308s. I couldn't find totals for those years for the other makes, but in 2003 just 792 Bentleys were sold and only 148 RRs. That exclusivity comes at a cost, though, since parts prices are directly related to economies of scale.

My personal opinion is that the Jaguar XJ saloons made between 1968 and 2003 (and arguably later) are among the most beautiful in the world when compared to their contemporaneous competitors. I don't personally feel that way about any RR or Bentley of the same period, though the 2003- Continental GT comes closest.

If you want rarity and ultimate comfort, a Rolls Royce will get you there, although in styling inspired by a brick. Granted, a gold brick.

If you want exclusivity, ultimate comfort, and a degree of sporty performance, certain Bentleys fit the bill, though most models are nearly as brick-like as RRs.

If you want reasonable exclusivity, along with comfort and luxury at near RR/Bentley levels but with better fuel economy and lower maintenance costs, and sporty performance at near BMW 7-series levels but with truly gorgeous, perfectly-proportioned looks that will prompt others to think, "That person has superb taste," find the cleanest, lowest-mileage Jaguar you can afford and fall in love.

Cheers,

Don
 

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Old 05-09-2019, 09:47 AM
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Thanks a lot for the replies guys. I didn't know the W140 is more comfortable than the X308. I thought since jags are known for their magic carpet ride, it'll be more comfortable. Unfortunately there are no old Rollers or Bentleys where I live. The are W140s but none of them are in good condition. I found a well kept X308. Fell in love with it the second I saw it. My heart is set. I just wanted to know what the difference is between an XJ and a Roller/Bentley.

So the conclusion is, almost as comfortable?
 
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Aston177 View Post
Thanks a lot for the replies guys. I didn't know the W140 is more comfortable than the X308. I thought since jags are known for their magic carpet ride, it'll be more comfortable. Unfortunately there are no old Rollers or Bentleys where I live. The are W140s but none of them are in good condition. I found a well kept X308. Fell in love with it the second I saw it. My heart is set. I just wanted to know what the difference is between an XJ and a Roller/Bentley.

So the conclusion is, almost as comfortable?
I should have been more clear. They are very comfortable but I was just thinking you'd want the maximum width and headroom. Drive it and if you feel it's comfortable, go for it. They're supurb automobiles.
 
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:41 PM
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Didn't QEII ride around in an XJ (until she got something newer)?
Case closed!
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by AJ16er View Post
I should have been more clear. They are very comfortable but I was just thinking you'd want the maximum width and headroom. Drive it and if you feel it's comfortable, go for it. They're supurb automobiles.
Sorry, I forgot to reply to your message. I Had enough headroom when I sat in the XJ. I'm about 5 foot 9. I did feel a little cramped though. The W140 I sat in felt a lot more airy. That felt like sitting in an SUV, while the Jag felt like a sports car. The driving position was great on the XJ. W140 was awful, but the electric steering column wasn't working so it could be that. Overall I really like the XJ. It looks a lot better and is rarer. Almost Bentley/Rolls like. That's something I like. That is what made me ask this question. I grew up thinking Jags were a class above Mercedes, BMW and Audi. I thought they were more similar to Rolls Royce.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Aston177 View Post
Sorry, I forgot to reply to your message. I Had enough headroom when I sat in the XJ. I'm about 5 foot 9. I did feel a little cramped though. The W140 I sat in felt a lot more airy. That felt like sitting in an SUV, while the Jag felt like a sports car.
Absolutely correct. The XJ40, X300/308 was made to fit like a glove. The W140 is more of a Rolls/Bentley big couch type feel.

The driving position was great on the XJ. W140 was awful, but the electric steering column wasn't working so it could be that. Overall I really like the XJ. It looks a lot better and is rarer. Almost Bentley/Rolls like. That's something I like. That is what made me ask this question. I grew up thinking Jags were a class above Mercedes, BMW and Audi. I thought they were more similar to Rolls Royce.
I have always considered them closer to RR/Bentley, especially the older XJ's. In Vanden Plas trim they have softer texture leather, inlays in the wood veneers, rear picnic trays, and lambs wool floor carpets. The fluted grill and boot trim plus rims with the lug nuts covered is another nice touch. In Super V8 form you have this ultra luxury interior with the more powerful supercharged engine. A win-win.
 
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:38 PM
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Ashton177,

"X308" refers to a general Jaguar model. While certain parts (fenders, hood) may be swappable throughout the production run, there were actually a number of submodels within "X308" that will have very different characteristics (and rides).

A baseline 'XJ8' will ride (& handle) different than an XJSport. Which will ride different than a Vanden Plas. And a Vanden Plas Supercharged (with CATS) will ride different than a normally aspirated VDP.

I only mention this due to you primarily wanting a smooth ride. I'd hope the gallery can contribute to not just the ride difference between Bentley and Jag, but the ride characteristics within the X308 range. I'm betting you want a NA Vanden Plas with a well-maintained suspension, and quality tires. But not the most aggressive high-speed tires.

If any of the more accomplished Jag-wranglers have a rebuttal, fire away!
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:37 AM
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Another frequently overlooked benefit of the X-308 series XJ are its “balloon” tires which, compared to the current XJ range, absorb a large amount of road “chatter” that current-series XJs just cannot cope with. I’d go so far as to contend the Coventry-built, all-steel-chassis XJs were the last of the big sedans from this brand to “float” along the freeway with really exceptional comfort and quiet. (But never do they wander or wallow.) The only other full sized sedan to match or beat the XJ was the Citröen DS range with its spectacular hydro pneumatic suspension, but it’s not fair to compare any conventional luxury sedan to the big Citröen. And Citroen’s from that era were not built to last. Canadian exports (1998-2003) were rotted through by road salt within two years of purchase.

For the optimal Jaguar ride I’d seek out a 1998-2002 Vanden Plas with long wheelbase and air suspension. These cars have stood up e trembly well mechanically and are a bargain on the pre-owned market. The next step up would require a substantially larger platform from one of the two British ultra-premium brands, and to many drivers, the Rolls and Bentleys are a bit TOO isolated from the road. Take a VDP for a spin and if you’re like me you’ll be enchanted,
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:57 AM
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Jaguar made compromises for styling -- the X308 can trace back all the way to the original XJ -- large people don't fit. Same with the E ...XJS etc. Jaguar lost sales because of it -- they started to make the long WB in 1996 because of the W140 and the 7 series. It why the X350 is they way it is -- bigger interior and trunk.

I owned an early W140 -- it was great when it ran. I regretted trading my W126 for it. Over engineered at every level ... MB made a deal with me and I bought a new 95 X300. The later W140's are better .... IMO .. they were never good looking and have not aged well at all.

The old turbo R two doors are cool ...... but can be a nightmare. All the newer Bentley stuff is sheetmetal engineering
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by yeldogt View Post
Jaguar made compromises for styling -- the X308 can trace back all the way to the original XJ -- large people don't fit. Same with the E ...XJS etc. Jaguar lost sales because of it -- they started to make the long WB in 1996 because of the W140 and the 7 series. It why the X350 is they way it is -- bigger interior and trunk.
Ironically, sales absolutely tanked when they introduced the X350 with its larger dimensions. There seem to be lots of threads on here discussing various theories, but its clear, bigger is not always better, whether it be trunk capacity or wheel diameter.
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pdupler View Post
Ironically, sales absolutely tanked when they introduced the X350 with its larger dimensions. There seem to be lots of threads on here discussing various theories, but its clear, bigger is not always better, whether it be trunk capacity or wheel diameter.
Sales went up for the first year ... but you are correct ... for all the work the company put in ... not a success. They wanted four full spaces with full trunk -- the auto business uses size qualifiers. Jagu always fell out of what was ideal at the time for capturing the most people.

The XJ40 actually sold well ... and it was not a good car. But the economy was good in the USA ..late 80's. We had a 83 .. much nicer looking and less issues. The late 70's and early 80's being bad economy. Jaguar could never match MB -- they did not have the RD money. Ford put so much into Jaguar -- fixed the XJS and the later 40's -- the x300 was a huge hit .. as was the V8 in 98.
 

Last edited by yeldogt; 05-18-2019 at 05:01 PM. Reason: wrong year ... V8 was 98 ..not 88
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Johntechwriter View Post
For the optimal Jaguar ride I’d seek out a 1998-2002 Vanden Plas with long wheelbase and air suspension.
Good luck w/ that quest, as they don't exist.
 

Last edited by King Charles; 05-18-2019 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:40 PM
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I'd say the Series II XJ outclassed the W116 S Class in the 70's, especially the twelve cylinder version. When the XJ40 came out for the '88 model year in the US it was a way more modern and better handling car than the W126 of the time.

In the early 90's through early 2000's it was like the XJ was the go-to premium saloon for affluent professionals. Now it seems like the S-Class and 7-Series fill that role. The X351 is more of a rarity than when the 40/300/308 were current models.
 

Last edited by AJ16er; 05-18-2019 at 02:42 PM.

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